Kalanchoe Tomentosa “Panda Plant”

Kalanchoe Tomentosa, also called Cat Ears, Panda Plant, Hairy Kalanchoe, belongs to the Crassulaceae family and is native to Madagascar.

Plant characteristics

It is a succulent of slow growth, although it can reach 1 meter high.

The stems in this species are quite branched, which over time, can create a plant with quite dense foliage.

The stems are covered with numerous whitish hairs very visible.

The main attraction of this species is its leaves.

The leaves are elongated (lanceolate) with their central region somewhat rounded; they have a slightly jagged margin in their terminal region and a fairly evident groove in the beam of the leaves that causes a very pronounced curvature in these.

Like the stems, the leaves are completely covered with numerous whitish hairs that make a nice contrast to the background green color of them.

Flowering in this species is rare and only occurs in mid-spring.

The flowers are very small and are characterized by being flared to tubular with pink nuances.

Some collectors have only watched this plant bloom once in 3 years or it has never bloomed.

Tips for growing and caring for the Kalanchoe Tomentosa

Illumination

It is important when you are going to acquire a plant, especially if you want to have abroad, to know in which climate or climates you are able to live since otherwise the money would be spent in vain.

The kalanchoe tomentosa needs exposure to full sun and, thanks to their hairs, they resist sunstroke well.

Just take care of the plant in the summer of the midday sun, as it can cause serious burns to its leaves. 

As for cold temperatures, temperatures below 8 ºC are not convenient, being its ideal winter temperature of about 10 ºC.

Temperature

The weather should always be warm for optimum growth.

In winter we must protect it from low temperatures.

The ideal temperature range for this plant is between 20 and 30 ° C.

Temperatures below 15 ° C will cause foliage to fall or even plant death.

Substratum

The substrate must have perfect drainage and slightly rich in organic matter.

This should be a mixture of coarse sand, gravel, and some peat.

We will avoid planting it in the garden directly on the ground if the area is prone to frost.

Pot

You can mix universal cultivation substrate with perlite in equal parts, but if you live in an area where it usually rains regularly, or if you do not want to take too many risks, I advise you more to plant it on a piece or in another volcanic sand.

Garden

Grows in sandy, porous, well-drained soils.

If yours is not, make a hole of about 50 x 50cm, cover it with shading mesh and fill it with the substrates mentioned above.

Regardless of whether you are going to have it in a pot or the garden, the drainage of the soil is essential.

There is no resistance to water logging, and one way to avoid it is to make sure that the soil on which its roots grow can absorb water, but also to filter it as quickly as possible.

Irrigation Frequency

They are drought resistant plants that only need moderate irrigation.

We should only water this species if the substrate is completely dry.

Irrigation should always be directly on the ground avoiding wetting the foliage.

In winter we must reduce the frequency of irrigation because water, in combination with low temperatures, can cause rotting of the plant by fungi.

Plagues and diseases

  • Cochineals: they feed on the sap of the leaves. Since the plant is rather small, you can easily remove them with a small brush soaked in pharmacy alcohol.
  • Snails: in the rainy season you have to be very careful with them because they feed on all the parts of this plant.
  • Fungi: they appear when the humidity is high, rotting the roots and / or the leaves if they have been watered above frequently. They are fought with fungicide, although prevention is ideal, not wetting leaves or stems and controlling irrigation.

Succulents that may be poisonouse

Propagation

The easiest method to reproduce this species is by cuttings of leaves or stems from a branch.

We can also reproduce it from seeds that we must buy because it is rare for those we already have to flourish and without flowers, there are no seeds.

The cuttings should be removed from the mother plant with the help of a disinfected sharp object and let rest is cut for 24 hours, then they should be slightly buried (the area of the cut) in a substrate rich in thick sand and somewhat wet until they take root.

Fertilizer

Planted in the garden, the Kalanchoe Tomentosa does not need a special subscriber.

During all the warm months of the year, it must be paid with liquid fertilizers for cacti and other succulents, following the instructions specified on the package.

You can also pay in autumn if there is no frost in your area. Recall also that its slow growth does not require too much food.