When you first look at this succulent plant you see why it is called commonly the Paddle plant. While I do see a paddle when I view (Kalanchoe thrsiflora) I also see the second common name and that is flapjacks. As funny as the names are, this is another plant that tolerates neglect. But before you run out to the plant nursery to get one, let’s learn a bit more about this plant.
Yes, this plant can easily grow in a pot or in a landscape in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 10 through 12 but for this discussion, let’s look at growing it as a houseplant.
The first important factor of the Paddle plant is the fact that it loves full sun but can tolerate shade. Why is this factor important beyond the health of the plant? Well, it gives you some flexibility as far as location in your home.
The second important factor is that it loves humidity. This is easily solved by making a humidity tray, which consists of a shallow pan or saucer filled with rocks and then water. The plant is then placed on this tray.
The third factor is its size. If this plant is grown outside, its average foliage height is 18 inches but when it blooms this height will increase to 30 inches. Having said that Paddle plants grown as houseplants will only top 10 inches, which makes this a very manageable plant size.
The fourth factor is both a positive and negative. This succulent does produce a very beautiful yellow flower that is very fragrant but with beauty there is death when it comes to this plant. Once the Paddle plant has reached a mature size, it will send up a flower stalk. After the flowers on the flower stalk have died, the plant itself will die. This is not the end of the story. Mature Paddle plants typically will send out pups or offshoots from the parent plant. These pups can be harvested and replanted.
When it comes to planting your Paddle plant, make sure you use a planting medium designed for cactus or make your own with equal parts of all purpose potting soil and grit. Prior to adding planting medium to your pot, make sure that it is clean and sterilized. Add drainage material and top this layer with the planting medium. Once the Paddle plant has been planted, water it in until you see moisture come out the bottom. Then, place on humidity tray in a sunny location.
Prior to watering the Paddle plant, always check the dryness of the soil with your finger. If it comes out clean then you water. On the other hand, if it comes up covered in soil then do not water.