- Mexican Hat Plant Care: How To Grow A Mexican Hat Plant
- What is a Mexican Hat Plant?
- How to Grow a Mexican Hat Plant
- Mexican Hat Coneflower Facts
- ** SIDE NOTE: –> Read here to learn why we say NO TO RAISED BED GARDENS. **
- Mexican Hat Facts / Reference Table
- What Is A Mother Of Thousands Plant?
- Mother Of Thousands Light Needs
- Mother Of Thousands Temperature Needs
- What’s The Best Pot For Growth And Drainage?
- What Soil Is Best For Mother Of Thousands?
- Mother Of Thousands Watering
- Mother Of Thousands Pruning
- Mother Of Thousands Propagation
- When and How Should You Repot?
- Does Mother Of Thousands Flower?
- Growing Mother of Thousands in a Terrarium
- Is The Mother Of Thousands Plant Poisonous?
- Should I Pinch Off Dead Leaves?
- Should I Fertilize My Mother Of Thousands?
- Why Are My Mother Of Thousands Leaves Curling?
- Kalanchoe daigremontiana
- Maternity Plant, or Mother of Thousands
- See more about Kalanchoe daigremontiana here…
- How To Care For Mother Of Thousands Kalanchoe
- How the Mother of Thousands Grow?
- Caring for Mother of Thousands
- How to Propagate Mother of Thousands
- Growing Mother of Thousands: Caring For A Mother Of Thousands Plant
- Mother of Thousands Plant Info
- Caring for a Mother of Thousands
- Plants & Flowers
- Mother of Thousands, Alligator Plant, or Mexican Hat Plant
Mexican Hat Plant Care: How To Grow A Mexican Hat Plant
The Mexican hat plant (Ratibida columnifera) gets its name from its distinctive shape – a tall cone surrounded by drooping petals that looks something like a sombrero. Mexican hat plant care is very easy, and the payoff is high, as long as you’re careful about spreading. Keep reading to learn more about how to grow a Mexican hat plant.
What is a Mexican Hat Plant?
Also called the prairie coneflower and thimble-flower, the Mexican hat plant is native to the prairies of the American Midwest, but it has spread throughout and can be grown in most of North America.
Its characteristic shape is made up of a tall, leafless stalk that can reach 1.5-3 feet (.5-1
m.) in height, ending in a single flower head of a reddish brown to black spiky cone rising above 3-7 drooping red, yellow, or red and yellow petals.
Most cultivars are perennials, though a particularly harsh winter will kill it off. Its foliage – deeply cleft leaves near the base – has a strong odor that works as a fantastic deer repellent.
How to Grow a Mexican Hat Plant
The Mexican hat plant is a hardy wildflower and very easy to grow. In fact, the most likely problem is that it will crowd out weaker plants nearby. Plant it by itself or mingled with other strong, tall perennials that can stand up to it.
Mexican hat plant care is minimal. It will grow in virtually any well-drained soil in full sun and is very drought tolerant, though regular watering during very dry periods will produce better flowers.
You can grow Mexican hat plant from seed, though you may not see flowers until the second year. Spread the seed in autumn, lightly raking the soil to ensure a good mixture.
If this sounds like something you’d like to try, use this Mexican hat plant information and grow some of your own for enjoyment year after year.
Mexican Hat Coneflower Facts
Mexican Hat (also known as upright prairie coneflower, long-headed coneflower, and Mexican Hat Flower) is an interesting native perennial that has unique blooms. The flower has somewhat resemble sombreros (hence the common name!). Mexican Hat (Ratibida columnifera) is part of the prairie coneflower group, and in the aster family.
This native plant thrives in full sun and well drained soil. I grow mine in rocky clay, and they love it! They don’t get too big, as mine never exceed 2’ and bloom in late May or Early June, and bloom well into July. These flowers are loved by bees. They produce tons of blooms providing a valuable nectar source. This plant produces a taproot, and is thus quite drought tolerant.
Allegedly, the origin of the common name “Mexican Hat Flower” comes from the slight resemblance this flower has to a traditional Sombrero. I can see why someone would come up with this name, particularly for the variety that is more yellow than red.
The petal colors can range from mostly yellow to all red. The plants I’ve grown have always been full of blooms, and keep their foliage all summer into fall. Ratibida columnifera has a well earned reputation for being a tough, hardy perennial. Mexican Hat can naturalize an area, so could be useful for helping stabilizing banks, etc. It does tolerate competition, and can make a good border. But will naturalize easily. I’ll give you updates to mine, as I had 5 mature plants last year.
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Growing Mexican Hat from seed
This is an easy plant to grow from seed. Winter sow them in February or early enough to give them 30 days of cold moist stratification. Then, just plant them on the surface, or barely covered by 1/8″ soil (3 mm). I’ve always had a very high germination rate from these plants. So, you won’t need many seeds. I start them in six-cell pots that are 3″ deep, then transplant into 4” pots after a few weeks. Then, transplant into the garden when they are about 4” tall.
