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One of the most unique houseplants around is Kalanchoe daigremontiana commonly called mother of thousands plants. While many plants are beautiful to look at, others are great for scents, and still, more are wonderful additions to fresh-cut flower arrangements, the mother of thousands is impressive due to its propagation method: the mother plant reproduces by creating miniature versions of itself called ‘baby plantlets’ right off of its own leaves!
Quick Facts About Mother of Thousands
- Common name: mother of thousand, kalanchoe, Mexican hat plant, devil’s backbone, alligator plant
- Botanical name: Kalanchoe daigremontiana; formerly known as Bryophyllum daigremontianum
- Type of plant: succulent plant
- Native areas: Madagascar, Africa, South America
- Sun exposure: bright, indirect light
- Size upon maturity: 2 to 3 feet
- Type of soil and pH level: well-draining, sandy soil; cactus soil
- Hardiness zones: 9 to 11 USDA
- Bloom time: winter months
- Vulnerable to: aphids, mealybugs, scale insects, root rot
- Toxicity: toxic to cats and dogs
Everything About Mother of Thousands Plant
A succulent perennial that is part of the Crassulaceae family, Kalanchoe daigremontiana, is also known as the mother of thousands. It is related to the jade plant.
Its most noticeable feature is the clusters of rosette succulents that look like baby plantlets on its leaf margins. Each “bud” can easily be pulled off the mother plant without causing harm. It’s important to keep in mind that tiny plantlets will eventually form their own new parent plant if nurtured properly.
This unique plant is native to Madagascar and this succulent plant can be found growing in the wild on cliffs and rocky hillsides. The mother of thousands is drought-tolerant, making it an ideal indoor plant for those who live in dry climates or want to grow one indoors year-round. It has small, tubular, dangling pinkish-gray flowers that bloom at the start summer months. It does not flower often, but it is a pretty sight when it does.
Because this plant drops little plantlets easily, it can be difficult to control when grown outdoors. Kalanchoe plants are considered invasive species in a lot of places.
The mother of thousands is also known by several names like kalanchoe, Mexican hat plant, devil’s backbone, and alligator plant. It is toxic to dogs and cats, so keep it away from your pets. If you have children under the age of five, it is best to keep this plant out of their reach.
Mother of Thousands vs. Mother of Millions
Although these two plants look similar and they belong to the same succulent species, these Kalanchoe plants are not the same. The difference lies in their leaves, which are different in shape.
The mother of thousands has tear-shaped leaves with plantlets growing along the margins. The mother of millions has narrow leaves that produce plantlets at their pointed tips.
How to Care for Mother of Thousands
The mother of thousands is a hardy plant that requires little attention to thrive. It is an ideal choice for a beginner gardener, as it can be easily grown indoors or out. It’s also a great option for those who have little experience with plants because of its simple care requirements.
Just like other plants from its family, the mother of thousands prefers bright, indirect sunlight. You can also grow your mother of thousands indoors but only if you have a bright window that gets at least six hours of sunlight each day. You can put your plant in bright, north-facing windows where it can get enough light for optimal growth.
Keep in mind that the small plantlets will not grow without bright light and too much direct sunlight will cause them to burn.
You can grow your mother of thousands in a terracotta pot or any pot with drainage holes and regular potting soil with perlite and sand mix. A cactus potting mix can also be used as potting soil for this plant. Mother of thousands prefers sandy soil that is well-drained.
Water Mother of thousands needs moist soil but not soggy or wet. You should water your plant only when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.
If you use a container, be sure to drain all excess water out of it before putting it back on the windowsill. You can place a few small stones in the bottom of your pot so that water will not sit in one area. Too much moisture will result in rotting roots and a dead plant.
To remove the excess moisture from the soil, place a plate or tray under your plant to catch the water that drains out. If you use pebbles as drainage in your container, be sure they are small enough not to clog up the holes.
Humidity and Temperature
The mother of thousands plant likes warm temperatures, but not hot ones. If you live in a hot climate, you will need to keep your plant out of direct sunlight. You should keep your plant between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 27 degrees Celsius).
