Panda Plant, Plush Plant, Pussy Ears
Lindsey Coulter writes, Emily:
I've attached some pictures of my panda plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa)...parent and babies!
The first two pics are of the parent...it was given to me by the greenhouse instructor where I went to college--probably about 2 1/2 years ago now, and it continues to thrive. The stem starts out delicate and fuzzy, but over time turns much harder.
These two pics are from April, so it has grown more since then, since every time I bump it another piece falls off, and therefore two more appear in its place. The babies were made by sticking the leaves that had fallen off into cactus soil (after letting them dry up for a couple of days).
So, in other words, don't worry if you drop it, if your cats like to rub up on it, or if you're a little rough while repotting it...it will survive, and will continue to produce new life!
I have been told that in the wild these plants have a little "stubbier" leaves, but since I am in a more northern climate, and because they don't get the optimal amount of light, the leaves grow to be more elongated and slender (stretching toward the sun). For the first year or so this plant just sat in my eastern facing window and did just fine, but now enjoys the balcony in full sunlight throughout the summer. I have also read that it may eventually bloom, but have yet to see a flower.
One of my "litters" had some issues...they all grew out the bottom of the pots! I was getting frustrated because they had not started to grow...and I picked up one of the pots to see if the leaf had begun to root...that was when I realized that the baby plants were growing out of the tiny drainage hole in the bottom. I still haven't figured out what I will do with them, but they seem to be doing fine for now.
One more note on the Kalanchoe tomentosa...they like as much sun as they can get, and they can tolerate drying out. During the summer I water about once a week or two, or once the soil is dry as far down as my finger will reach. In the winter I let it go 3 weeks or more...better to let them get too dry than to keep them too wet.