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Kalanchoe thyrsiflora (Paddle Plant)


Scientific Name

Kalanchoe thyrsiflora Harv.

Common Names

Bird's Brandy, Desert Cabbage, Flapjacks, Ice Sculpture, Paddle Plant, White Lady Kalanchoe, Yellow Flapjacks


Kalanchoe alternans

Scientific Classification

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


Kalanchoe thyrsiflora is a lovely succulent often confused with Kalanchoe luciae. It forms a basal rosette of fleshy rounded, grayish-green leaves with margins often tinged red and covered with a white powdery bloom. The inflorescence is erect, up to 5 feet (1.5 m) tall, with densely clustered, thyrse-like panicles. The fragrant flowers are cylindrical, brilliant yellow, and appear from mid-summer to mid-winter.

This species is slightly rarer than its counterpart K. luciae which turns a vibrant red when stressed and has larger leaves. The plants commonly distributed under the name K. thyrsiflora are, in fact, the related K. luciae.

Kalanchoe thyrsiflora (Paddle Plant)

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USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Kalanchoe care is minimal but be cautious about light levels. Intense southern light can burn the tips of the leaves. Place pots in partial sun to light shade areas when growing Kalachoes.

The flowering varieties are highly rewarding for their colorful and long-lasting flowers. They prefer bright, sunny locations, especially in the summer growing season. During the winter, consider a south-facing window. Water moderately throughout the summer and reduce watering in the winter. Let the soil surface dry out between waterings, and in the winter, the plant can almost dry out. Watch the fleshy leaves for signs of water distress. They prefer warmth. Don't let fall below 55 ºF (13 ºC). An ordinary potting soil mix is fine. Feed bi-weekly in the summer with a liquid fertilizer, or use slow-release pellets.

These small plants require repotting every few years. When repotting, take additional care in handling as the leaves are somewhat brittle and can snap easily. Clay pots work exceptionally well for planting Kalanchoes. Ensure pots can drain well, and saucers can empty easily. See more at How to Grow and Care for Kalanchoe.


Kalanchoe thyrsiflora is native to Botswana and South Africa.


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