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Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands)

Alligator Plant, Devil's Backbone, Mexican Hat Plant, Mother of Thousands, Bryophyllum daigremontianum

Kalanchoe daigremontiana, Alligator Plant, Devil's Backbone, Mexican Hat Plant, Mother of Thousands

Kalanchoe daigremontiana, commonly known as Mother of Thousands or Alligator Plant, is a fascinating succulent known for its unique method of reproduction and striking appearance. It’s an excellent choice for those seeking a low-maintenance yet visually interesting plant.

Kalanchoe daigremontiana: An In-depth Look

Kalanchoe daigremontiana is known for its remarkable ability to produce tiny plantlets along the edges of its leaves. It has a tall, upright growth habit and is famous for its reproductive prowess.

Native: Native to Madagascar, it thrives in arid, rocky environments, a trait that contributes to its drought tolerance.

Plant Type and Habit: This succulent is characterized by its upright growth habit. It typically forms a single, central stem with large, elongated leaves.

Size: It can grow quite tall for a succulent, reaching heights of up to 3 feet (about 1 meter) and spreading around 1-2 feet (30-60 cm) wide.

Flowers: The plant produces small, tubular pink or orange flowers on tall stalks, although it rarely blooms indoors. Flowering generally occurs in late winter to early spring when grown outdoors.

Foliage: The foliage of Kalanchoe daigremontiana is one of its most distinctive features. The leaves are large, fleshy, and elongated, typically growing up to 6 inches long (15 cm) or more. They are green above, often with a slight grayish or bluish tint, and blotched with purple underneath. The leaves’ texture is smooth and somewhat waxy, and they grow in an alternating pattern up the stem, giving the plant a full, bushy appearance.

The most remarkable aspect of the leaves is their ability to produce tiny plantlets along the margins. These plantlets, complete with roots and leaves, eventually drop off and can grow into new plants where they land. This unique method of reproduction gives the plant its common name, Mother of Thousands.

This prolific reproduction through leaf plantlets makes Kalanchoe daigremontiana particularly interesting and a favorite among succulent enthusiasts.

Uses: Primarily used as a houseplant or in succulent gardens. Its unique reproductive ability makes it a topic of interest among plant enthusiasts.

Hardiness: It’s suited to USDA zones 9-11. It’s not frost-tolerant and requires protection in cooler climates.

Toxicity: The plant is toxic if ingested, especially to pets and small children.

Deer and Rabbit: It is resistant to deer and rabbits due to its succulent nature and toxicity.

Drought: Highly drought-tolerant, needing minimal watering. It can survive prolonged periods of drought with little or no water

Invasiveness: Can be invasive in tropical climates due to its prolific reproductive habit. Care should be taken to control its spread.

Benefits: Low maintenance and unique in appearance, it’s an interesting conversation piece and adds diversity to a succulent collection.

Growing Tips

Light: Prefers bright, indirect sunlight. Can tolerate some direct sunlight but avoid harsh midday sun to prevent leaf burn.

Soil: Requires well-draining, sandy or cactus potting mix. Good aeration is crucial to avoid root rot.

Water: Water sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out completely between waterings. Reduce watering in the winter during the plant’s dormant period.

Fertilizer: Fertilize with a diluted, balanced fertilizer during the growing season (spring and summer). Fertilize once a month or as per the product instructions.

Pruning: Pruning is generally not needed but can be done to shape the plant or remove dead leaves.

Propagation: Easily propagated from the tiny plantlets that form on leaf margins.
Simply place plantlets in well-draining soil to root and grow.

Pests and Diseases: Watch for pests like mealybugs, aphids, or spider mites. Be vigilant about root rot, which can occur in overly moist conditions.

Requirements

Hardiness 9 - 11
Plant Type Houseplants, Cactus & Succulents
Plant Family Crassulaceae
Genus Kalanchoe
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 1' - 3'
(30cm - 90cm)
Spread 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spacing 12" - 18"
(30cm - 50cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Tolerance Drought, Dry Soil, Deer, Rabbit
Garden Uses Patio And Containers
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden, Mediterranean Garden
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi (Lavender Scallops)
Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper)
Kalanchoe pumila (Flower Dust Plant)
Kalanchoe beharensis ‘Fang’ (Felt Plant)
Kalanchoe marnieriana (Marnier’s Kalanchoe)
Kalanchoe tomentosa (Panda Plant)

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While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 9 - 11
Plant Type Houseplants, Cactus & Succulents
Plant Family Crassulaceae
Genus Kalanchoe
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 1' - 3'
(30cm - 90cm)
Spread 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spacing 12" - 18"
(30cm - 50cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Tolerance Drought, Dry Soil, Deer, Rabbit
Garden Uses Patio And Containers
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden, Mediterranean Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Kalanchoe
Guides with
Kalanchoe
Not sure which Kalanchoe to pick?
Compare Now

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