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Kalanchoe luciae (Paddle Plant)


Scientific Name

Kalanchoe luciae Raym.-Hamet

Common Names

Paddle Plant, Paddle Kalanchoe, Red Pancakes, Flapjack, Desert Cabbage


Kalanchoe albiflora, Kalanchoe aleuroides

Scientific Classification

Family: Crassulaceae
Subfamily: Sedoideae
Tribe: Kalanchoeae
Genus: Kalanchoe


Kalanchoe luciae is an attractive succulent, up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall, with grey-green to yellowish-green leaves with red margins. The leaves are fleshy, flat, rounded, and arranged in rosettes. They are up to 6 inches (15 cm) long and up to 4 inches (10 cm) wide. In some cases, they will completely turn a vibrant red, especially with cool winter temperatures. Each stem bears clusters of urn-shaped, white, pale greenish-white, sometimes cream, pinkish, or yellowish flowers. Since it is monocarpic, the main rosette dies after flowering to make way for fresh offshoots, so you should always have a healthy clump.

This species is often mislabeled as its much rarer relative, Kalanchoe thyrsiflora. Here is how you can identify the differences: "When stressed, K. luciae turns redder, while K. thyrsiflora is more of light green. The flowers of the two species also differ. Those of K. thyrsiflora are cylindrical and always brilliant yellow."

Kalanchoe luciae is a winner of the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society.

Kalanchoe luciae (Paddle Plant)

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USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Paddle Plant is not cold hardy, so if you live in a zone that gets colder than 20 °F (-6.7 °C), it is best to plant this succulent in a container that can be brought indoors. It does well in full to partial sun. Plant in well-drained potting soil in an area of your garden that gets 6 hours of sunlight a day.

Water regularly, when the soil dries about an inch (2.5 cm) down into the pot or ground. Paddle Plant is very drought tolerant. It is susceptible to overwatering, however, so err on the side of not watering when unsure.

Fertilize Paddle Plant lightly during the growing season. Withhold fertilizer during fall and watering for both indoor and outdoor plants.

Protect from slugs and snails which permanently disfigure the leaves.

The easiest way to propagate Paddle Plant is to plant leaves or cuttings in spring or summer. Set leaves or cuttings aside for a couple of days or until the cut end develops a callus. You can also remove offsets that grow on the side of a mature Paddle Plant.


Kalanchoe luciae is native to Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal, Transvaal), and Swaziland.



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