Panda Plant (Kalanchoe Tomentosa) glitters with its gorgeous appearance among other succulents. It is standing out on the window sills and succulent gardens.
Descending more into Kalanchoe Tomentosa, I made a deep research about how to care Panda Plant: watering, drainage, soil, fertilizing, and propagation. Here are the answers for some of the questions I hear a lot. Now, it is time to dive into it!
Identification of the Species: Kalanchoe Tomentosa
The Kalanchoe Tomentosa is a succulent classified under Crassulaceae family; Kalanchoe genus. Native lands of this exotic plant are Madagascar. Commonly known as Panda Plant, this type of Kalanchoes are also called Chocolate Soldier or Teddy Bear Cactus.
The plant can be found on granite rocks in nature. It seems like Panda Plants are quite weird for us because they travel all the way from their isolated but diverse fauna of Madagascar to our homes.
I believe there is no way you confuse Panda Plants with other succulents. You can easily recognize the dark red or brown hues on the edges of their leaves and the glittery surface due to feathery texture.
In the first appearance, the feathery plant resembles an animal fur. And the marks on the margins of the leaves are actually the reason why they are called Panda Plants. Dense hairs work as an isolator and help the plant to keep water inside of its body in the case of drought or hot.
If you can take care of you succulent attentively, you will see that Panda Plants will become a kind of a small tree.
Size and Growth
The average size of Panda Plants is around 47 centimeters. Yet, It can go up 90 cm tall and 90 cm wide. Reaching maturity takes time for them, but once they are mature succulents, their sizes keep constant. So, you will not need to change the potting because of the enlarged plant.
Can I care a Panda Plant Indoors?
Yes, it is very easy to give a good care for your succulent in the homes. Yet, if you want to see your Kalanchoe blossoming, I have to mention that it is a very rare situation for Panda Plants cared indoors. If so, you should probably prefer other cultivars of Kalanchoe, such as “blossfeldiana” hybrids, or you can simply move your plant outdoors with a more strict care.
Like many other succulent types, Kalanchoe Tomentosa prefers steady conditions which means that you should avoid any extreme conditions, including cold weather. Succulents are sensitive to cold while they are very hardy for hot climates.
Generally, the suggested temperature for the best looking Kalanchoes is between 15-23 °C. Plus, the room must have the similar relative humidity as the human’s humidity preferences.
Having adequate sunlight is a basic essential for a succulent since they are desert plants. Panda Plants generally prefer luminous areas.
But especially in summers, the direct sun hitting the plant for long hours could create a huge problem. You can keep your Panda Plant in a place where they get direct light in the winter or autumn because clouds and the angle of the sun will help you to create rooky light. Nevertheless, indirect source of light for your Kalanchoe Tomentosa in summer is probably safer.
So, replace your Panda Plant into a brighter space only if you want the leaves get frizzy and velvety. Sun is what helps the leaves develop color.
Kalanchoe Tomentosa does not need much watering in general. You better keep its soil dry.
Give the succulent a good amount of water one time. After that, you should wait a long time until the soil is totally dry. Once it is completely dry, sprinkle the soil and be sure that there is no fluid under the bottom plate. The succulent is ready for another irrigation.
Do not get too anxious about watering of Panda Plant, your plant will do its best with its moisture storage and stay alive for a long period.
As I recently mentioned, humidity condition is important for the health of Panda Plants. Still, I think the composition of the soil needs an explanation. The four ingredients are water, air, mineral matter, and organic matter. Their percentage is around 50% hard (45% mineral, 5% organic) and 50% soft (25% filled with air and 25% filled with water).
Here is a good trick for testing your composition. Try to squeeze soil and release it. The compressed soil should disperse with gravitation instead of forming a dollop.
Finally, you can use the following recipe for the mixture. I believe you will get good results with it.
Here is a recipe for your own soil mix and their percentage by volume:
- potting soil (60%)
- perlite (15%)
- coarse sand (25%)
For more detailed information of soils, you can check the succulent soil guide I posted before.
The key point is to have a porous and airy base for the roots of a Panda Plant. The water needs to infuse the roots and then it drains away with relative ease. Placing a material with big grains to the lower part of the pot would make the drainage so much easier.
