Kalanchoe tubliflora is an invasive succulent that goes by several names, including Kalanchoe delagoensis, Bryophyllum delagoensis, Chandelier Plant, Devil’s Backbone, and the most common one – Mother of Millions. The Kalanchoe tubliflora is often confused with the Mother of Thousands, also known as the Kalanchoe daigremontiana. However, the Kalanchoe Tubliflora has narrower leaves compared to the Mother of Thousands.
A rapid-growing plant native to Madagascar and Mozambique, the Kalanchoe tubliflora propagates wherever it is planted, hence the name Mother of Millions. It’s called Chandelier Plant because of its upright, thin, and cylindrical leaves. The leaves are grey-green with dark purple blotches. Hundreds of plantlets grow on the tips of these leaves.
These plantlets can tolerate any growing conditions like drought and mild freezing temperatures. Their seeds can even survive for years, even when the mother plant has been uprooted. They are very resilient. They are considered weeds in some parts of the world because they can kill choke other plants. They are fascinating plants and are relatively easy to care for and propagate.
Caring for the Kalanchoe tubliflora
Where to Grow
The Kalanchoe tubliflora can be grown indoors and outdoors as long as you provide them with well-draining soil, adequate sunlight, and sufficient water. They are highly resilient so they can withstand all the natural elements outdoors, but if you need to take them indoors during winter, make sure to give them enough outdoor time in the summer for them to continue thriving.
Indoor Light Needs
When growing a Kalanchoe tubiflora indoors, make sure to place it somewhere that gets plenty of sunlight. The best spot is an east-facing window, but you may also try your south- and west-facing windows. Try moving your plant around a few times to see where it gets the most sunlight. On average, succulents need 4-6 hours of sunlight every day to keep them happy. If your plant starts stretching and is not producing new growths, it means it is not getting the amount of light it needs.
An etiolated succulent uses all the nutrients it has to stretch in search of more light. Hence it stops producing new leaves and appears to be more leggy than usual. However, this is not a normal occurrence for plants. It might look taller, but it is suffering from weak and stunted growth.
When this happens to your Kalanchoe tubiflora, it is suffering from lack of light, the best thing you can do is to move it somewhere brighter. During the dark winter months, consider using a grow light to provide the light it requires for photosynthesis.
Outdoor Light Needs
The Kalanchoe tubiflora loves bright, partial sunlight, so consider placing under light shade. If you want to put it under full sun, make sure to acclimate it first to avoid sunburn. Gradually increase the amount of sunlight it receives until it is fully adjusted. The plant gets a grayish purple color with dark spots when it is exposed to full sun. The spots on the leaves will also increase as they receive more sunlight. Keep in mind that even when the plant is already acclimated to full sun, it is still susceptible to sun damage, especially during a heatwave. Intense heat can cause the leaves of your succulent to thin out and dry up.
If you think the heat in your location is too intense, especially during summer, use a shade cloth to protect your succulents from sun damage. A shade cloth can limit the amount of harmful light they get while still allowing air to circulate in your garden.
Mild frost and freezing temperatures are tolerable for the Kalanchoe tubliflora as long as they are not for long periods. They are recommended for those living in the USDA hardiness zones 10-11, where they can be left outdoors all year long. They can also survive night rains and frost as long as they get bright sun during the daytime.
If you live where the winter condition is extreme, we recommend that you grow your Kalanchoe tubliflora in pots so you can bring it indoors anytime there is a forecast of snow, frost, or rain. If it’s not possible to bring your plant indoors during extreme weather conditions, put it in a portable greenhouse along with your other succulents. Putting them in a portable greenhouse can help them survive the perils of winter.
The Kalanchoe Tubliflora are known to be hardy plants that can grow under any condition. They can even grow in concretes. But in order not to jeopardize the growth of your plant, use a well-draining potting mix for its soil. You can make your soil for your succulent by putting cactus mix, perlite, and coarse sand together in a pot. Alternatively, you can buy a ready-to-use succulent soil mix online.
As with most succulents, the watering techniques for Kalanchoe tubliflora depends mainly on the climate you live in. There is no set schedule or formula.
To give you an idea, succulents grown in places with arid climates can benefit from weekly watering. Cut down on watering when the weather cools down. During winter, hold back from watering your succulents and observe the soak-dry method. The method requires you to wait for the soil to dry up before you water your plant again, thoroughly drenching it until water comes out from the drainage holes. An accurate way of measuring the moisture level of the soil is to use a hygrometer.
The Kalanchoe tubliflora requires little effort to propagate. You don’t need to do anything to make it multiply. You just have to wait for a little while until plantlets appear on the tips of the leaves. These plantlets will root wherever they land, which is almost everywhere. But if you are curious, these plants can be propagated through leaf and stem cuttings.
The real challenge in propagating the Kalanchoe tubliflora is controlling its propagation before it takes over your entire garden. It’s a highly invasive plant and has the tendency to choke other plants when placed in similar containers or soil, so it’s better that you keep an eye on it.
An important thing to remember when growing Kalanchoe tubliflora is its toxicity to pets. ASPCA considers all parts of the plant as toxic to animals because of the bufadienolides it contains. Bufadienolides is a toxin that can cause mild to moderate and rarely severe symptoms when ingested. The most common symptoms are gastrointestinal irritation and upset stomach. When consumed in large amounts, it can cause abnormality in heart rate and rhythm. For your pet’s and succulent’s protection, practice safety measures when growing this plant.
If you want to grow a plant that is easy to care for, quick to propagate, and hard to kill, we recommend that you get a Kalanchoe tubliflora. It thrives in any condition, and it is fun to watch how rapid it multiplies.
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