Mexican Hat Seedlings. You can see the final leaf structure already forming.
Sun sun sun! These plants love the sun and can be a great addition if you have a drier area. They don’t require much watering, but as always – if you see the edges of leaves turning brown and crispy, then give them a drink. They may need division after several years, but overall they are full, easy to grow plants. Just try to make sure they are in well drained soil, as this plant can succumb to root rot.
I’ve had them flop over after a while, as the stems can get a bit top heavy. But, I’ve found this to be something that happens to individual stems. Overall, this is a very easy plant to grow, and gives long blooms.
** SIDE NOTE: –> Read here to learn why we say NO TO RAISED BED GARDENS. **
Mexican Hat is a good ornamental wildflower, but you need to have more than one. A single specimen won’t ‘pop’ with color as much as a small cluster. I personally have 5 (as of now) grouped, and use them as a border between some taller flowers and smaller plants (winecups). They can also be used to reestablish or naturalize an area, with the large amount of seed they produce and the ease of germination.
Does Mexican Hat make a good cut flower?
Absolutely. This flower has produced so many blooms for me that it always finds it way into bouquets. The blooms tend to last quite a long time in a vase. And the best part – when it is time to compost the flowers, you can be assured that the plants have produced tons of new blooms for a new bouquet!
Is Mexican Hat Edible?
Native Americans used this plant in a variety of ways. A tea would be made form the leaves and flower heads and used for treating various ailments like cough, fever, nausea. But, I would suggest you go to a pharmacy to treat any ailments you have, as I’m not aware of any truly ‘accepted’ medicinal properties of this plant.
Additionally, Native Americans could also produce a yellow or red dye from the boiled flower petals.
Harvesting Mexican Hat Coneflower Seed
You can get 100+ seeds from a single seed head. Very easy to harvest!
Harvesting Mexican Hat Coneflower seed (Link is to a video) is one of the easiest – maybe even an easier seed to harvest than Blue Vervain! Several weeks after the blooms have dried, clip off several seed heads. Then just roll them in your fingers and voila! You have several hundred chaff-free seeds! Store them in a cool dry place, in envelopes or bags until next year when you are ready to plant. Please have a look at our detailed guide to saving/storing your own flower seeds. There are a lot of great tips in there.
Bees love this plant. It is the main visitor I see when I go to admire them in our wildflower garden. As far as pests go, I don’t think I’ve ever noticed rabbit damage on any of my Mexican Hat Coneflowers. This is significant, as I have them very close to other plants that the rabbits love, such as Winecups and Echinacea Purpurea.
Mexican Hat Facts / Reference Table
|Common Name||Mexican Hat, Mexican Hat Coneflower, Long-headed coneflower|
|Bloom Time||Late Spring – Summer|
|Bloom Duration||Long, 6 weeks +|
|Bloom Size||2-3” (5-7 cm)|
|Characteristics||Individual spikes surrounded at the base by yellow/red petals|
|Spacing/Spread||1′-2’ (32-65 cm)|
|Light Requirements||Full Sun|
|Soil Types||Anything well drained|
|Moisture||Dry to Medium|
|Maintenance||Minimal. Plants may lean over if too tall|
|Typical Use||Flower beds, border gardens, meadows|
|Fauna Associations||Bees frequent this flower. Also the following caterpillars; Sunflower Moth, Blackberry Looper Moth, Wavy-Lined Emerald – and a few more not listed.|
|Stratification||30 days cold / moist stratification will significantly improve germination rate|
|Native Range||The original native range is from the Eastern Rocky Mountains in Canada, to the great lakes – then South to Texas-Arizona. Although it has been established in just about the whole continental USA except for Oregon/Washington.|
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NATIVE PLANT FACT SHEETS
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Mother of Thousands (bryophyllum daigremontianum) is a beautiful and interesting house plant, and one of my favorites. If you have one of these plants in your home, you’ll want to know how to care for it, so it thrives for years to come.
In this guide I’ll cover everything you need to know about caring for your Mother of Thousands. But first, a quick summary of mother of thousands plant care.
How to care for mother of thousands: Mother of Thousands should be planted in a well draining potting mix, watered infrequently but thoroughly, and kept in bright, indirect sunlight with low humidity at 65 to 75° F. The tiny plantlets that grow along the edges of the leaves will need to be managed as they try to take root wherever they happen to land.
What Is A Mother Of Thousands Plant?
Mother of Thousands is known by numerous other names – Mexican Hat Plant, Alligator Plant, and Devil’s Backbone. A native of Madagascar, the plant is a succulent that grows up from one stem. The large blue-green leaves are pointed and narrow and grow up to 6-inches long and 3-inches wide. The plant itself can grow as tall as 18 to 35-inches if you let it.
