Paddle Plant (Kalanchoe thyrsiflora or Kalanchoe luciae): Flapjack Succulent Care (Pictures)

With flat, broad, spoon-shaped jade green leaves with a hint of red blushing, the paddle plant is a lovely flowering succulent. This low-maintenance succulent’s attractive feature is its large spatulate leaves. The paddle plant is also known as the ‘flapjack succulent,’ since it requires just enough light and dry, sandy soil for its upkeep.

Paddle plants come in two different types, both of which may seem identical. Both are members of the succulent family Crassulaceae and belong to the genus Kalanchoe. Between the two succulent types, the Kalanchoe thyrsiflora and Kalanchoe luciae, there are slight differences.

This is a thorough guide to indoor paddle plant growth. You’ll learn how to distinguish between two types of paddle plants. You’ll discover useful advice on coping with problems when growing paddle plants at home at the conclusion of the article.

How to Care for Paddle Plant

Grow the flapjack succulent in bright light, in a warm area, and keep the air very dry to care for a paddle plant. The best environment for the kalanchoe paddle plant is sandy soil with good drainage. Only when the soil is dry should you water the succulent. Keep between 60°F and 85°F (16°C and 29°C) at all times.

Paddle Plant: Kalanchoe luciae vs. Kalanchoe thyrsiflora

The Kalanchoe thyrsiflora and Kalanchoe luciae are two paddle plant species that are easily mistaken. They have broad flat spoons-shaped leaves, which are jade green. Also, the succulent leaves have orangey-red tints to them. The species with shorter broad leaves is the Kalanchoe thyrsiflora.

Its leaves stay mostly green in the winter, with just thin red borders surrounding the oval leaves, when compared to the Kalanchoe luciae. This paddle plant has a chalky-green coating, which the other one does not have. The yellow flowers of the Kalanchoe thyrsiflora are urn-shaped and emit a powerful sweet fragrance.

When the plant is exposed to sunlight, the leaves of Kalanchoe thyrsiflora turn green with crimson borders. The leaves become a lustrous red color in the winter and when the plant is stressed. The Kalanchoe luciae has tubular flowers with greenish-yellow petals, as compared to the two paddle plants. In addition, the Kalanchoe thyrsiflora has a stronger scent than this paddle plant.

When it comes to paddle plant care, this article refers to both Kalanchoe species because they are so similar.

Paddle Plant Facts

A group of evergreen succulents known as the Kalanchoe family includes Kalanchoe luciae and Kalanchoe thyrsiflora. The leaves of paddle plants are thick and waxy, growing in a rosette shape. With Kalanchoe luciae having redder leaves, the jade-green leaves have attractive hues of red.

Outside, paddle plants flourish in bright, hot, and dry settings. These heat-loving plants can’t handle temperatures below 60°F (15°C) and will perish. Only USDA zones 10 through 12 allow paddle plants to grow outdoors.

The wide spoon-shaped, rounded leaves give paddle plants their common name. These two Kalanchoe species are also known as desert cabbage, red pancakes, and white lady. Succulents, on the other hand, grow in pots and have compact development. They seldom exceed 10 inches (25 cm) in height.

Paddle Plant Flowers

The paddle plant bears tubular blooms at the end of a long stem and is known as Kalanchoe thyrsiflora. The blooms bloom in late winter or early spring and are usually yellow to green in hue. The stems of paddle plants can grow up to 3 feet (1 meter) tall.

Flowers of Kalanchoe thyrsiflora are more aromatic than those of Kalanchoe luciae and have a pleasant fragrance. After blooming, the paddle plant dies. The plant will, however, continue to expand from the little “baby” kalanchoes due to the fact that it generates many offsets. It’s worth remembering that indoor blooming of paddle plants is unusual.

Paddle Plant Leaves

The wedge-shaped, gray-green leaves of flapjack succulents have a wide rounded end that tapers toward the plant’s base. Paddle plant leaves are paddle-like or spoon-shaped and have no stems. A basal rosette of gorgeous meaty succulent leaves grows.

The rosette leaves are stacked in a similar manner to pancakes, which is why the term ‘flapjacks’ is used. Some of the rosettes have a cabbage-like shape, which is referred to as ‘desert cabbage.’

Paddle Plant Care Guide

Let’s take a closer look at how to maintain a succulent paddle plant at home.

How Much Light Does a Paddle Plant Need?

The best environment for paddle plants is bright light. Kalanchoe luciae and Kalanchoe thyrsiflora. A sunny windowsill is the ideal location to grow a paddle plant. To avoid leaf scorch in the summer, it’s a good idea to cover the succulent with a sunscreen.

