Kalanchoe tomentosa Baker
Growth Habits: A succulent that can grow up to 1.5 feet tall (45 cm) with a bushy appearance. The leaves are covered in a grey hairy felt, sometimes with brown edges that make them look almost singed. Leaf shape is a pointed oval and fleshy, sometimes but now always with a wrinkled edge. Like most of us humans the plant looks better when it is young. It grows relatively quickly.
Scientific name: Kalanchoe tomentosa
Common names: Pussy Ears, Panda Plant
Synonym: None known.
Etymology: Kalanchoe is taken from the Mandarin name of one of the species. The specific name means covered with matted hair. (For example: Kalanchoe tomentosa).
Light: The plant requires good light but not full sun. if it is given too much shade the plant tends to become ‘leggy.’
Compost: A good compost will get the most out of this plant as long as the required drainage is there.
Water: The plant does not need a great deal of water and may show its displeasure by rapidly dropping leaves if too much is given.
Flower: The plant has yellowish green flowers.
Min. temp: The plant is semi-tender and I do not think it will stand any frost whatsoever. Some protection in winter is virtually essential.
Cultivation: This is an unassuming plant that will grow quite well for most people without too much trouble. It will propogate readily from cuttings and a series of young plants in various stages of growth is a good idea.
Habitat: The habitat is the island of Madagascar, off the west coast of Africa in the Indian ocean. The island has a tropical climate. Madagascar, is the fourth largest island in the world, and is home to five per cent of the world's plant and animal species, more than 80 per cent of which are indigenous to Madagascar.
Comments: This plant was always part of my collection, until I went on to so called ‘bigger and better things’ and like an old car it was discarded. But old cars have a habit of tugging at the heart strings every so often and so did this plant, finally finding its way back into my collection.
A more in-depth look at individual succulent species, a new one is added each week.
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