02/08/2012 09:02 am ET Updated Oct 11, 2012

Sprout Home Plant Of The Week: Magic Bells

The Kalanchoe Blossfelckiana Cultivar 'Magic Bells', originally from Madagascar, is indeed magic and albeit quite alien when compared to most of its brethren, which normally have compact and bright flowers. Magic Bells have fleshy broad leaves, which are slightly jagged, surrounding a central stem holding the most fascinating flowers as if they were put on a pedestal. From the tall spire of the stem, the flowers dangle like bell-shaped green grapes that delicately open up with a soft tangerine colored lantern like bloom. The flowers are so unusual and tantalizing I can imagine Bacchus, the Greek god, having one for breakfast, but please do not try this for yourself as it is toxic.

Photo By Sprout Home

Even though you would not assume it by looking at it, Magic Bells are succulents belonging to the Crassulaceae family, which also includes jade and hen and chicks. They need to be in sun in order to thrive, but can sometimes get burnt if outside in direct sun all day in warmer climates during the summer. They have moderate to minimal watering needs -- allow the soil to dry and do not keep too wet or they will rot. Make sure that they are potted in a well-draining mix and avoid keeping the foliage wet. They bloom for 8-10 weeks and are triggered into flowering by dry spells and short days.

Magic Bells are a great plant to have around during the winter, reminding you of spring soon to come. When it is done with its winter bloom, have some patience and move it outside to use in combination container plantings and another flower show will come soon. When you are selecting your Magic Bell, choose one that still has buds yet-to-open so that you can stretch out the enjoyment of the bloom that much longer. Try pairing it with Setcreasea Purple Heart, Aeonium Schwarzkopf or any other sedum or succulent with a purple-toned foliage color. Even though Magic Bells visually seem to escape human reason, they can be enjoyed by all -- Bacchus or not. Try one in your home now while the bloom is still at its peak.

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