Kalanchoe Plant Varieties: Exotic Succulents from Madagascar

Key Takeaways

  • Some of the most unique-looking succulents, Kalanchoe plants are native to the island of Madagascar but can be bought everywhere – including your neighborhood florist or nursery.
  • The most popular Kalanchoe succulents include:
    • Kalanchoe Tomentosa (“Panda Plant”)
    • Kalanchoe Daigremontiana (“Mother of Thousands”)
    • Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana (“Flaming Katy”)
    • Kalanchoe Thyrsiflora (“Paddle Plant”)
    • Kalanchoe Beharensis (“Elephant Ear”)
  • Plant care for Kalanchoe succulents is relatively easy. Plant them in well-draining soil within a pot that has a drainage hole. Place them in an area with bright light. Lastly, water them when the soil is dry to the touch.

Succulents come in hundreds of varieties, and chief among them are succulents that are originally found in Madagascar: the family of Kalanchoe plants.

These plants are fantastic for propagation, grow wonderfully indoors (most of them) with beautiful blossoms, and are believed to induce a wide array of medicinal properties.

We’re going to outline a handful of the most common kalanchoe plants to grow.

Additionally, some care tips and whether eating Kalanchoe plants produces health benefits.

Popular Types of Kalanchoe Succulents

You might have already seen a Kalanchoe succulent without realizing it.

They are succulent plants that pop up in florist shops, nurseries, and garden centers absolutely everywhere.

These are native to the island of Madagascar, but thanks to propagation, they’ve been replanted and bred to the point that they’re just everywhere.

These are nearly maintenance-free plants that require a lower temperature than most and may either produce long green leaves or large blossoms depending on the breed of kalanchoe you choose to grow.

There’s a lot of variety, so let’s look at four of the most popular breeds of kalanchoe to get a feel for what we’re doing.

Before we go on, are you interested in other types of succulents? Take a look at our related post:

Kalanchoe Tomentosa “Panda Plant”

Kalanchoe TomentosaPin

The Kalanchoe Tomentosa (or Panda Plant) is a great plant that does well indoors.

It is a succulent that beginners usually buy.

With green, oval-shaped leaves that are filled to the brim with liquid membranes, you might see some similarities between this and a cactus (minus the spikes).

Brown spots form at the tip of Tomentosa leaves, which are perfectly natural and welcome.

These are fairly simple for propagation, though you have to be sure these leaves have a clean break when you pull them apart.

Another variation of the Kalanchoe Tomentosa apart from “Panda Plant” is the “Chocolate Soldier”.

For further reading on Kalanchoe Tomentosa plants, read more:

Kalanchoe Thyrsiflora “Paddle Plant”

Kalanchoe ThyrsifloraPin

If you’ve ever heard of the paddle plant, now you know it has a much more difficult-sounding name.

This unique type of kalanchoe appears to mimic cactus leaves and bok choy in appearance, though it remains soft and fuzzy to the touch.

These plants can get up to five feet tall, and are extremely fragrant throughout a couple of seasons, adding a pleasant aroma to your garden.

If you’re doing this indoors, your kitchen will smell glorious.

For further reading on Paddle plants (Flapjack plants), read more:

Kalanchoe Daigremontiana “Mother of Thousands”

Exotic SucculentPin

Kalanchoe daigremontiana is actually a dangerous, toxic steroid, but it’s not the only thing in this kalanchoe—there are actually five different types of bufadienolides, which are toxins.

That sounds scary, but these plants are harmless to grow in your home, so long as you aren’t eating them.

This type of kalanchoe is a child plant of bryophyllum, which is called the “Mother of Thousands” kalanchoe plant.

There are 30 types of bryophyllum type plants. Some of the more popular ones include:

While these enjoy lower temperatures and require very little water, their properties sometimes worry potential growers into not hosting them in their homes.

For further care tips, please read our post on how to care for Mother of Thousands plants.

Kalanchoe Beharensis “Elephant Ear”

Kalanchoe BeharensisPin

While this is a type of kalanchoe, most people seem to forget this.

