Table of Contents
- 1 What are Kalanchoe Tomentosa (Panda Plants)?
- 2 How to Care for Kalanchoe Tomentosa (Panda Plant)
- 3 Conclusion
- 4 Other Kalanchoe Succulent Plants to Consider
- 5 References
What are Kalanchoe Tomentosa (Panda Plants)?
Whether you’re a seasoned indoor gardener or a novice, pampering your plants is something you can’t neglect.
Caring for plants can get challenging, especially if you’re juggling work and family obligations.
Fortunately, several low-maintenance plants can save you time and effort; one example, from the Kalanchoe family of succulents, is called the Panda Plant.
Originally from the island of Madagascar, the Panda Plant (botanically known as the Kalanchoe Tomentosa) has other names like Donkey Ears, Chocolate Soldier, White Lady, Pussy Ears, and Cat Ears.
There is even a whitish-grey variety called the snow-white panda plant.
Thick, velvety leaves with fuzzy texture characterize the panda plant.
Because the panda plant is a succulent, they do not require much water.
Adults and children alike adore it, thanks to the fun chocolate brown spots at its edges.
Now let’s see how you can take care of your furry plant.
How to Care for Kalanchoe Tomentosa (Panda Plant)
Although the panda plant has leaves that look like little cute fuzzy cat ears, placing it within reach of children or pets can be risky since it’s mildly toxic.
Nevertheless, if kept in a safe place, it can complement your indoor or outdoor plant collection.
So, in addition to maintaining the Kalanchoe plants, you should learn where to place them in your home. Keep reading to learn more about this succulent plant.
Light and Temperature
Like many other succulent plants, Kalanchoe Tomentosa grows best in indirect bright light.
However, they prefer a blend of direct and indirect sunlight as well as shade.
As such, you can place them on a windowsill or a shelf near a window as it’ll cater to the plant’s needs and be safe for children simultaneously.
It’s best to keep the indoor panda plant at around room temperature.
More specifically, the recommended temperature range is 15-23°C (60-70°F).
Kalanchoe Tomentosa can withstand mild humidity, but exposing it to prolonged mugginess is not advised.
As mentioned earlier, Panda Plants are succulents; they have thick leaves ideal for storing water.
So, they do not require any water during winter.
However, in summers, the Kalanchoe Tomentosa should be watered only occasionally (once you notice that the soil has become completely dry).
Additionally, make sure that you only water the soil, not the fuzzy leaves; otherwise, they may rot.
Like most succulents, Panda Plants require porous well-draining soil.
Specific succulent soil drains the water quickly and protects the root of Kalanchoe Tomentosa from the after-effects of overwatering.
You can buy or make your own succulent potting mix to help the Panda Plant thrive.
Sandy potting soil is best as it drains well, ensuring there is no root rot.
If you are looking for succulent soil, we recommend this succulent soil. We use it ourselves because it drains very well and has some nutrients for the plant.
Even if you give the best Panda Plant care, they get deprived of the natural bright sunlight when grown indoors.
As a result, their growth might be affected.
However, to stimulate the growth of your Panda Plant, you can provide them with essential nutrients in the form of fertilizers.
So, when you create the potting mix, you can mix a portion of diluted fertilizer in it to boost the health and growth of your Kalanchoe Tomentosa.
Propagating Kalanchoe Tomentosa (Panda Plant)
As with most succulent propagation, you can also propagate Kalanchoe Tomentosa fairly easily.
Here’s what needs to be done.
Take the fine leaf cuttings or stem cuttings and let them dry. Once they’ve dried, plant them in the new potting soil.
However, make sure that you do that in the spring as it is ideal for their growth.
The growth cycle can take up to four weeks; therefore, you’d need to be patient.
If you want your indoor Panda Plant to remain short and grow thick fleshy leaves, pruning will do the job.
You can use plant scissors to trim the foliage and the stem.
Nevertheless, if you want to maintain the shape of your Kalanchoe Tomentosa, you’ll have to prune the plant often.
It will allow the new leaves to grow better and thicker.
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One typical challenge of growing the Panda Plant is that they require bright light to full sun year-round.
So, if you’re moving them outdoors (to expose them to enough sunlight), you might need to reposition them frequently.
Otherwise, its leaves will be damaged by the excessive heat of summer.
Additionally, over-watering can damage the plant. If you observe your indoor plant turning yellow, it’s a red flag.
However, doing two things can save the day:
- Propagating your Panda Plant
- Keeping it in a well-draining soil mix
The furry leaves and velvety look of your Panda Plant make it an excellent attraction for pests like mealybugs.
However, you can easily miss the signs of these pests because of two reasons:
- They reside at the corners of the Panda Plant.
- They blend into the fine hairs of Panda Plant leaves
Nevertheless, if you frequently scan the leaves of your Kalanchoe Tomentosa, you will notice their presence, and you can get rid of them early on.
While several pesticides are available on the market, I do not recommend any, as they may damage your plant.
So, you can best kill them by using rubbing alcohol.
To do that, simply dip a cotton ball in alcohol and rub it gently on the foliage.
Alternatively, you can use an insecticide spray that has Neem oil in it. This particular insecticide is great for killing spider mites. We’ve used it occasionally on our houseplants and never see pests come back.
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Is A Kalanchoe Plant Indoor Or Outdoor?
While the Kalanchoe Tomentosa Panda Plant is typically grown indoors, the Panda Plant can be placed outdoors too. However, when growing outdoors, you should steer clear of the cold weather. The Panda Plant should only be grown outdoors in a warm climate. So, whether growing it inside or outside, remember that they need bright light and dry periods between watering to develop roots and thrive.
Can Kalanchoe Tomentosa Take The Full Sun?
If you’ve planted your new Chocolate Soldier, they might sear at the surface in direct sunlight. Therefore, you should expose them to the full sun gradually. As they grow, they’d need 6+ hours of direct sunlight every day.
How Often Should I Water A Panda Plant?
Watering a Kalanchoe Tomentosa panda plant can be a little tricky, as more than the required amount will rot the plant, and its leaves will turn mushy and yellow. Just like any other succulent plant, the Panda plant needs less water. You should only water the Panda Plant when you observe that the soil has gone completely dry. Also, make sure that no water is left in the bottom tray.
To sum up, if you’re looking for an easy-to-keep yet attractive plant for your house, Kalanchoe Tomentosa might be the right choice.
If you’re keeping them indoors, make sure to expose them to enough sunlight, but keep them out of the hot afternoon sun.
On the other hand, if you’re planning to keep them outdoors, be wary that Panda plants are not cold weather plants and heavy winds can break their stems.
Lastly, remember that they need plenty of space for root growth. Hence, it’s best to keep them in spacious pots.
Other Kalanchoe Succulent Plants to Consider
There are many varieties of Kalanchoe plants. If you are looking for another type of Kalanchoe plant, check out our other related posts:
Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she studied at the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. She continued her gardening education by working on organic farms in both rural and urban settings. She started UrbanOrganicYield.com to share gardening tips and tactics. She’s happy to talk about succulents and houseplants or vegetables and herbs – or just about anything in a backyard garden or hydroponics garden.