Also called the devil’s backbone, the mother of thousands is a succulent plant and does not need much fertilizer. If you want to fertilize your plant, use only a weak solution of water-soluble fertilizer once in the spring and once in the summer. Do not fertilize them during the winter months as they need to be dormant. If you see new growth, then your plant is getting enough nutrients from the soil and does not need additional fertilizer.
This plant does not need to be repotted often, but when it does need to be repotted, you should only do so during the spring and summer. When repotting your plant, make sure you only use well-draining soil. You should also use a pot that is at least 2 inches larger than the previous one.
How to Propagate Mother of Thousands
To propagate the Mexican hat plant, you can use the little plantlets that grow on this plant. Make sure that you are only taking the plantlets from mature mothers of thousands.
Put the tiny plantlets into a container with moist soil, and place them in indirect sunlight. Place a plastic bag over the container to keep the soil moist and warm. Make sure that you are checking on the plantlets regularly so that they don’t dry out. They should start growing within a few weeks of being planted.
When the baby plantlets have grown to about 4 inches tall, you can transplant them into their own containers.
Common Problems and Pests that Affect Growth
Mother of thousands plants are susceptible to insect pests and diseases that can affect their growth and development. If you notice that your mother of thousands plant has problems with pests or diseases, you will want to take the appropriate steps to help the plant recover. Here are some common problems that affect growth and how you can help with them:
Aphids are tiny, soft-bodied insects that can be green, black, or red. They suck the sap from plants, leaving behind a sticky residue on leaves and stems. If you see these pests on your mother of thousands plants, spray them with soapy water or apply neem oil on the leaves to remove them.
Mealybugs are tiny, white bugs with a waxy, cotton-like coating. They can be found on the undersides of leaves and stems of mother of thousands plants. They will feed on the sap and cause damage to the plant. To remove mealybugs, wipe them clean with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or soap and water solution.
Scale insects are tiny, immobile bugs that look like shells. They are usually found on the stems and leaves of mother of thousands plants. Scale insects can cause damage to the plant by sucking out its sap. To remove scale insects, spray them with soapy water, neem oil or rubbing alcohol. If the infestation is not that heavy, you can pick off the scale insects and dispose of them properly.
Root rot is a disease that causes the plant’s roots to become soft and mushy. It is caused by a fungal infection and can be fatal if not treated immediately. To prevent this, make sure your mother of thousands plant has plenty of drainage holes in its pot so that water does not pool up inside. Also, avoid overwatering your plant.
Does the mother of thousand plants need sunlight?
Yes, the mother of thousand plants need sunlight to thrive. However, they should not be exposed to direct sunlight for long periods of time as this can cause damage to their leaves. It is recommended that you place your plant in a spot where it gets several hours of indirect light but not shade.
How often do you water a mother of thousands plant?
You should water your mother of thousands plant regularly but not excessively. It is recommended that you water the plant when the soil feels dry to the touch. You should also make sure that there are plenty of holes in its pot to ensure good drainage so that water does not pool up inside.
Is the mother of a thousand plants poisonous?
Yes, all parts of the mother of thousands plant are poisonous. It is recommended that you do not let children or pets play with the plant as it may be harmful if ingested.
Is the mother of a thousand plants considered invasive?
Yes, the mother of thousands plant is considered an invasive species. It can grow quickly and spread throughout your garden, so it’s a good idea to keep it contained in a pot or other container where it won’t spread out of control.
Why are the leaves on my mother of thousands turning brown?
The leaves on your mother of thousands may be turning brown because they are getting too much sunlight. The plant needs to be placed in a spot with indirect light, such as under a tree where it will get some shade during the day. Another reason why the leaves on your mother of thousand plants may be turning brown is that there is not enough water in the soil.
The mother of thousands is unique because of its ability to propagate itself and grow new plants from the small plantlets growing on its leaf margins. The mother of thousands is easy to grow and can be quite a conversation piece. If you are looking for an unusual houseplant that is sure to attract attention, the mother of thousands plant is an excellent choice.