The most unique part of this plant is the tiny plantlets that grow along the edges of the leaves. These little plantlets will drop easily from the main plant, trying to take root wherever they land and find soil appropriate for growth.
For this reason, many gardeners think of the Mother of Thousands as a bit of a problem plant, with the little plantlets doing their best to grow and multiply in all types of soil alongside other plants.
You can easily see how the plant got its most common name – it’s the mother to thousands of other plants! When you’re growing Mother of Thousands indoors, you won’t have to worry too much about it propagating, although you may find that the little plantlets drop into any nearby plant pots where they can take root.
Mother Of Thousands Light Needs
Your Mother of Thousands needs plenty of light. In the hotter months, place the plant in indirect sunlight, otherwise its delicate leaves can easily be sunburned. In the cooler months from fall until early spring, when the sun isn’t as hot, you can place the plant in direct sunlight, so it gets enough light each day.
If you have an east facing window, your Mother of Thousands will thrive there. They love the direct sun in the morning, when even in the summer the sun isn’t yet that hot. North facing windows are often a poor choice of the Mother of Thousands – there won’t be enough hours of light for the plant when facing in this direction, even in summer months.
Keep in mind that from early June until late September, south and west facing windows will provide too much heat for your Mother of Thousands – consider finding another location for the plant in your home during the summer months.
You’ll know when your Mother of Thousands is getting just the right amount of light – the leaves will be a vivid green and have a beautiful outline of red to them.
When the plant isn’t getting enough light, it can become spindly and tall, shooting up in height. There will be large spaces between the leaves, making the plant look a little sparse and worse for wear.
Mother Of Thousands Temperature Needs
If possible, Mother of Thousands does best in temperatures of 65 to 75° Fahrenheit (16 to 24° Celsius). During the colder months, when you’re heating your home, keep the plant away from direct heat. Not only can the direct heat damage the leaves, it can dry the plant out too fast.
What’s The Best Pot For Growth And Drainage?
The roots of your Mother of Thousands are quite delicate and do best when air can circulate around them. The best choice is a terracotta pot that has holes at the bottom so that any excess water can easily drain out. You can improve the drainage system even more by putting some pebbles or a few small stones at the bottom of the pot.
Place the pot into a tray so the excess water can drain out – then make sure to empty the tray when water starts to collect.The plant doesn’t do well in soggy or damp conditions. If you let the Mother of Thousands stand in water, the roots may start to rot, causing damage to the plant.
Your Mother of Thousands likes to be planted in small pots. The larger the pot is, the bigger the leaves will grow and the taller the plant will get to be. For bushier plants, stick to planting each Mother of Thousands in a smaller pot, changing size as the plant gets bigger.
These plants aren’t always good at sharing space in pots with other plants – their little plantlets can quickly take over. Even if there’s enough room in the pot, avoid planting Mother of Thousands with a buddy plant. Otherwise you may find the Mother of Thousands taking over and the buddy plant isn’t able to thrive.
What Soil Is Best For Mother Of Thousands?
The Mother of Thousands does best in sandy soil that drains well. A potting mix designed for cacti is a good choice. If you don’t have a sandy potting soil, you can make your own. Just add some course sand to regular potting soil.
There are a few other things you can add to the soil so that it drains well:
- Perlite – Perlite is crushed volcanic glass that is added to potting soil to keep it light and loose.
- Pumice – Pumice rock helps to aerate the soil and keep it loose, so water drains well.
- Vermiculite – Made from mica, vermiculite helps to retain some moisture in the soil while still allowing for good aeration.
Avoid using soil that has a mix of peat moss, humus, or loam. With any of these in the potting mix the soil will take too long to dry out, keeping too much moisture in the pot.
Mother Of Thousands Watering
Water the soil of your Mother of Thousands thoroughly. Before watering again let the plant dry out so that the top 2-inches of soil are completely dry.
When watering, always use water that is room temperature. The roots of the plant are extremely sensitive to temperature. Using water that is too cold or too hot can “shock” the roots and cause damage.
Another tip for watering your Mother of Thousands: water the soil only and avoid getting water on the leaves. The leaves of the plant are prone to rot when they get wet.
During the colder winter months, you can water the Mother of Thousands less frequently, providing just enough water so that the soil stays moist without becoming saturated. Don’t let the plant dry out completely, otherwise you may dry it out to the point where it can’t be rejuvenated!
Mother Of Thousands Pruning
Like any other house plants, your Mother of Thousands may need to be trimmed back now and then. If the plant starts to be wiry and spindly, pinch off the top of the plant directly above a large leaf. This will prompt the plant to start growing leaves further down on the stem.
Mother Of Thousands Propagation
With all the little plantlets, your Mother of Thousands is an easy houseplant to propagate. The first thing to do is pick two or three of the plantlets from one of the leaves. If you’re not going to plant them right away, place the plantlets into a plastic bag or seal in plastic wrap. You want to keep them moist until you’re ready to use them.
