Kalanchoe plants are tender succulents that are very easy to grow and come in many leaf shapes and textures. These growing tips for Kalanchoe Tomentosa will give you a fuzzy and textured leaf succulent that you will fall in love with.
Kalanchoe tomentosas are a genus of succulents that are often seen at garden centers. They are grown as stand alone plants or in dish gardens of mixed succulents.
If you are looking for a plant which is great for those with a brown thumb, Kalanchoe tomentosa is a good choice for you. It is perfect for those new to growing succulents.
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Facts about Kalanchoe Tomentosa
Kalanchoe tomentosa succulent plant is a member of the family crassula. The plant is native to Madagascar.
The plant is considered a tender succulent, meaning that it will need to be treated as an indoor plant in the winter months, unless you live in a very warm hardiness zone.
The Kalanchoe tomentosa succulent is also known by the common names panda plant, pussy ears, donkey ears and chocolate soldier. (The chocolate brown version.)
In botany, the term tomentose means a covering of fuzz.
It is easy to see why the common names came to be when you look at the leaves and touch them. The fuzzy texture is soft to touch and the coloring and shape of the leaves makes them look like ears.
- Family: crassulacae
- Genus: kalanchoe
- Cultivar: ‘tomentosa’
Kalanchoe tomentosa comes in two main colors: grayish blue (panda plant) and golden brown (chocolate soldier).
There is also a variety with more whitish gray leaves called kalanchoe eriophylla (Snow White Panda Plant) which is considered slightly more cold hardy.
Growing Kalanchoe Tomentosa
Panda plant care is relatively easy. In fact, it is a popular succulent houseplant because of its easy of care, small size and fuzzy foliage with the dark-red rimmed tips. Follow these tips for optimal care:
Kalanchoe tomentosa will grown in a range of sunlight exposures from full sunlight to partial shade. Indoors, give it a sunny window position and watch it thrive.
Kalanchoe outdoors does best in a place where it will get 6 hours of sunlight. In the harshest conditions, some light shade is beneficial.
Panda plant succulent has average succulent watering needs. Water more in the summer months until the dormancy period.
A good way to water indoors is the “soak and drain” method. To do this, bring the plant to the sink and give it a good soak, allowing the water to drain out of the drain hole in the bottom of the pot.
Once it has stopped draining, return it to a saucer in its normal spot.
Like all succulents, a well draining soil mix is needed for kalanchoe tomentosa since the plant can be prone to root rot. Kalanchoes, in general, like a bit more organic matter in their soil than other succulents do.
In general succulents like a slightly acidic soil with a pH about 6.
How to fertilize kalanchoe tomentosa:
Feed your Kalanchoe tomentosa plant with a diluted fertilizer recommended for succulents. This can be done once a month from spring until the middle of summer.
Don’t fertilize in late summer when the plant is dormant.
Ideal Temperature Range for panda plant:
The plant can take extended temperatures down to only 35 degrees – Don’t let it freeze. It enjoys good ventilation.
Kalanchoe tomentosa likes a moderate temperature range of between 60 and 75 degrees F (15-23 degrees Celsius.)
Kalanchoe tomentosa Flower and Foliage:
Generally speaking, only outdoor kalanchoe varieties will flower. It is rare to see it flower indoors. The leaves and flowers have little hairs on them which give it a velvety look.
The edges of the leaves have a reddish tint which turns a deep mahogany color when they mature. They grow to about 3 inches long.
The flowers are bell shaped and are hairy just the way the leaves are. The edges of the flowers are more rounded.
Mature Size of kalanchoe tomentosa:
Panda plants are normally quite compact if they get enough light but can stretch to the light if they don’t get enough. A normal kalanchoe tomentosa will grow to about 24 inches tall when mature.
Diseases and Insects:
Like most succulents, fungal diseases caused from over-watering are something to be on the look out for. This could show itself with limp leaves that easily fall off.
Mealy bugs, spider mites, and scale are insects that can be a problem. Mealy bugs show up as tiny white insects that have a cotton-like look to them.
Scale insects are found on the stems of succulents and are quite hard. They can be scraped off with a fingernail.
Because of their furry leaves, this plant is especially prone to root rot.
Cold Hardiness for Kalanchoe panda plant:
Panda plant is cold hardy outdoors in zones 9b and warmer.
In colder climates, grow kalanchoe tomentosa as an indoor plant.
Get some ideas for succulent containers for your panda plant. You’ll be amazed at some common household items that can be used.
How to propagate Kalanchoe Tomentosa
Get new plants for free by propagating kalanchoe tomentosa from its leaves or stems. Kalanchoe plants are easy to propagate.
In the spring or summer, twist the leaves away from the stem and allow them to callous over.
Place the leaves with calloused ends on a tray of sand or seeds starting soil. Small roots will develop on the end of the leaf and new plantlets will soon form. Be careful not to over-water the cuttings or they will rot.
You can also take a cut of the top growing tip of the plant and plant the entire cutting in soil. It will develop roots and start growing larger. The mother plant will get more bushy under the cut area.
For more information on succulent propagation, be sure to check out my post on growing succulents from their leaves.
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General tips about Kalanchoe tomentosa
Kalanchoe tomentosa is toxic to animals. All parts of the plant are toxic when ingested. Symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting and general lethargy.
If a large amount is eaten, the plant can be fatal to small pets.
Another very toxic plant often grown in gardens, is brugmansia – also known as Angel’s trumpets. Read about brugmansia here.
Indoor or Outdoor:
Panda plant is considered a tender succulent. You can grow it outdoors all year long in the warmer zones – 9b and above.
If your temperatures are colder than this, you should grow tomentosa as an indoor plant. It can be moved outside in the summer months and will benefit from this.
Kalanchoe tomentosa has a dormancy period in the late summer months. You can reduce the temperature range and water less during this time.
Where to purchase Panda Plant
Check the garden center of both Lowe’s and Home Depot. I found my plant at a small local garden center. The Farmer’s market is also a great place to purchase succulents. The plant is also available online:
- Kalanchoe Tomentosa on Amazon.
- Kalanchoe Tomentosa on Etsy.
- Kalanchoe Chocolate Soldier on Amazon.
- Kalanchoe Tomentosa at Mountain Crest Gardens
Be sure to check out my tips for buying succulents. This gives information on what to look for both locally and when buying online.
Pin Kalanchoe Tomentosa Growing Tips for Later
Would you like a reminder of this post for how to grow panda plant ? Just pin this image to one of your Pinterest succulent boards so that you can easily find it later.
- 1 Kalanchoe tomentosa plant
- Succulent fertilizer
- Cacti and Succulent soil
- I pot
- hose or watering can
- Sunlight needs: 6 hours of sun outdoors, a bright sunny window indoors
- Watering requirement: Water well and then allow to dry out slightly.
- Fertilizing: Once a month during the growing season
- Growing Season: spring and early summer. Dormant in summer.
- Propagation: stem cuttings and leaf cuttings
- Cold Hardiness: cold hardy in zones 9b and above. For colder zones, treat as a houseplant
- Toxicity: all parts of the plant are toxic to animals
Be careful of overwatering. The plant is susceptible to root rot.
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