The Kalanchoe Daigremontiana is a perennial succulent plant that is native to Madagascar. It is also called Mother of Thousands, Alligator Plant, Mexican Hat Plant, and Devil’s Backbone.
The plant has thick, fleshy leaves arranged in a pattern that strongly resembles Pine trees. The leaves are blue-green with purple spots underneath. The plant produces thousands of small plantlets on the edges of its leaves, hence the name.
Flowers appear at the beginning of the warm season (around April), but they don’t stay for long, and the plant appears wilted afterward. Flowers bloom sporadically throughout the plant’s lifetime, and if they don’t appear on indoor plants, there is no need to worry.
|Mother of Thousands Plant, Devil’s backbone, Mexican Hat Plant
|USDA Hardiness Zones
|9 to 11
|by offsets, by cuttings
|Full sun to partial shade
Mother of Thousands Plant Care
You haven’t experienced a genuinely low-maintenance plant until you’ve experienced a Kalanchoe daigremontiana. These succulent shrubs are notoriously easy to grow. They don’t need any help. That’s right; they don’t need any help at all.
You could plant one in your garden right now and forget about it. Come back years later, and that tiny plant will have taken over your garden with its multitudes of offsets. Leaves shed off plantlets that take root and grow into plants and form leaves and shed off plantlets again.
It’s a virtuous cycle that can get out of hand quickly if not properly managed. Most gardeners grow these shrubs in pots for precisely that reason; to prevent these plants from propagating.
Light and Location
The Kalanchoe Daigremontiana is a succulent that loves full sun. A partially shaded location won’t stunt its growth, but it won’t grow as large or produce as many offsets. Some afternoon shade might be necessary for hot climates to prevent the leaves from scorching.
They grow just as well outdoors as they do indoors. They’re primarily placed in pots to prevent them from taking over a garden. A bright, airy window is perfect for a potted plant.
These plants are very drought tolerant and can go weeks without water. In fact, they will do better if you let them dry out completely between watering. Water once the soil has completely dried out. Water deeply, but don’t let the plant sit in water. Overwatering will result in a stressed specimen, but it won’t kill a Mother of Thousands.
The Kalanchoe Daigremontiana is native to Madagascar, which means it’s used to hot, dry conditions. Therefore, it will do best in a similar environment. They can tolerate cold temperatures down to 40 degrees, but they won’t be happy about it. In cold climates, it’s best to grow these plants indoors, where the temperature is more consistent. In fact, freezing temperatures are one of the only ways to kill these plants with any degree of surety.
These plants don’t care either way. They’re just as happy in a humid environment as in a dry one. So they’re perfectly fine with average room conditions, and you don’t need to pay any attention to humidity levels.
Fertilize Kalanchoe Daigremontiana sparingly; once a year is more than enough. Use a succulent fertilizer or a cactus fertilizer at half strength. These plants are light feeders, and too much fertilizer will burn their roots. You can also choose to forgo fertilizing entirely, and there won’t be any downsides. This plant is already an aggressive grower; it doesn’t need much help.
Use standard shears to prune if you want to control the size or shape of your plant. These plants can get leggy and top-heavy as they age. To prevent them from falling over, you can prune them back.
The easiest way to propagate these plants is by offsets or plantlets. These are small plantlets that form on the leaves of mature plants. To propagate, gently twist the plantlet off the leaf. It should come off easily without much effort. Plant the offset in well-draining succulent soil and water sparingly until roots have formed. Plantlets fall off naturally from the leaves and propagate by themselves quite often. You will often find new plants growing in pots you don’t remember planting them in. Be mindful of unwanted propagation.
You can also propagate these plants from cuttings. Every part of the plant can easily root in succulent soil. Just take a cutting, let it callous over for a few days, and then plant it. Water sparingly until roots have formed.
However, since offsets are so readily formed and easy to propagate, barely anyone bothers with cuttings. You can choose to propagate this way, but it will take longer, and it doesn’t have much benefit.
Potting and Repotting
The Kalanchoe Daigremontiana is a fast-growing plant and will quickly outgrow its pot if it’s too small. To prevent frequent repotting needs, choose a larger pot the first time you pot so that the shrub has plenty of room to grow. Once it has outgrown its pot, or if its offsets have taken root in the same pot, you might want to repot.
When repotting, choose a pot that’s bigger than the one it’s currently in. Be sure to use well-draining succulent soil for the best results.
Repot in the spring before the plant begins to grow actively. If you wait too long, the plant will have already put out new growth, and it will be more difficult to repot without damaging the plant.
To repot, gently remove the plant from its current pot. Knock away any loose dirt and then replant in the new pot using well-draining succulent soil. Water sparingly until the plant has adjusted to its new pot.
Kalanchoe Daigremontiana is moderately toxic to pets if ingested. The leaves contain toxins that are poisonous to cats, dogs, and other animals. Symptoms of toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, and drooling. If you suspect your pet has eaten this plant, take them to the vet immediately.
These plants are relatively pest and disease-free. However, they can be susceptible to mealybugs and aphids. These pests will suck the sap out of the leaves and can cause the plant to weaken over time. If you notice any pests on your plant, remove them with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.
How to Grow a Mother of Thousands Plant: Tips & Tricks (Video)
What Is Kalanchoe daigremontiana Good For?
The Kalanchoe daigremontiana is a fast-growing succulent. It can serve as a good example of how to care for succulents. It’s also tolerant of neglect, making it a good plant for beginners. Not to mention the unique way it propagates; you don’t see offsets growing from leaves every day.
Can You Eat Kalanchoe Leaves?
No, you should not eat Kalanchoe leaves. They are poisonous to humans and other animals if ingested. Protect children and pets from these succulents.
How Do I Get Rid Of Mother Of Millions?
The best way to get rid of the mother of millions is to pull them out by the roots. Unfortunately, they can be challenging to control because they propagate so quickly. So, if you have them in your garden, remove offsets as soon as you see them.
Can Mother of Thousands Live Outside?
The Mother of Thousands can live outside, but it’s best to keep it in a pot. This plant is native to Madagascar and can’t handle cold temperatures. If you regularly experience cold winters, it won’t be possible for the plant to survive outside in the cold.
How Tall Does Mother of Thousands Plant Grow?
The Mother of Thousands plant can grow up to 3 feet tall. However, it’s more likely to stay around 2 feet in height. Indoor plants rarely reach their ultimate size.