Take a small terracotta pot and add cactus soil. Don’t worry about finding a deep or big pot – the roots of the plantlets will take some time to grow big enough for a large pot.
Put the plantlets directly onto the soil, making sure they’re at least a ½-inch apart. Spray the soil and the plantlets with water so they’re moist without being saturated. Then cover the pot with plastic wrap so that you’re creating your own little greenhouse.
Place the pot where it gets a lot of sun – then continue to keep the soil and plantlets moist, being careful not to overwater. If you give them too much water, they have a tendency to rot, making them unusable. Mother of Thousands doesn’t like a lot of humidity – this goes for the plantlets as well.
Keep an eye on the plantlets, watching as they start to grow. Adjust the plastic wrap so that it doesn’t crush the plants. You can place a toothpick in the soil and tent over the plastic wrap.
When they’re about an inch tall you can remove the plastic wrap, keeping them in the sun as they continue to grow. If you have a really green thumb, some of these new plants may flower for you, bursting with little pink/purple flowers.
When the plants are big enough you can separate them and plant them in their own pot. Keep in mind that the roots of these new plants are very tender and can be easily damaged. Make a wide cut into the soil when transplanting them to avoid making any cuts into the roots.
When and How Should You Repot?
When your Mother of Thousands becomes too big for the pot it’s in, you can repot to a bigger size. You’ll easily be able to tell if the plant needs more room to grow. The roots will become pot bound or they’ll start to grow out through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.
Plants that are too big for the pot they’re in will also start to dry out faster, even in cooler temperatures. Still another sign that your Mother of Thousands has outgrown the pot is if the leaves and stem have stopped growing or slowed down considerably.
Wait until the spring before transplanting to the larger pot. Spring is the ideal time – the increased daylight hours and the warmer temperatures will fuel the growth of the repotted roots.
Choose a new pot that’s the next size up from the one the plant is currently in. A good rule of thumb is to choose a pot that has a height and diameter about 2-inches more than the current pot.
Make sure the new pot also has sufficient drainage holes. Your Mother of Thousands will eventually grow into any pot size, but in the meantime, it will look unbalanced in pots that are too big.
When you’re ready to repot, fill the new pot one-third full of soil. Use cactus potting soil, or make your own mix of sandy soil, as I mentioned earlier. Tamp down the soil so that it settles a bit. Take your Mother of Thousands and put your palm down on the soil, spreading your fingers around the stem of the plant. Then turn the pot upside down, gently squeezing the sides of the pot so that it’s loosened from the roots. Carefully slide the plant out of the pot.
Remove any roots that are broken or that look dead. Also, trim back any roots that look mushy and rotted. Be very careful when handling the tender roots so you don’t break any of the healthy ones. If there are any long roots, you may have to trim them back, so they’ll fit into the new pot.
Carefully place your Mother of Thousands into the middle of the new pot, positioning the top of the roots about 1-inch below the top of the pot. Add about 2 to 3-inches of soil. Tamp down the soil to compact it a bit. Don’t fill the pot with too much soil.
Water slowly with room temperature water, giving the soil time to absorb the water. Water a couple more times to make sure the soil is evenly moist. Let the excess water drain out of the bottom of the pot. And you’re done! Your Mother of Thousands will be happy to have more room to grow and thrive.
Does Mother Of Thousands Flower?
When grown indoors as a house plant, the Mother of Thousands rarely flowers. When grown outside and kept in the garden, Mother of Thousands will flower if the conditions are right. The flowers are pink and tubular in shape, hanging gently over the main stalk of the plant.
They only bloom on plants that are mature and then only in the late fall and early winter if the temperature isn’t too cold. After blooming the plant dies, leaving behind its many plantlets to start sprouting in its place.
Growing Mother of Thousands in a Terrarium
Terrariums are very popular – they’re a great way to grow and display cacti and succulents. Mother of Thousands is a good plant choice for terrariums. As a succulent that prefers lots of indirect sunlight, Mother of Thousands can be grown very successfully in a terrarium or glass container.
However, it’s important to remember that this plant may be quite invasive when grown with other plants in the terrarium – when the small plantlets fall and take root, they can quickly take over.
You can control this by removing the plantlets from the terrarium before they root. This leaves only the main Mother of Thousands plant, which can look quite lovely in a glass container with its interesting leaves.
Is The Mother Of Thousands Plant Poisonous?
Mother of Thousands is a poisonous plant. The leaves, stem, and tiny plantlets are all toxic and could be fatal to small children and pets. If you have children and pets, be sure to keep the plant well out of reach.
Should I Pinch Off Dead Leaves?
The plant will typically prune itself if there’s damage to a leaf or if it becomes too dry. Go ahead and pinch off any dead and damaged leaves. Your plant will look healthier when these dead leaves are removed.
Should I Fertilize My Mother Of Thousands?
