It was a tiny kalanchoe with the most amazing leaves, tucked in among a collection of other succulents. My husband had given me a little dish garden for Valentine’s Day, and I immediately fell in love with this plant. The leaves were very large, crisp, and covered with a felt like nap. As often happens, the plants began to grown out of the little pot, and Kal was one of the first to be repotted. I put him in a terra cotta pot and set him in a spot near the sliding door where he’d get just enough sun.
Kal was not to be contained in that little pot. As the roots expanded, the soil began to move out of the pot, soil and water leaking all over the parquet floor. It became apparent that it was time our burly friend was going to have to be moved outside.
There was one small issue. The little man with the clippers was set on controlling this plant he’d never seen before. It took some doing to convince him to keep his clippers in his pocket and let me be in charge.
As years went by, Kal became parent to many offspring, and now he has family all over southern California. He especially loved the beach when we lived there, which surprised me, since most succulents do best in dry climates. However, this guy had a mind of his own, so we just kept putting him in larger and larger pots and watched him thrive.
Ken gave me this plant in 1975, shortly after we were married. Ken is gone now, and my life has been through many transitions, but Kal is still with me. My little plant is now over four feet tall. His home is just outside my patio door, and he recently helped to hatch a pair of baby hummingbirds, snuggled safely under his big leaves.
In case you’re wondering, this is a Kalanchoe Beharensis, and with age it becomes almost architectural. It’s one of my old loves.