Give paddle plants as much sunlight as possible during the cold winter months. The lovely red color on the Kalanchoe thyrsiflora leaves is brought out by strong sunlight. The leaves of Kalanchoe luciae are redder than those of Kalanchoe thyrsiflora, as you can see.

In the shade, paddle plants may also thrive. The beautiful leaves, on the other hand, lose their crimson hues and turn a pale jade green color as you watch. When the leaves stretch toward the light, they will elongate and form a rounded obovate shape.

The Best Soil for Paddle Plant Succulents

A paddle plant must develop in loose, aerated sandy soil with excellent drainage, much as other succulents do. Between watering, you should make sure that the soil dries out quickly. Draining holes in the pot to allow water to drain freely are crucial for a healthy paddle plant growth.

Combine two parts of ordinary potting soil, one part perlite, and one part coarse horticultural sand to make a succulent soil mix for paddle plants. This potting soil enables water to drain quickly but keeps the succulent roots healthy by retaining some moisture.

You may also add extra sand to the delicious potting soil for desert plants. It’s preferable to grow paddle plants in terracotta pots if you want them to grow indoors. Since the porous stuff absorbs more moisture, it lets the earth dry quicker while blocking any concerns with wet soil.

How to Water a Paddle Plant

When the top 2″ or 3″ (5 – 7.5 cm) of soil is totally dry, a succulent paddle plant will thrive. Water a flapjack succulent only every two weeks during the summer. Watering should be avoided or minimized in the winter. Drought-tolerant succulents include paddle plants.

As a result, it’s preferable to water them underwater rather than too often. Letting the dryness of the soil dictate when to water the succulent is the optimum tip for watering paddle plants. This is just a general guideline, even though two weeks is recommended.

The frequency with which to water a paddle plant, for example, may be influenced by temperature, the type of pot, potting mix, and sunlight. 2″ (5 cm) into the soil before watering your finger. It’s time to water the plant if the potting mix is bone dry.

Watered paddle plant succulents with these helpful guidelines:

  • whenever the soil is dry, drench the soil and allow excess water to drain.
  • Always use filtered, room-temperature water with succulents.
  • To avoid fungus problems, don’t spray water on the leaves.
  • Never water a paddle plant excessively.

The Best Temperature for Growing a Paddle Plant

Paddle plants prefer temperatures of 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C) during the growing season. If the temperature is as low as 60°F (16°C) or as high as 85°F (29°C), the heat-loving succulent will thrive. Before their leaves are destroyed, Kalanchoe plants can survive temperatures as low as 30°F (-1°C).

Therefore, do not place the potted paddle plant near an open window or next to a hot air vent in order to avoid exposing it to chilly drafts. The plant will be stressed by temperature variations, causing the spoon-like leaves to sag or bend.

If you reside in USDA zones 10 through 12, you may cultivate paddle plants outdoors. You can grow Kalanchoe plants in containers outside in the summer and bring them indoors when the temperature drops below 60°F (16°C) if you live in colder areas.

Paddle Plant Humidity Needs

Keep a paddle plant in an average humidity level of less than 40% when caring for it. The dry, arid environment of South Africa is home to paddle plants. To avoid fungal disease and Powdery Mildew problems, it’s also important to keep the foliage dry and moist.

How to Fertilize a Paddle Plant

During the growing season, paddle plants benefit from fortnightly fertilization. Dilute your balanced houseplant fertilizer to half strength. Succulents and cactus plants may alternatively be fertilized using a formula. During the winter, it’s important to delay fertilizing paddle plants in order to ensure optimal development.

Paddle Plant Growth Rate

In warm, sunny circumstances, paddle plants, like many other types of succulents, flourish faster. Paddle plant development slows down in the winter, and they stop developing. During the winter, their sluggish development rate necessitates that they are not watered or fertilized. With a spread of 18″ (45 cm), flapjack succulents may grow up to 12″ (30 cm) tall.

How to Prune a Paddle Plant

Paddle plants are pruned with a pruning paddle, which is used to propagation and remove leggy growth. The growth of a mature paddle plant may also crowd out the offsets or tiny plants. Some botanists recommend reducing the flower stalks to focus the plant’s energy on developing the succulent leaves. Cut the stems near the soil line with sterilized equipment to prune a paddle plant.

Succulent leaves that resemble a cabbage rosette may be seen on a stem. Next, cuttings from the leaves can be used to create new leaves. Should you allow flapjack succulents to bloom? The tubular Kalanchoe flowers are thought by many people to be unimportant and throwaway. Keeping the succulent’s growth compact is helped by snipping off the flower stalk. As a result, cutting the flowers will not harm the paddle plant, and it may even thrive.

