The kalanchoe tomentosa is a succulent plant native to Madagascar. The name means “hairy kalanchoe” in Latin. It has been used as an ornamental plant for centuries and is still popular today. Kalanchoe is often grown as houseplants because they can survive on very little water.
In addition to being easy to care for, these plants are also easy on the eyes! They have broad leaves often covered with small hairs or scales that give them a fuzzy appearance. Kalanchoes also produce tubular flowers of white or pinkish colors during their blooming season, which usually lasts from winter through summer.
Kalanchoe Tomentosa might seem utterly foreign to you, but there’s no denying that you may have seen this houseplant somewhere around you. Small and sturdy, this species is more commonly known as the “Indoor Panda Plant.”
The Succulent Kalanchoe Tomentosa has some other very colorful and unique names as well, such as the “pussy ears” or the “chocolate soldier.””
Because of the size, shape, and color, the Panda plant can easily be kept anywhere around the house, but they are mostly seen as decorative pieces in a child’s bedroom. As long as the plant is kept in a location with low temperature and watered regularly, it is an easy plant to maintain by anyone.
The Panda plant can be a great gift and the perfect houseplant for a beginner gardener or children interested in gardening.
Origin and History
The Kalanchoe Tomentosa is a native to Madagascar; original plant had small, pointed leaves with a red rim. At present, various other species of the plant, named “Golden Girl,” “White Lady,” “Donkey Ears,” “Black Tie,” and “Teddy Bear,” grows best in countries that have humid and warm climate.
The leaves of the Panda plant have a unique velvety appearance, which is caused by minuscule hairs covering the leaves. During the day, the hairs reflect sunlight and shine, giving the plant an attractive and elegant look. Tomentosa, which means “densely woolly” or “densely velvety,” refers to how the leaves feel to touch.
Based on the different varieties, the Panda plant changes the shape of its leaves and the colors around the edges of the leaves. In native Madagascar, the same plants can grow up to two feet tall; as a houseplant, it grows to a maximum of several inches but not more than that.
Propagation of the Kalanchoe Tomentosa Plant
The panda plant has a pretty standard propagation process, which is simple and easy.
During spring, considered the growing season for this plant, the leaf or stems of an existing plant can be cut and replanted in the soil to create a new plant. However, it is easier to use the stems than the leaves and guarantees more success.
It would be best if you expertly used a sharp pair of scissors to make a clean cut above the node of the stem. If the stem is healthy and mature, it will make the propagation process easier. The cut stem needs to be dried for 2 to 3 days and then replanted in soil with good drainage.
The process is almost the same for leaf propagation. In this case, a healthy leaf can be twisted out gently from the stem, causing no harm to the rest of the plant. It is crucial, however, that no part of the leaf is left behind on the stem for the propagation process to be a success. Leave the leaf out in the open for around two days for it to grow some callous, and then lay them directly over some high-quality potting soil to grow into a plant.
For the propagation period, the pot with the stem or leaf cutting must be kept in a window to access bright but indirect sunlight for a few days. The soil must also be kept moist but not soggy for the duration, with constant but little watering.
Soon, the leaf or stem cuttings will start growing a few roots and later grow into a plant.
Growing and Care Guide
In the right conditions, the Kalanchoe Tomentosa is relatively easy to maintain as a houseplant and needs very little care.
Cultivators to Select When propagating through the stems of existing panda plants, a healthy, robust, mature stem must be selected. It is also recommended that the stem has at least two leaves and is a few inches tall for the process to be a success. The process is the same for all species of panda plants.
Pruning and Maintenance
Extraordinarily sharp and only special gardening scissors should be used to prune panda plants. These plants need to be pruned only when you want them to maintain their shape and not grow too tall or when you want to cut off a stem for propagating.
Panda plants usually create dense foliage as they grow up, and the scissors can be used to trim the stems and remove the leaves that have grown too long. By cutting off the older and longer leaves, the plants will allow new leaves to grow.
Most species of the Kalanchoe Tomentosa love sunlight, both direct and indirect. They can live on windowsills with at least a few hours of direct access to the sun or shelves if the room is bright and airy. But, as much as this plant loves the sun, it also needs a few hours of shade and darkness.
Panda plants need soil that’s consistently moist but also well-drained. High-quality cacti potting soil or succulent potting mix is the perfect soil for these plants, which can be made better by adding a little perlite to it. Standing water is harmful to these plants, so the soil should always drain well.
These plants don’t need a lot of watering. Only when the soil becomes dry – which can be once or twice a week depending on the climate – do the plants need enough water for the soil to get wet.
Panda plants can also withstand weeks of not being watered if you’re away or forgotten to. Skipping on watering for a few weeks will not harm the plants, but overwatering and standing water can cause the roots to rot.
Fertilizer and Feeding
Spring is considered the growing season for panda plants, continuing to the end of summer. Therefore, the soil can be fertilized with a mild and diluted fertilizer only once every four weeks during this season. A balanced and nutritious houseplant food, mixed at half strength, can also be added to the soil, but that’s optional.