Similar to all desert plants, Panda Plant needs a couple of supplements. I recommend you to utilize a soft fertilizer once per month in the summer season. For the dormant seasons of Panda Plants fertilization is not needed. The plant gets basic nutritions from its soil in general and the fertilizer is not helpful since the body is not actively growing.
Unlike some types of succulents like Jade Plant, Panda Plant has a slower growth trend. When it is growing actively, Kalanchoe Tomentosa needs a re-potting every other year.
The roots of Panda Plants will require a bigger pot (maybe about 15 cm larger in diameter) once they get larger. After they reach maturity, the size of the plants is sustained.
Propagation of Panda Plant
The best season for the propagation (cutting leaves) is spring. After cutting, put your leaf away to dry for one week. Next, place your leaves to perlite blend or sandy earth and make sure stands it upright. It should take 4 weeks to roots develop from cuttings in the mixture.
By the way, after re-potting make sure you follow the previous principles about watering, sunlight, temperature, and humidity. At the end of this process, you can change into a regular succulent soil blend.
Does a Panda Plant Give Flowers?
Yes, Kalanchoe Tomentosa has very unique flowers that have the shape like a bell. It keeps its fury texture and there is a transition from yellow to red from bud to the edge. The panicles can grow longer, sometimes 30 centimeters, with lots of flowers.
In nature, the flowers are observable, unlike indoor applications. Although an indoor Panda Plant is evergreen, flowers rarely pop up. The unique beauty of flowers is absolutely photographable.
Is Panda Plant Poisonous?
Well, not for humans. But it is poisonous for pets, specifically for cats and dogs. The leaves of Kalanchoe Tomentosa holds calcium oxalates. The large amounts of oxalate can be really dangerous for pets but they will survive and recover easily if small quantities of the succulent are ingested.
If the cat or dog of yours has symptoms like choking, swelling of the throat, difficulty in breathing maybe even convulsion, your pet is probably poisoned by the Kalanchoe Tomentosa. Medical help might be needed.
In order to avoid such dangers, you can make use of several solutions on your plant that I listed below.
- cayenne pepper
- oil sprays
- citrus peel
- high places (to keep them away)
Panda Plant is one of the most beautiful type among the other succulents. I think it shines out with its shape and texture. Panda Plant is a pretty good choice for your interior.
It looks gorgeous within a hanging pot. Also, you can place this plant near the beds or can combine with the other cacti and succulents. Try to plant your succulent with other types in wide planters for succulent arrangements.
Panda Plant can be placed also outdoors, on a rock wall or rock garden instead of using a pot. If you have a soft and moderate climate where you live, you can even find a place in your xeriscape.
Possible Diseases on Panda Plant
If you see some of the symptoms on your succulent, you should take the precautions before the damage is irreversable.
Falling of Leaves
I know it is so upsetting to see your plant losing leaves. Most often leaf losses are directly related to over-watering. Excessive watering results in swelling of the plant and loss of leaves. Don’t forget to read my guide very carefully if your succulent is dropping off its leaves easily when touched.
The most common reason is the lack of sunlight. This situation generally ends up with a green or yellow colored plant. Replacing Panda Plant from shady places to somewhere it gets more direct light will result quickly.
Another reason may be overwatering. The color of Kalanchoe Tomentosa turn into yellow or become more transparent if the sucullent is irrigated frequently. Cut the water of your Panda Plant until the soil is dry and the leaves are winkled.
Spots on the Leaves
I have seen lots of topics about spots on Kalanchoe Tomentosa. Most of the solved cases were related to a syndrome called “Oedema”. The generic reason is overwatering of the succulent.
The last reason is special for the outdoor plants. In hotter days, sunburns may appear on the succulent. That is a simple but very common reason for the spots. Please remember that sunburns and other spots can be a permanent damage. Better to avoid such thing before it happens.
Kalanchoe Tomentosa appears with its uniqueness and charm among all the other succulent types. As an individual plant or in a succulent arrangement, Panda Plants always lift up the spirit and beauty of your home.