Kalanchoe thrysiflora + Kalanchoe luciae

Kalanchoe thrysiflora + Kalanchoe luciae

Nicknames:  Paddle plant, Flapjacks, Desert Cabbage.  Kalanchoe thrysiflora is also nicknamed the Ice Sculpture Kalanchoe whereas Kalanchoe luciae has another nickname, Red Pancakes. Why two names for this uncommon looking plant?  Kalanchoe luciae is not as rare but is often mislabeled as its much rarer relative, Kalanchoe thrysiflora.  The practice of mislabeling the plant happens so often, however, that it takes getting to know the plant before being able to identify which variety it is.  Here is how you can identify the differences:

Kalanchoe thrysiflora

The rare specimen of the two, thrysiflora has slightly smaller, less paddle-like leaves.  The leaves have white powdery premature hairs (tomentum) on them which give the plant a silvery-white appearance.  When thrysiflora flowers, its blooms are a darker and brighter yellow than luciae’s and have a sweet, pleasant fragrance.  The above image is very likely a Kalanchoe thrysiflora.  Note the size of the leaves and the white trunk.

Kalanchoe luciae

A more common find, Kalanchoe luciae’s leaves turn red in cooler temperatures if they have been given a substantial amount of light.  In some cases, they leaves will completely turn a vibrant red.  Luciae’s leaves are larger and can get up to 6 inches long and 5 inches wide.  When it flowers, the blooms are pale yellow with no scent.  These are most likely what we have pictured below.

Care of Kalanchoe thrysiflora + Kalanchoe luciae

Regardless of what you have, you are lucky to have this beautiful and interesting plant!  Both require the same care so identifying them is no rush.  And luckily, they couldn’t be easier to care for. Light Full Sun Sun to Partial Shade Light Shade *if kept in low-light conditions, they will become leggy and create interesting shapes, as featured in the   top image and another image below.  In bright to full sun, expect them to get wide and bushy as in one of the images below. Water Water regularly, when soil dries about an inch down into the pot or ground.  Kalanchoe thrsiflora and luciae are very drought tolerant.  They are susceptible to overwatering, however, so err on the side of not watering when unsure. Bloom Time Late Winter/Early Spring Neither of these plants are known to be poisonous.

I spotted this leggy beauty in a shop window during a recent trip to New York

1 comment
  1. Permission to use this picture has been granted by the photographer, Lorraine Solomon, of Kumbula Indigenous Nursery, South Africa.

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