Fertilize the plant every three months, but only from March to September. During the fall and winter Mother of Thousands won’t grow as much so no fertilizer is necessary. Use a well balanced liquid fertilizer that’s been diluted by half.
Why Are My Mother Of Thousands Leaves Curling?
There are two reasons the leaves on your plant may be curling: 1) you’re overwatering, or 2) it’s not getting enough sunlight. Try giving it a bit less water and move it to a location in your home where it will get more hours of sunlight each day.
Maternity Plant, or Mother of Thousands
Most people find this plant fascinating – it’s not often that you get to see a plant producing its young right on the edge of its leaves. Kalanchoe daigremontiana, the Maternity plant, or Mother of Thousands (or millions) is one of the few that do this.
It’s known as vivaparous, or live bearing, and the tiny plants are exact duplicates of the adult plant, but much smaller.
Once the baby plants reach a certain size and have a few sets of leaves, they will also have some roots waving around in the air.
This is right about the time that they drop to the ground to root into the mother plants pot, or any adjacent planters. They can also live without any soil at all, or in a crack in concrete.
Many people have this plant, but few know its name, or some of its other characteristics.
The leaves are opposed, meaning that it grows two leaves opposite to each other, and they are spear shaped, mottled or spotted with a dark maroon or purple on the back, and sometimes also seem to have a powdery substance called ‘bloom’ all over the leaves and stems.
This picture shows how the new plants emerge from the edges of the leaves.
There are several forms of this plant, with several variations. Some of these differences are genetic, others are the result of differences in growing conditions.
In places like Florida, or in its native Madagascar, it’s considered a noxious weed, and if it escapes from captivity, will proliferate by dropping the little plants all over the place.
It can grow anywhere, in any conditions, especially if it’s warm and humid. This is a plant that will most likely survive long after civilization ends.
Please keep it in check if you garden in a warm climate.
Frost will kill it, so in the Northern Hemisphere you might be safe from it’s urge for world domination.
Besides the weird characteristics of the foliage, it has the most amazing flowers.
These are generally in shades of pink and orange, arranged in a whorl of many down facing trumpets on a tall spindly stem.
There is nothing in in the plant that would indicate that it could possibly have flowers like this, so it’s always a surprise.
Other things to keep in mind are that it is poisonous.
Many cats especially seem to find it hard to resist.
Is it the dangly little plants that entice them to chew on it? Or some other mysterious attractant that only cats know about?
Keep it away from small pets and children.
Find out more about other Poisonous Succulent Plants here, and more on what plants are safe for cats.
See more about Kalanchoe daigremontiana here…
Check out the pictures and information from other visitors…
has thin flat leaves end close to stem curls up
has thin flat leaves end close to stem curls up, has little ones that form off end of leaf.
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Hi, I was given several “plantlets”, tiny plants growing out of the edges of some leaves in a large succulent (I think) plant. The mother was about …
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Mother of Millions
green leaves – bumps on edges – no flowers Hi Jean, this is one plant that seems to absolutely fascinate everyone who sees it, and I get asked about …
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Spotted leaves with tiny baby plants
My husband knows that I adore growing and caring for plants so, after a rough day, he bought me a “cactus” from Kroger because there was not other living …
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Succulent Plant Identification
Kalanchoe daigremontiana Raym.-Hamet & H. Perrier
Mother of Thousands, Mexican Hat Plant, Alligator Plant, Devil’s Backbone
Bryophyllum daigremontianum, Kalanchoe daigremontianum
Kalanchoe daigremontiana, also known as Bryophyllum daigremontianum, is a short-lived monocarpic succulent, up to 3 feet (1 m) tall, with simple, erect or decumbent, brownish stems. The leaves are very variable in size, color, and shape. They are on up to 2 inches (5 cm) long petioles, dark green, pink-green to purplish-green with brown-red spots, up to 8 inches (20 cm) long and up to 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) wide, with numerous bulbils on the teeth. It has an umbrella-like terminal inflorescence of grayish pink (or sometimes reddish to purple), bell-shaped, up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long flowers. Indoor plants begin flowering in early winter.
Photo via limundo.com
USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
This succulent loves to receive a good dose of direct morning sun. It can take any amount of humidity but the one thing it cannot take is soggy soil. To prevent this, only plant Mother of Thousands in a soil mix for succulents or create your own. Also, only plant this succulent in a terracotta pot that has a drainage hole. This will reduce the chances of overwatering. As far as watering this plant goes, water until moisture comes out the bottom of the pot and then do not water until the first 2 inches (5 cm) of soil is dry.
In the spring, begin to take your plant outside to harden off. This succulent loves the warm weather of summer but not gradually exposing your plant to the outdoors will cause scorching of the leaves.
Before the first frost of the year, bring your Mother of Thousands indoors but do this gradually. A drastic move from the outside in will cause plant stress.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for a Mother of Thousands (Kalanchoe daigremontiana).
