Plant of the Month Archive: Kalanchoe Luciae "Paddle Plant"
PADDLE PLANT/ KALANCHOE LUCIAE
all about the paddle plant
September is actually often one of the hottest months here in San Diego, so I felt it was appropriate to highlight one of the succulent superstars for the hot full sun of these “dog days” of summer! Introducing September’s Plant of the Month – the Kalanchoe luciae, also called the Paddle Plant or Flapjack plant.
These sun-loving and color changing plants are native to Africa – South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Swaziland to be specific. They are typically a dusty green color with red margins, yet when exposed to full sun and high temperatures they take on deeper colors of red, orange and even yellow, with only a bit of green closer to the root area. These pretty clam shaped plants make wonderful additions to exterior landscapes and porches with full soon exposure, just be sure to acclimate them to the sun first, especially if just bringing home from a greenhouse nursery!
They can grow to be up to two feet tall and even taller when in bloom! The paddle plant is monocarpic – meaning the rosette in bloom will die after blooming. Typically, the main rosette will produce many baby plants prior to blooming, which will continue to grow even when the mother plant begins to decay.
caring for your kalanchoe luciae
These plants prefer bright sunlight to moderate shade. In full sun they will take on more reddish hues. They are not frost tolerant, so if you live in zones that regularly get below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s best to plant these in a pot that can be brought indoors during the colder months. In shade they will maintain more of a green color and will sometimes also stretch out or etoliate.
Water regularly when soil is dry, more in the spring and summer during plants growing months and when temperatures are hotter. You can reduce the watering during colder, wetter winter months. Like with all succulents, Paddle Plants are susceptible to overwatering and root rot, so best rule of thumb is “when in doubt, dry it out” – better to water less often than too often!
Thanks for reading and be sure to reach out with any questions or comments!
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RACHAEL COHEN is the creator & owner of INFINITE SUCCULENT, a plant art, styling and educational service in San Diego, Ca.
Through her art and styling, as well as her writings & workshops, Rachael connects and engages her clients with the natural world. Simultaneously, she helps them achieve the botanical atmosphere of their dreams!
Rachael’s book of succulent crafts - Infinite Succulent: Miniature Living Art to Keep or Share - will be released end of February 2019.