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Kalanchoe daigremontiana
Mother of Thousands

Kalanchoe daigremontianaWhat a fun and delightful plant for children as well as adults.

This kalanchoe is one of 130 species of which there are annuals, biennials, and perennial succulents. The Mother of Thousands is a perennial, sometimes also called the Devil's Backbone, or Mexican Hat Plant. The "babies" are adventitious plantlets on the toothed margins of the leaf.

This plant can live for years and grow to three feet but it is a good idea to renew the often leggy plant with the newer plantlets. They tend to get top heavy.

Kalanchoes bloom when pot bound in the summer and fall and have no real fragrance.

When summering this plant out it is a light loving plant which likes the south but in the winter 50F - 60F is better for indoors.

The Mother of Thousands is a very drought resistant and can be totally ignored. However, regular feeding and care from March through October will make this plant thrive.

Potting soil should be on the dry and sandy side, well drained, similar to a commercial cactus mix.

Generally this plant will grow with one straight stem but may branch out if the top shoots are cut off.

Kalanchoe daigremontiana bloomsWatering

Keep them moist, but not to over water. If the leaves begin to turn yellow, you are probably over watering. Soil moist to the touch, but certainly not soggy.


Propagation is done by the tiny plantlets. Just by laying a mature leaf on a bed of moist sandy soil the plantlets will root in. Or, you can just take the plantlets off the leaf and place them on the soil.


In her book, "Wicked Plants," Amy Stewart says that "It contains a class of cardiac steroids known as bufadienolides that can cause heart damage.'

Kalanchoe tomentosa (panda plant) page.

Kalanchoe blossfeldianaChristmas Kalanchoe

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, which has a scarlet flower,  can be made to bloom at Christmas by shortening the length of day in September by giving them complete darkness from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. Do this until October 1. The buds will form under these conditions and flowering will be in time for the holidays.This is known as the "chrismas kalanchoe".

If you do not force bloom the Christmas Kalanchoe this way, it will normally bloom in the spring.

photo by Julia Martinez of Texas

Emily: What is this?

Dear Emily: Could you please tell me what kind of plant this is? It was given to me a few days ago and no one seems to know the name of it, or where it comes.

A: We have thousands of these in the yard. We have this listed on the site under "Plant of the Week" but that just reflects our good nature and love of all plants. It should be listed under "Weed of the Week"

Each of those little things on its leaves is another plant. They will drop and root like crazy.

To be specific it may be a "Kalanchoe daigremontiana"

Kalanchoe blooms

Emily: Is a Kalanchoe a houseplant?

Dear Emily: Is a Kalanchoe a houseplant or an outside plant?

A: That depends on where you live. There is no such thing as a 'real' houseplant. Every plant lives naturally and normally somewhere on this planet. A Kalanchoe is native to subtropical and tropical Africa and Madagascar, and scattering species in Asia. So in these parts of the world they do grow outdoors as a perennial succulent., climbers and sometimes shrubs. However, in cooler zones one can grow this plant as a houseplant and summer outside 'til just about frost.

Kalanchoes requires good bright light if not full sun and not the best of soil nor fertilizing......

Growing them in clay pots and simulating their native habitat makes for a nice 'houseplant' .