Kalanchoe daigremontiana is native to the Fiherenana River valley and Androhibolava mountains in southwest Madagascar.
Subspecies, Varieties, Forms, Cultivars and Hybrids
- Kalanchoe x houghtonii
- Kalanchoe ‘Pink Butterflies’
- Back to genus Kalanchoe
- Succulentopedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus
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How To Care For Mother Of Thousands Kalanchoe
Native to Madagascar, the Mother of Thousands plant is an amazing foliage plant. Also known as Kalanchoe daigremontiana, this plant rarely blooms when kept indoors. However, small plantlets develop on the tips of leaves, which make this plant exceptionally mesmerizing.
Not to mention, the common name, ‘Mother of Thousands,’ comes from the exceptionally attractive baby plantlets that grow along the edge of its large leaves. This incredibly unusual plant is also known as Mexican Hat Plant, Alligator Plant, and Devil’s Backbone.
Furthermore, this might surprise you more that these plantlets make propagation easier. However, Kalanchoe is also an invasive species in the world. Due to this reason, gardeners consider using containers the best way to grow Mother of Thousands.
You will be amazed to know that the Mother of Thousands is one of the most drought-tolerant plants to grow. Therefore, if you’re a gardening novice, Mother of Thousands is a perfect beginner’s plant for you. Moreover, if you grow Kanachoe outdoors in 9b to 11b USDA plant hardiness zones, i.e. 25-50 degrees Fahrenheit, it will produce small yet grayish pink flowers in winters.
How the Mother of Thousands Grow?
Well, this succulent can grow from just a single stem, especially the matured one. Identifying it is simple. Matured stems feature large and blue, green leaves with pointed tips.
Besides the beautiful flower of the Mother of Thousands, the real beauty of this succulent are the baby plantlets. Interestingly, these baby leaves fall from the succulent and root where they fall. When kept outdoors, you will see them bloom in the late winter. But when the mother plant dies after that, however, it leaves behind plenty of its offspring to grow later.
Kalanchoe Mother of Thousands |
Caring for Mother of Thousands
When it comes to growing conditions, kalanchoe thrives in average room conditions, in moist yet not soggy soil. The succulent will grow best when potted in a terracotta pot with a good drainage system. Not to mention, the terracotta pot is similar to the pot in which you grow cacti.
Keep in mind that you should only transplant the point when it outgrows the current pot. Also, make sure to repot the plant in spring. Moreover, it’s important to remember that kalanchoe thrives in bright light. Therefore, keep your succulent in a place with exposure to sufficient sunlight.
Also, you will need to water the plant thoroughly. However, before you water the plant again, check if the top two inches of soil is dry.
How to Propagate Mother of Thousands
There is no doubt that despite its invasive nature, Mother of Thousands has a highly interesting reproductive system, which eventually makes it easy to propagate.
So, if you’re thinking to propagate your grown Kalanchoe, make sure it is mature enough. You will need to see if the plant started producing baby plantlets.
Mexican Hat Plant |
Pluck one or two plantlets and store them into a plastic bag, which will help keep them moist. Remember that if the stored plantlets dry up, they’ll die.
Next, prepare a pot for them and plant these plantlets gently on the soil. Do not push plantlets inside the soil and keep them 1 cm apart. Also, you need to plant them on the surface.
The next thing you need to do is cover your baby plantlets pot with plastic, use cling film. Moreover, keep the plant moist and place the pot in a sunny area.
Once done, wait for baby plantlets to grow taller. However, when you notice that plantlets are somewhat taller, remove the plastic cover so that your plant can bask in the sun.
Although chances are slim, you will see purple-pink flowers sprouting if you provide the right growing conditions. When your succulent grows too big, move it to a bigger pot.
Note that you will need to be careful when transplanting Mother of Thousands, as their roots are fragile and vulnerable to damage. To prevent this, dig deep around the base to avoid causing harm to the roots.
Now that you are aware of the ideal growing conditions of the plant, take good care of your lovely succulent. Considering that, you will agree that propagating Mother of Thousands is super easy.
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Growing Mother of Thousands: Caring For A Mother Of Thousands Plant
Growing mother of thousands (Kalanchoe daigremontiana) provides an attractive foliage houseplant. Though rarely blooming when kept indoors, the flowers of this plant are insignificant, with the most interesting feature being the baby plantlets continually appearing on the tips of the large leaves.
When growing mother of thousands as an outdoor plant in USDA hardiness zones 9 -11, it may bloom with small, grayish lavender flowers in late winter. The mother plant then dies, but is replaced by tiny plantlets thatcan drop and cause the plant to be considered invasive. For this reason, most gardeners find growing mother of thousands works best in a container.
Mother of Thousands Plant Info
Mother of thousands is of the Crassulaceae family and is related to jade plant and Flaming Katy (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana). It is often confused with the chandelier plant (Kalanchoe delagoensis) but shares similar growing conditions and traits.
