Thirty Days in the Garden: Kalanchoe Thrysiflora

A couple of summers ago, I emptied one of the planting beds and filled it with succulents. I’m always looking for ways to save water. I’d never planted a Kalanchoe thrysiflora, so I didn’t know what to expect. I loved the saucer-sized leaves and the unusual growth pattern, so into the cart they went.

Succulents, July 2020

California just ended the second year of dry conditions. We’re not officially in a drought, but water rationing can’t be far off. I keep adapting. I used to buy annuals each summer and fill pots on the deck. I’ve now replanted all of my containers with succulents. They have the added benefit of growing slowly, so they don’t need translating for several years. That said, it’s time for several of my succulents to find a place to spread out. Pots can only take you so far.

Kalanchoe thrysiflora are informally called paddle plants or pancake plants. The leaves remind me of saucers, with slightly upturned edges and pretty trim.

I didn’t know that the plant would bolt after it flowered, so imagine my surprise when the Kalanchoe tripled in size. I had to stake the plant over the winter to keep it from toppling. The plants unique qualities are enchanting. I learned today that I can propagate more.

Gorgeous red and yellow leaves

Over the weekend I noticed tiny florets or offsets along the stem of the plants. These can be propagated as well according to gardening know-how, though I’ll need to read more on this technique. You can cut the leaves, allow them to scar, then plant. I’m not sure how to remove the offset, though I’m curious to try.

Flowers
Tiny offset on the mature plant

What do you think? Would you grow this unusual plant in your garden or a sunny window? I’m rather smitten.

17 thoughts on “Thirty Days in the Garden: Kalanchoe Thrysiflora

  1. It is a good looking plant. Is it one of those that sends out a tendril with the offset? If so, could you just snip it? I’m only the Head Gardener’s assistant, you understand. Could that be a Pauline light catcher in the header?

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  2. I have a similar one in the back yard, same sort of size and habit, but it’s all silver grey. I’m lucky to be able to leave it out there year round to flourish and grow enormous if it wants 🙂

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      • It’s looking exceptionally shaggy and untidy just now, waiting for its Autumn tidy up. Trouble is, I’m not physically able to do what I need to right now. We have plans, but they keep getting put off: chicken run, removing the unused orchid house, putting in a vegie garden…. It’s not a bad garden, it’s just someone else’s choices and ideas.

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        • I like what you’ve said here: “It’s not a bad garden, just someone else’s choices.” So true. You make a house a home when you add your own touches. I hope you’re feeling well enough to tackle the projects on your list, especially as you head into cooler temps. We get our outdoor projects done during the spring months. Otherwise it’s too hot.

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  3. Succulents seem like the perfect answer to your dry climate. Anything that takes less time and less water is always a win. We still plant annuals here because we normally get boat loads of rain all June and most of July. But who knows? Winter was dryer this year with not the usual snowfall. Last year, I don’t think we even watered our tiny patch of lawn at all, maybe once. I refrain from any new plants that require a hole to be planted. We haven’t anywhere to move the poor soil to. Your garden is looking so pretty xK

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    • During the drought years, succulents grew in popularity. You can find a decent variety of plants at the nicer nurseries. I’m learning more about them. My friend Issac has a huge, succulent garden. It’s gorgeous.

      I would plant annuals in droves if we got the rain that you do. I know you are OVER all that rain, but a least you can garden guilt-free.

      That’s an interesting dilemma about the extra soil. I often add last season’s container soil into our composter. It mixes with the leaves and kitchen scraps to make compost. The planter boxes always need topping up, so its a good system. Is there a place you could put a composter, or is that not feasible with your freezing winters?

      Your garden looks pretty and fresh and I know it’s right-sized for you after all those years at the lake. xo

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      • Being this near to the river, the kind of soil in our yard is pure clay. This community was actually built on an old Brickyard from the beginning of the last century. So it’s not something to put in a composter unfortunately. The city is incorporating Green bins with a black bin for trash. So, that might be a good spot for clay 🙂

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        • I’m glad to hear you’ll be gettting green and black bins for your trash and recycle. They’re so convenient. We’re not allowed to dump soil or sod here either. It clogs the works of the various machinery. I usually just dump extra soil behind a tree or shrub, spread it around, and it becomes one with the garden. 😉

          You may be surprised to know that San Jose is known for clay soil as well. I read a fascinating article explaining the different types of soil which I’ll pass on at the end of this comment.

          This is why I like to plant summer crops in raised beds. You can control the planting medium. I hope you are feeling well enough by May to spend a bit of time in your garden, planting your beautiful containers. You live in such a pretty neighborhood, with a lovely space for right-sized gardening.

          https://www.thedailygarden.us/garden-word-of-the-day/clay

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    • I’m always interested to read how some plants are grown as annuals in certain zones. If the price is reasonable and you like the plant, I say go for it. I wonder if you can take cuttings at the end of the seasons and start them indoors? It’s no wonder people in colder climates value a greenhouse. I know my dad always wished he had one in Canada. He always made the best of his summer garden though.

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  4. You captured that tiny offshoot so well. So neat!
    We used succulents as table decorations at the wedding and everyone got to take some home, and any leftovers were sent to an elementary school classroom.

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