The Mother of Thousands plant Kalanchoe Daigremontiana [kal-un-KOH-ee day-ee-gree-mon-tee-AH-nuh] earned its common name because of the plant’s ability to produce thousands of small plantlets along their leaves.
Like the Jade Plant, the Mother of Thousands is a member of the family Crassulaceae family, Kalanchoe Daigremontiana is also known as:
- Devil’s Backbone
- Alligator Plant
- Mexican Hat Plant
- Evil Genius
- Mother of Millions
The Mother of Thousands was previously classified as part of the Bryophyllum genus but reclassified into the genus of Kalanchoe.
The succulent Kalanchoe Daigremontiana is native to Madagascar and used as a houseplant due to its distinctive appearance. Its cousin’s the Panda Kalanchoe and the Felt plant Kalanchoe also have distinctive appearances.
Mother of Thousands can live for many years and is attractive throughout the seasons however it’s primary blooming season is in summer.
Mother of Thousands Care
Size and Growth
Given an ample amount of space and light, Mother of Thousands can grow up to 3′ feet tall, with leaves ranging from 4″ to 10″ inches in length.
However, despite its ability to grow, the plant averages around 1′ foot in height. Many believe this plant looks much more attractive when kept at a smaller height.
It is a fast-growing plant with erect and un-branched growth.
Flowering and Fragrance
The Mother of Thousands has a unique appearance with large, bluish-green tinted leaves bearing purple blotches on the underside.
Thousands of tiny greenish brown plantlets grow along the edges of the leaves. These shed frequently but take root wherever they land.
During the blooming season in summer, large fragrance-free purple flowers may bloom.
Light and Temperature
Mother of Thousands enjoys bright indirect light and will thrive next to a south-facing the window.
If you want to enhance its appearance, consider putting Kalanchoe Daigremontiana outdoors in direct sunlight, but do this gradually.
If you put the Mother of thousands outside immediately, it increases the risk of the plant leaves browning and getting sunburned.
Gradually, the leaves will take on a glossy, bluish tint to protect it from harsh sunlight and will flower beautifully in the summer if placed outside.
In the winter, the plant should be kept indoors ideally at room temperature. But it can generally tolerate temperatures from 50°-60° degrees Fahrenheit.
Water and Feeding
Mother of Thousands needs regular watering and feeding from March to October.
A diluted balanced liquid fertilizer is the best choice to feed this plant. In the winter, water when needed and adjusting with the temperature. It does not need feeding during the winter season.
Generally, this plant is very resistant to drought which makes the plant easy to care for.
Soil and Transplanting
This plant requires a well-drained potting soil mix. A commercial cactus potting mix is preferred.
If you would like to grow the plant to its largest height, transfer it to a larger pot in the spring. Otherwise, renewing plants each year is a good idea.
Grooming and Maintenance
Kalanchoe Daigremontiana plants do not require lots of grooming. It is generally easy to care for and fends for itself.
However, to make plant branch out instead of growing straight up, cut off the young top shoots early on to encourage branched growth.
Take care to avoid insecticides that will damage the leaves and ruin the glossy surface.
If you notice the plant losing lower leaves, it may be a sign of neglect.
Moving the plant to a sunny spot and watering it regularly will help bring back its luster.
How To Propagate Mother of Thousands Kalanchoe
The Kalanchoe Daigremontiana plant is incredibly easy to propagate due to the abundant amounts of tiny baby plantlets on the leaves.
Sometimes, these baby plants fall off the mother plant and take root in the soil or potting mix. This means you can pick up these young, growing plants and repot them into individual pots.
Otherwise, spread out a mature leaf on a bed of moist and sandy soil. Keep these in a well-lit area and wait for the plants to take root and grow.
Once they’re big enough to handle, repot them.
If you want a fuller looking plant, choose 5 to 6 small plants to pot in a 6″ inch pot.
Mother of Thousands Kalanchoe Pest or Disease Problems
This plant is quite resistant to pests and diseases. It is not uncommon however for aphids to appear though.
These small, sap-sucking aphid insects can be taken care of by washing them away.
Other Suggested Uses For Mother of A Thousand Plant
The Devil’s backbone is a great succulent plant to use in the classroom to help children develop an interest in plants and create a succulent garden.
The easy propagation may be a great chance to help teach them how to grow and care for house plants.
However, make sure to also address the topic of – Is Mother of Thousands Poisonous?
It also does well on its own during more extended summer vacations making it ideal to keep as a classroom decoration.