According to mother of thousands plant info, Kalanchoe daigremontiana has lost the ability to produce seeds and only reproduces from plantlets. As it is an abundant producer, it can quickly get out of hand when dropping these baby plantlets.
While this provides numerous plants for the propagating gardener, those uninterested in the addition of more plants may find caring for mother of thousands a bit tedious. Don’t worry about disposing of the plantlets though, because more are sure to appear on the healthy, still growing mother of thousands.
This succulent plant can resist drought, though performance is better when regularly watered. Like its relatives, Kalanchoe daigremontiana, does not need frequent fertilization. If you wish to feed when experimenting with how to grow Kalanchoe plants, do so only once every few months.
Caring for a Mother of Thousands
This plant does need good drainage and is best potted in a commercial cactus soil mix. If using standard potting soil, sand can be added for sharper drainage.
When learning how to grow Kalanchoe indoors, locate the plant in bright, but indirect light for several hours per day. When growing Kalanchoe outdoors, avoid direct afternoon sun. Houseplants will benefit from spending the summer outside; just make sure to introduce them to the outside atmosphere gradually and begin their outdoor stay with limited morning sun. Too much direct sunlight may cause leaves to become sunburned. Remember to move the plant back inside before outdoor temperatures drop to the 40 degree F. range. (4 C.).
You’ll find that growing mother of thousands is simple and mostly carefree – a worthwhile gardening experience with limited care to keep it under control.
Plants & Flowers
Common name: Mother of Thousands, Alligator Plant, Mexican Hat Plant, Devil’s Backbone
Synonymous: Kalanchoe daigremontiana
Distribution and habitat: Bryophyllum daigremontianum is a succulent perennial plant native to the Fiherenana River valley and Androhibolava mountains in southwest Madagascar. It has been introduced to numerous tropical and subtropical regions, such as Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, parts of the Canary Islands and Australia. Like other members of the genus Bryophyllum, it is able to propagate vegetatively from plantlets (epiphyllous buds) that develop on the leaf edges. The plantlets that grow on the edges of each leaf fall easily and root wherever they land.
It is commonly found growing on gravelly and sandy soils. This succulent plant is a weed of bushland and disturbed sites such as roadsides, along fence lines, around rubbish tips and abandoned rural dwellings. It also occurs frequently along creeks and rivers where it is spread by floodwaters.
Description: Bryophyllum daigremontianum grows from a single unbranched stem 45-90cm (18-35 inch) tall, which carries opposite pairs of fleshy, shiny, lance-shaped leaves that are 10-25cm (4-10 inch) long. The leaves grow at an 8° angle to the stem and are bluish green with purple blotched undersides. The saw-toothed leaf edges curl slightly inward. The tiny plantlets that form in the gaps between the teeth often have tiny aerial roots attached. One leaf can carry as many as 50 such plantlets in a single season. Pink flowers, which bloom only on mature plant, are roughly tubular, 2cm (0.8 inch) long and pendent. They are carried in rather flat clusters at the top of 30cm (12 inch) tall stalks in late autumn and early winter. The plant dies after blooming. Flowering is, however, not an annual event and will occur sporadically if at all. Particularly in climates with distinct seasonal temperature differences, flowering is most frequently observed at the beginning of a warm season.
Bryophyllum daigremontianum take a year or two to mature.
Houseplant care: Bryophyllum daigremontianum requires minimal care and can tolerate dry conditions and high temperatures. It is an unusual, fast growing succulent.
Light: These plants like bright light; do not subject them to direct sunlight.
Temperature: Bryophyllum daigremontianum thrive in normal room temperature.
Watering: During the active growth period water moderately, but allow the top centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. In the rest period water sparingly.
Feeding: Apply standard liquid fertiliser once a month during the active growth period.
Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Move small plants into pots one size larger every spring. A Bryophyllum daigremontianum big enough to need 15cm (6 inch) pot is usually unshapely and best discarded.
Gardening: Bryophyllum daigremontianum is not frost-hardy and typically dies if subjected to temperatures below freezing. Within its hardiness zone, Bryophyllum daigremontianum have the potential to escape from cultivation and spread into natural environments becoming a problematic weed. Therefore, precaution have to be taken when grow these plants in garden.
Newly transplanted Bryophyllum daigremontianum have the tendency to wilt. It is recommended to stake the taller ones to keep them growing straight until their roots are reestablished; these plants can be also planted deeper than the original root to give more support and promote more root growth. They will soon resume their growth.
Position: Plant Bryophyllum daigremontianum in full sun or partial shade. Leaves will develop a pinkish-red colour with lots of light, or will stay a greener coluor under less bright conditions.
It is very heat resistant, if planted in shade.
Soil: Bryophyllum daigremontianum thrive in well draining, sandy soil. The plants establish well in leaf litter or other debris on shallow soils.
