How to Grow and Care For Kalanchoe in Australia

Kalanchoe Pests, Diseases

Kalanchoe is quite resistant to pests in its garden, but can be severely affected indoors. Outdoor Kalanchoes face the greatest risk from fungal or bacterial diseases. However, they are resilient plants.

Below, we’ve put together a simple list of the most common problems faced by Kalanchoe plants, and how to treat them.

Kalanchoe is commonly affected by three pests: scale, aphids and mealybug. While the treatment is similar for all three, the signs are quite different.


Mealybugs look like tailed, cream-coloured woodlice under the microscope. To deter predators, they secrete bitter saliva so that pesticides can be used to kill them. 

Rubbish is the best treatment for mealybugs. It dries them out completely and dehydrates them. You can simply soak a cotton swab with alcohol and use it to wipe off any infestations. This will do two things: it kills adults and disrupts the breeding process. 


Aphids can also be treated in a similar manner to mealybug with alcohol wipes. They can also be easily killed by organic pesticides such neem oils.

Aphids are most likely to be found in dense clusters or white, black, and green insects around new growth tips. You can easily remove them, but neem oil is a good option to prevent future infestations.

Scale Insects

Scale insects are annoying and can carry diseases, which can have a negative impact on plant health. Scale insects can be killed using horticultural soap. It also helps to dry out any fungal spores that could cause damage to your plant.

Overwatering is the greatest threat to Kalanchoe’s health wherever you grow it. Succulents are amazing at recovering from drought. If in doubt, let it dry!

Most diseases that affect Kalanchoes result from fungal causes. Some bacteria can cause damage to stems or leaves. These problems are also exacerbated by humidity.

Root Rot 

There are many types of fungal root rots that can affect Kalanchoe, including Cylindrocladium (Lasiodiplodia), Cylindrocladium (Phytophthora), Pythium and Pythium. You can avoid all of them by not overwatering. However, if they do occur it is best to take cuttings and begin again.

Root rot can be very difficult to treat. However, you can save your original plant if you take cuttings.

You can remove any roots that are black, brown, squishy or smelly and leave only healthy roots. Next, rinse them thoroughly with clean water. Finally, replant Kalanchoes with clean compost.

Stem Rot (Fusarium, Botryosphaeria, Lasiodiplodia)

Kalanchoe root rot is a major problem. It is usually caused by insect damage (typically, aphids). Fungal spores can spread within the plant, causing black lesion which can spread to the foliage.

Take out all of the infected leaves, and then treat the plant with an organic pesticide.

Leaf Spot 

Three fungal pathogens can cause a variety of symptoms. Leaf spot on Kalanchoes (Cercospora, Cladosporium, Stemphylium). Keeping a low humidity around Kalanchoes should be fairly simple, provided you’ve planted them as bedding, in containers, or away from dense shrubbery. 

Avoid watering the leaves. Instead, aim to water the base of your plant to prevent spreading fungal leaf spots and to keep them from getting sick. To stop spreading, remove any spotted foliage.

Powdery Mildew

Kalanchoe is not easy to spot, but powdery mold is more common among mixed-use gardens. Mildew can affect both annual plants and vegetables, and the infection is often the same. Kalanchoe mildew looks less stringy and more even.

The best way to get rid of powdery mildew from Kalanchoe is to spray the entire plant with a fungicide in the middle of the morning. This will allow the plant to dry out in afternoon.

Blight (Southern & Botrytis).

Blight can be a serious fungal problem and can affect any plant with poor airflow. Although it is more common in indoor Kalanchoe, it can also be spread to other plants in the yard.

If you find blight (blackened stems with spores when touched or brown spots on the leaves with yellow rings around them), remove as much plant material to prevent its spread and then burn it.

Kalanchoe Mosaic

The Kalanchoe mosaicvirus looks exactly like it sounds. Foliage may develop patches of yellows, browns, or pale greens. These can quickly spread and infect other leaves and plants.

It can be treated with fungicides but it is best to remove the plant and then replace it.

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How to Grow and Care For Kalanchoe in Australia

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