Temperature and Humidity
The ideal temperature for panda plants is between 60-to-75-degree Fahrenheit, but they can tolerate anything slightly higher or lower. Excessive heat and excessive cold can be perilous for these plants, but they can also flourish in such regions if kept indoors and away from a draft.
Like most other succulents, Kalanchoe Tomentosa plants prefer a steady climate that doesn’t fluctuate too much. Therefore, the ideal humidity level needed for these plants is at a steady 40%.
Common Pests and Diseases
Although quite a steady indoor plant, the Kalanchoe Tomentosa can face trouble from certain pests and common diseases.
These are white web-like substances, and they would suddenly appear on plants’ leaves. Mealybugs are tiny parasites that live in the nooks of plants and can be quite hard to notice but will appear suddenly and spread.
Pesticides can eliminate mealybugs, but that’s not highly recommended for indoor plants. Rather, a safe alternative would be to use a cotton ball dipped in alcohol to clean the leaves individually. Doing this on the affected leaves for a few days will take care of the mealybugs for a long time.
Scale insects are tiny little dots that also appear on the leaves of the panda plant. They can be treated through insecticides.
If spider mites appear on the leaves, the entire plant can be hosed down with water to get rid of them. Alternatively, bug-killing sprays can be used but washing away the spider mites is a safer and better way to deal with the problem.
Common Problems with Panda Plants
A healthy Kalanchoe Tomentosa plant wouldn’t give you a lot of trouble, but if there’s some irregularity with watering, soil conditions, or sunlight, they might face a few problems.
The most common reason this could happen is if the soil hasn’t drained well and the plant has stayed in standing water for a long time. However, succulents like the Kalanchoe tomentosa don’t require a lot of water to live; Instead, too much stagnant water can kill off the plant.
Rotting of the plant’s root can be easily avoided. Depending on the climate, it’s unnecessary to water these plants more than once – or twice if the weather is too warm – every week. If the plant is kept somewhere where it might gather rainwater, remove it to someplace dryer.
Rotting roots can be cleaned by pulling the entire plant out of the pot and running it under water. When the roots are cleaned, the rotten parts should be removed from the rest of the plant before repotting them.
These plants can withstand a few weeks of not being watered, but if you completely forget about the plant, the leaves can begin to dry because of inadequate watering.
The dead and dried leaves need to be removed from the plant first, and a regular watering cycle should be maintained to prevent the problem from reoccurring.
Yellowing and Mushy
This also happens when the plants have been overwatered.
If this happens, the plant should be allowed to dry out completely at first and then watered only when the soil seems dry. Unless the leaves have been completely ruined, they will get better over time when a proper schedule has been maintained for a few weeks.
Black Spots on the Leaves
There are two reasons for black spots appearing on the panda plant’s leaves. It could either be because of overwatering or because of a bug infestation.
If changing your watering schedule doesn’t fix the problem, using some insecticides can get rid of the bug problem.
Best Uses of Kalanchoe Tomentosa Plants
These plants can be an excellent gift for someone who loves gardening but is entirely new to it. Children and beginners can take care of panda plants without the hassle and even solve the occasional problems these plants face.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. How do you care for a Kalanchoe tomentosa?
A. If you can arrange for high-quality potting soil and the perfect place to keep your plant, taking care of a Kalanchoe Tomentosa is extremely easy. This plant doesn’t require watering more than once or twice a week and can flourish perfectly with adequate sunlight inside the house.
Q. How much light does a panda plant need?
A. Panda plants need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight every day, preferably during mornings and afternoons. However, too much direct sunlight and brightness for too long can damage the plant.
Q. Can the panda plant grow indoors?
A. Although panda plants are native to Madagascar, where they can grow up to 2 feet tall in the wild, these plants grow quite well indoors. These days, many varieties of panda plants can be seen inside homes that aren’t more than a few inches high but are extremely attractive. Because of how unique these plants are and how little care they require, panda plants or Kalanchoe Tomentosa plants are ideal indoor plants.
Q. How often should I water Kalanchoe tomentosa?
A. Kalanchoe tomentosa plants shouldn’t be watered more than once or twice a week because overwatering can harm their roots. These plants should only be watered when the soil becomes dry and not before that.
Q. Are Kalanchoe Tomentosa plants toxic?
A. These plants aren’t harmful but can be considered quite toxic to pets and the young. This is because eating the leaves of the panda plant or putting the leaves in your mouth can be dangerous. So if pets and babies are in the house, these plants should be kept out of their reach.
Kalanchoe Tomentosa: Conclusion
Panda plants are great houseplants, easy to maintain, and something that will look gorgeous on your windowsills or shelves, tabletops, or worktables. It’s easy to care for panda plants if you just find the right spot to put them on and remember to water them sometimes. For someone new to gardening or young children, these are the perfect plants to start with.