Space the plants 15-25cm (6–10 inch) apart to make room for the leaves to display their plantlets.
To promote new plants, do not mulch the ground around Bryophyllum daigremontianum. The plantlets which loosen from the plant will grow much better if allowed to fall directly onto soil rather than onto mulch.
Irrigation: Water well when plant the Bryophyllum daigremontianum. After that these plants can be neglected or if watered, do so no more than once or twice a week. These succulent plants are adapted to dry conditions and can survive long periods of drought.
Fertilising: Use a water soluble fertiliser on Bryophyllum daigremontianum plants, following the directions given by the manufacturer.
Propagation: Plantlets growing at the base of the plants may be dug up at any time, replanted in 5-8cm (2-3 inch) pots of standard potting mixture and treated as mature plants. Or plantlets may be picked from the leaves and shallowly planted in standard potting mixture.
Problems: Bryophyllum daigremontianum is generally problem free, but their succulent leaves are a great attraction for insects like mealy bugs, scale or aphids.
Treatment: Control mealy bugs by wiping the infested leaves with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol. Remove brown scale insects by gently scraping them off. Aphids should be removed by hand. Isolate plants that show signs of insect pest infestation to prevent infestation of other plants.
Prune tall growth and old flower stems and allow plenty of air flow around your plant to avoid powdery mildew.
Treatment: If the plant becomes infected with powdery mildew, potassium bicarbonate can be used to control it.
If rot affects the plant, it normally starts at the root.
Treatment: It is recommended to discard affected plants and start new ones from plantlets.
Toxicity: All parts of the Bryophyllum daigremontianum plant are poisonous (they contain daigremontianin and other bufadienolides), which can even be fatal if ingested by infants or small pets. It is also poisonous to humans.
Note: Bryophyllum daigremontianum is a widespread weed of pastures, grasslands, open woodlands, waste areas, disturbed sites, fence lines, roadsides, embankments, and railways in subtropical, semi-arid, tropical and warmer temperate regions. It is commonly found growing in rocky sites or on poor soils. It prefers rocky outcrops in dry savannas and urban open spaces.
Bryophyllum daigremontianum has been introduced to many parts of the world as an ornamental plant. However, these uses cannot compensate for this plant’s overall negative impacts.
Uses and display: Bryophyllum daigremontianum is more ideal for container growing than landscape planting because it can be difficult to control in outdoor gardens. Both, its unusual leaves which carry the plantlets and its tubular cluster of flowers have ornamental value. Arranged with other succulents, Bryophyllum daigremontianum makes a lovely desert window sill planter. It is a great looking as specimen plant as well as mass planting or group planting.
Bryophyllum daigremontianum is growing in shallow rocky soils, so it is an excellent plant for rocky gardens and xeriscaping.
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – upright
Height: 90-120cm (36-48 inch)
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – low
Hardiness zone: 9b-11
Evergreen, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Succulents Alligator Plant, Bryophyllum daigremontianum, Devil’s Backbone, Kalanchoe daigremontiana, Mexican Hat Plant, Mother of Thousands
Mother of Thousands, Alligator Plant, or Mexican Hat Plant
Plants reach up to 1 m (3 feet) tall with opposite, fleshy oblong-lanceolate “leaves” that reach 15-20 cm (6-8 inches) long and about 3.2 cm (1.25 inches) wide. These are medium green above and blotched with purple underneath. The margins of these leaf-like organs have spoon-shaped bulbiliferous spurs that bear young plants. The plantlets form roots while on the plant. The “leaves” are actually short, determinate, leaf-like branches that can be termed phylloclades or cladodes. Adult plants can also develop lateral root structures on its main stalk, as high up as 10-15 cm from the ground. The plant has several nodes with two or three leaves on each node. The upper leaves of the plant tend to develop into disproportionately large structures, causing the main stalk to bend downwards and the lateral roots to take up root of their own, anchoring into the soil and eventually developing new primary stalks which establish themselves as independent plants. Furthermore, Kalanchoe daigremontiana can go through a flowering season, where the main stalk elongates vertically upwards by as much as 30 cm, within a couple of days, developing an umbrella-like terminal inflorescence (a compound cyme) of small bell-shaped pink flowers. Flowering is, however, not an annual event and will occur sporadically if at all. Particularly in climates with distinct seasonal temperature differences, flowering is most frequently observed at the beginning of a warm season. As a succulent plant, K. daigremontiana can survive prolonged periods of drought with little or no water. It is however not frost-hardy and typically dies if subjected to temperatures below freezing.
Kalanchoe daigremontiana syn. Bryophyllum daigremontianum also called Mother of Thousands, Alligator Plant, or Mexican Hat Plant is a succulent plant native to Madagascar. This plant is distinguished by its ability to propagate via vegetative propagation. All parts of the plant are poisonous, which can even be fatal if ingested by infants or small pets.