It’s commonly seen as an evergreen shrub, with an extremely long stem in the center.

These look like long green leaves that fold in the center, just like an elephant’s ear, while still having slight brown spotting along the edges (which is completely normal).

Thanks to their defense system, these kalanchoes will appear spiky and rough as they age.

For further reading on Kalanchoe Beharensis “Elephant Ear” plants, read more:

Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana “Flaming Katy”

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana (Flaming Katy)Pin

Originating from the island of Madagascar, this succulent plant is popularly known by several names like Flaming Katy, Christmas Kalanchoe, Mother plant, and Florist Kalanchoe.

The Kalanchoe plant blooms in the early spring with bright pink flowers that are admired by people worldwide.

Unfortunately, the aesthetically pleasing flowers wilt pretty quickly. However, if these succulent plants are properly cared for, they’ll survive longer and thrive.

For more information on Flaming Katy plants, read more about them:

Is a Kalanchoe Plant Better Indoors or Outdoors?

Kalanchoe Indoor PlantPin

Technically, they can grow both indoors and outdoors.

Kalanchoes are versatile, but they have a specific area where they strive.

We know that kalanchoes can deal with moderate amounts of water, so we don’t want them to drown in a rainstorm outdoors.

It’s definitely much easier to care for indoors than it is outdoors.

Because most of these are perennials, and also incredibly low-maintenance for the majority of house plants.

If you’re having difficulty getting sunlight for your kalanchoes indoors, you can consider putting them outside for brief intervals of time.

Check the weather and make sure that you don’t end up overwatching your plant.

If you leave it out in the rain after watering it, you could end up with unintentional brown spots on your kalanchoe plants.

This is a common problem for aloe plants as well, which could require the culling of some of the leaves.

Try setting a timer to help give your plants an ample amount of sunlight, and so you don’t forget to bring them back inside afterward.

It helps to have a sunny spot near a window where your plants can sit during the day, although this isn’t always going to be easy depending on your home, how close your neighbors’ homes are, and things of that nature.

Can You Eat Kalanchoe Succulent Plants?

Kalanchoe plants can be eaten, but you’re not going to want to just pick a piece off your plant and eat it. 

While most kalanchoe plants do have cancer-fighting properties that can help your body, it has to be done the right way.

It should be done in a lab where the benefits of kalanchoe can be used and the negatives can be left out. 

For example, the Kalanchoe plant Blossfeldiana is poisonous to pets and livestock, but it can be eaten by humans because it isn’t considered poisonous for humans to eat. 

Still, there are volatile properties that need to be taken into account. Bottom line: You shouldn’t just grow your kalanchoe so you can eat the leaves because they’re good for you. 

Licensed professionals are the only ones who can do this job right.

The kalanchoe plant you grow at home isn’t likely to be used by them. That said, you can grow kalanchoe for your own pleasure – not medicinal use. 

Possible Health Benefits of Eating Kalanchoes

Kalanchoe plants have been studied for their medicinal uses. Some uses include:

  • Oral health protection
  • Urinary tract infection prevention
  • Treating muscle pain
  • Sunburn remedy
  • Wound pain management
  • Assists in inflammation for rheumatoid arthritis
  • Potentially fights cancer

For more information on whether you can eat Kalanchoe plants, read more:


Is a Kalanchoe plant indoor or outdoor?

Kalanchoe plants are best suited as a houseplant due to their sensitivity to cold weather. They grow best in temperatures ranging from 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, it’s best to keep them in areas with bright sunlight.

Does Kalanchoe like shade or sun?

Kalanchoe succulents grow best in areas where they can get full sun or bright indirect light. These plants need at least four hours of sunlight a day and are best placed in a south-facing window, although a west-facing window can also suffice.

Does a Kalanchoe come back every year?

Kalanchoe plants are considered perennials and come back every year in the right growing conditions. For example, when grown outside in USDA hardiness zones 8–10, they will not return because the temperatures will fall below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and these plants will not survive long. However, if you can keep them in warm temperatures all year, they will reappear year after year. If taken care of properly, a Kalanchoe plant can live for more than five years.


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