How to Propagate a Paddle Plant

Leaf cuttings, offsets, and seeds are often used to propagate paddle plants. In the spring or summer, it’s preferable to propagate paddle kalanchoe. Cut a few healthy leaves from the mother plant as close to the stem as possible to propagate by leaf cuttings. Allow the wound to heal for a few days by placing it on paper towels. For succulent plants, put the severed leaf in a tiny pot with moist soil. Move the tray to a sunny area, misting it lightly on occasion, to keep the soil moist.

Repotting offsets is the simplest way to grow a paddle plant. Near the plant’s base, look for tiny miniature plants. Use a sharp knife to remove them by hand. Next, put the newborn succulent in indirect sunlight in moist potting soil. Place the seeds in a moist, permeable medium and cover lightly with soil to grow paddle plants from seed.

Keep the temperatures between 71°F and 76°F (22°C – 25°C) and cover the seed tray with plastic. Before transferring the kalanchoe seedlings to a bigger pot, wait until they develop into Kalanchoe plants.

Repotting a Paddle Plant Growing Indoors

Every one to two years, repot a paddle plant. Giving the succulent more space to flourish is simple by transferring it to a bigger pot. Repotting paddle plants at the same time allows you to check for root damage. To spread new plants, you may also eliminate offsets.

Remove the paddle plant from its container with care before repotting. Trim off any dead roots and shake off any excess soil from the roots. Half-fill a new pot with a succulent mix and select one that is 2″ (5 cm) larger than the current one. Set the plant in the pot so that it grows at the same level as before. Water thoroughly and fill in the remaining space.

Pests Affecting Paddle Plant Growth

If you care for paddle plants properly, they are unlikely to be infested with pests. Mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects may all have an impact on plant health from time to time. Get rid of common household insects, mites, and pests by spraying the leaves with a neem oil solution.

Diseases Affecting Paddle Plant Growth

Paddle plants are susceptible to root rot and powdery mildew, two common plant diseases. Always water Kalanchoe succulents correctly to avoid fungal disease. This indicates that you should only water when the ground is dry, and you should not splash water onto the leaves.

Powdery mildew is a white mold-like fungus that affects plant leaves. The paddle plant won’t be killed by this white powder. Nevertheless, it makes the plant look unattractive. It’s also crucial to recall that the leaves of Kalanchoe thyrsiflora naturally accumulate a white material.

Root rot kills paddle plants, which have yellow foliage and exhibit sluggish development. Never overwater the plant because it will rot roots. Also, between irrigation, check that the soil drains well and dries out. It’s preferable to repot the plant and remove any dead, mushy brown roots if you discover indications of rotting roots. It’s recommended to grow a new flapjack paddle plant if root rot is severe since cuttings from healthy leaves are best.

Are Paddle Plants Toxic?

Cats and dogs are poisonous to paddle plants because of their toxins. This succulent isn’t poisonous to dogs or cats, but it is jade-colored. Eeating kalanchoe plant leaves, according to the ASPCA, may result in vomiting and diarrhea.

FAQs – Paddle Plant Care

Despite the fact that flapjack succulents are simple to care for at home, they may face a few challenges.

Why are my paddle plant leaves curling?

Paddle plant leaves beginning to curl is frequently caused by watering or light problems. Watering flapjack paddle plants occasionally is required since they prefer dry, sandy soil. In addition, bright light and some direct sunlight are beneficial for the potted succulent. In shaded or dark rooms, try to avoid cultivating paddle plants.

What is white powder on a paddle plant?

On the fleshy blue-green leaves of paddle plants, there is generally a light white powder-like coating. Powdery mildew, on the other hand, may be a issue if the earth has been moist and the foliage have developed a white powdery coating. Wipe the leaves with some diluted milk to prevent powdery mildew on succulent plants. Finally, keep the paddle plant away from humid rooms and only water the succulent soil when it’s dry.

Why is my paddle plant dying?

overwatering a flapjack succulent is frequently evidenced by shriveled paddle leaves and drooping growth. Soggy, overly-damp soil doesn’t please paddle plants. The succulent will start to die when there is too much soil moisture. Hold off watering until the soil dries as soon as you see any indications that your succulent is dying.

The leaves may wither and die if you don’t give the paddle plant any water at all. Drench the earth and allow excess moisture to flow in this scenario. Only when the top 2 inches (5 cm) of the potting mixture is dry should you water kalanchoe.

Leave a Comment