Kalanchoe daigremontiana Raym.-Hamet & H. Perrier
Alligator Plant, Devil's Backbone, Mexican Hat Plant, Mother of Thousands
Bryophyllum daigremontianum, Kalanchoe daigremontianum
Kalanchoe daigremontiana, also known as Bryophyllum daigremontianum, is a monocarpic succulent with a simple, brownish, erect or decumbent stem with thick fleshy leaves with numerous bulbils on the teeth. It grows up to 3 feet (1 m) tall. Leaves are very variable in size, color, and shape. They are dark green, pinkish-green to purplish-green with brown-red spots, up to 8 inches (20 cm) long and up to 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) wide, and held on up to 2 inches (5 cm) long petioles.
The flowers are grayish-pink or sometimes reddish to purple, bell-shaped, up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long, and appear in umbrella-like terminal inflorescence in early winter.
USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
This succulent loves to receive a good dose of the direct morning sun. It can take any amount of humidity, but the one thing it cannot handle is soggy soil. To prevent this, only plant Mother of Thousands in a soil mix for succulents, or create your own. Also, only plant this succulent in a terracotta pot with a drainage hole. This will reduce the chances of overwatering. As far as watering this plant, water until moisture comes out the bottom of the pot, and then do not water until the first 2 inches (5 cm) of soil is dry.
In the spring, begin to take your plant outside to harden off. This succulent loves the warm summer weather, but not gradually exposing your plant to the outdoors will cause scorching of the leaves.
Bring your Mother of Thousands indoors before the first frost of the year, but do this gradually. A drastic move from the outside in will cause plant stress.
Propagating Mother of Thousands is very easy. You can just let the plantlets fall where they may. Looking at them while they are on the plant, you will notice that the plantlets have tiny roots that easily root wherever they fall. While this makes it easy for the gardener, it does have its downfall. Allowing the offspring to root wherever they may cause plants to pop up in undesired places, which includes out in the yard and inside other pots. A better approach for those who do not want the Mother of Thousands everywhere is to handpick off the plantlets before they fall off. Using this approach allows the gardener to plant the plantlets in the proper soil and in locations where they are desired.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Kalanchoe.
Kalanchoe daigremontiana is native to the Fiherenana River valley and Androhibolava mountains in southwest Madagascar.
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