Lavender Scallops Kalanchoe (Bryophyllum Fedtschenkoi)
A rugged, yet refined tropical succulent, Lavender Scallops Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe Fedtschenkoi, formerly Bryophyllum Fedtschenkoi) has the kind of subtly spectacular beauty that’s easy to overlook at first glance, but captivating when you take a moment to soak in the details.
Lavender Scallops’ leaves are the perfect example. Roughly 1”-3” long and teardrop-to-oval in shape, they’re dusky bluish-gray-green in color, with subtle cream variegation near the edges and a notched, scalloped perimeter tipped by a tiny edge-line of bright lavender/magenta. It’s undeniably exquisite, but still comes off as understated.
Granted, that understatement is stretched to its limit when Lavender Scallops blooms. It’s tough to seem unassuming when you’re a 2-foot-tall plant sending up 4-foot stems hung with so many coral-red, tube-shaped flowers that they look like miniature chandeliers. But we’ll give Lavender Scallops a pass on that one—those flowers are just too special to complain about.
True to its Kalanchoe heritage, this Madagascar native requires very little care. It does love bright light, and can handle full sun in all but the brightest, hottest locations. Beyond that, a drink of water when the top 2” of soil becomes dry, average temperatures above 55°F, and the occasional bit of succulent food are all it really needs to thrive. Give it a spot where you can stop and admire it once in a while, and let it show off in its own (usually) modest way.
Characteristics and traits of a Lavender Scallops Kalanchoe (Bryophyllum Fedtschenkoi)
Scientific Name: Kalanchoe Fedtschenkoi (syn: Bryophyllum Fedtschenkoi)
Genus: Kalanchoe (subgenus: Bryophyllum)
Common Name: Lavender Scallops, Kalanchoe Stonecrop, South American Air Plant, Gray Sedum
Indoor: All year in temperatures above 55°F
Outdoor Zones: 9b-11
Type: Perennial evergreen succulent; Propagated by division, stem cuttings, leaf cuttings, or seed
Mature Height: 18”-24”
Mature Width: 12”
Plant Height when Shipped: XXXXXX
Growth Rate: Medium to fast
Flower: Yes – long spikes carrying clusters of coral red, tube-shaped blooms nearly 1” long
Foliage: Fleshy, oblong leaves up to 3” long, blue-green with scalloped, reddish edges.
Plant Care and Advice for Lavender Scallops Kalanchoe (Bryophyllum Fedtschenkoi)
Grown In: Inside: all zones year round, Outside: zones 9b-11
Light Requirements: Happiest with 4-6 hours of sun daily and bright indirect/shade the rest. Leaves may burn in full sun (tips especially).
Water Requirements: Give moderate water April-August when the soil is dry to 2” deep, let drain well. Give smaller amounts of water in cooler months.
Drought Tolerance: Great
Temperature: Likes indoor room temp. 55°F-75°F but can handle more heat outdoors and brief dips down to 25°F. Bring in when average outdoor temps fall below 55°F.
Air Purification: Good
Toxicity: Toxic - see Expert Advice
Fertilizer: Succulent fertilizer 1-2 times per month during spring and summer
Container Friendly: Yes - But drainage is vital
When it’s time to repot your Lavender Scallops Kalanchoe, choose a pot 1”-2” wider in diameter than the old pot and make sure it has a drainage hole at the bottom so excess water can escape. We recommend a terracotta pot, which will “breathe” better and enable the soil to dry more efficiently.
Lavender Scallops isn’t terribly choosy about soil as long as it has good drainage. Pre-mixed cactus or succulent soil is a good choice, as is regular potting mix blended 1:1 or 2:1 with sand or perlite.
Take extra care when handling the plant during the repotting process. Its leaves fall off easily.
Lavender Scallops Kalanchoe adores bright light, and the more it gets, the redder its edges become. It will appreciate 4-6 hours of direct sunlight daily, but it can’t always handle uninterrupted full sun. Indoors, south- or west-facing windows are probably best. Outdoors, it may need protection from the sun during the hottest summer afternoons.
As a succulent, Lavender Scallops Kalanchoe is not a big drinker. In the spring and summer, water when the soil is dry to a depth of 2”, then let the water drain and repeat the process of letting those top 2” dry out before watering again. In the winter, use the same depth test to determine when to water, but give much smaller amounts. When in doubt, withhold water. The last thing you want is for the plant to be sitting in waterlogged soil, which can induce root rot.
Lavender Scallops Kalanchoe is remarkably tolerant of temperature. It performs best between 55°F-75°F, but can take higher heat (especially if kept out of the afternoon sun) and also tolerate brief cold snaps down to 25°F. As a rule, though, it’s best to bring them inside when temps fall below 55°F. Kalanchoes do not require added humidity, so there’s no need for misting or pebble trays.
Like most Kalanchoes, Lavender Scallops appreciates a dose of succulent fertilizer 1-2 times a month from April through August.
As long as it isn’t overwatered, Kalanchoe Fedtschenkoi is a fairly durable plant with simple needs.
If the leaves begin to wrinkle, the plant is asking for more water. However, if the leaves are plump, but drooping, it needs less water. If you’re in doubt, a quick check of the soil’s current moisture content should help clear things up.
While it’s not common, it’s not unheard-of for Kalanchoe Fedtschenkoi to contract pests such as mealybugs, scale, or spider mites. Because Kalanchoe’s leaves detach so easily, the easiest treatment—simply wiping the leaves with a damp cloth—is not recommended. But the pests can still be treated with neem oil (apply at night to avoid giving the plant sunburn), insecticidal soap, or a spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol. Scale insects may need to be picked off by hand once exterminated.
As a rule, kalanchoe plants are very toxic when ingested, with symptoms ranging from excess salivation and vomiting to depression and even abnormal heart rhythm. While some plant parents maintain that Kalanchoe Fedtschenkoi in particular is not terribly toxic, this is a vague, fairly unscientific conclusion. We’ve chosen to side with caution and would advise our friends and patrons to do the same.
Kalanchoe Fedtschenkoi propagates readily via several different techniques.
For example, stems that bend low enough to touch bare soil are likely to sprout roots of their own and can be divided from the parent plant once those roots take hold. Or, the entire plant can be divided when repotting. Separate the plant at its base (carefully, so as not to dislodge many leaves), and let the newly split sections dry overnight, so their wounds seal, before completing the repotting process.
Perhaps the most unique method is to let a detached leaf lie in moist, but not soggy soil. Plantlets should soon form around the edges of the leaf. Each plantlet will be a clone of the mother plant and have the same characteristics.
Traditional stem cuttings are also an excellent way to propagate Kalanchoe Fedtschenkoi. Cut stem tips 3”-4” long and leave them exposed to air for 24 hours so their cuts can seal. Insert them cut-end-down in moistened soil, place them in a spot where they’ll receive temps around 70°F and a bit of indirect light, and keep the soil damp, but never soggy. The cuttings should root within weeks.
Finally, you can also collect seeds from Kalanchoe Fedtschenkoi and propagate the plant the old-fashioned way. Let the flowers dry completely on the plant, then pull them off and collect the seeds. Plant them very shallowly in cactus mix (or standard potting mix blended 50/50 with sand) and water them just once. Don’t water again until after the seeds germinate. Once they do, let the seedlings grow a few months before transplanting into their permanent pots.
Kalanchoe Fedtschenkoi is named after Russian plant pathologist and botanist Boris Alexeevich Fedtschenko (27 December 1872 – 29 September 1947), who wrote extensively about Russian plants (often traveling with his mother, who was also a botanist) and was the head botanist at the Saint Petersburg Botanical Garden. He seems cool.