You may be living in dry or semi-arid conditions and want to have small, colorful plants in your garden. Or you want small-sized potted plants for your window sill for the indoors to look nice and lively. You may want a plant that requires the least care and survive on basics. In these cases, the Paddle Plant or Kalanchoe Thyrsiflora is the correct choice.
The Paddle Plant is a colorful succulent that grows well in the US agricultural hardiness zone 10 to 12. The leaves of the Paddle Plant are soft, fleshy, and green in color. They grow circularly, one on top of the other. The leaves have a reddish to pinkish outline. The plant blooms into sweet-smelling, yellow flowers and is a treat to your senses. It is well known for its ornamental value – both indoors and outdoors.
You can grow these beautiful plants in your house garden. They are sturdy and can survive a drought. They are easy on your budget and add value to your décor. If you are starting with Kalanchoe Thyrsiflora, you may need to know several things about it. This guide will help you to a successful harvest. Read on to know all about this desert beauty.
The Kalanchoe Thyrsiflora or Paddle plant is a popular house plant in the US. It grows well in dry areas. US Agriculture Department has classified it to grow in hardiness zones 10 to 12. The Paddle Plant has a wonderful color contrast. The leaves are green with a reddish outline and the flowers are bright yellow. These plants bloom from mid-winter to springtime. They attract a lot of pollinating insects around themselves.
The Paddle Plant grows to a height of one to three feet. They spread to a diameter of one to one and a half feet. You will find the leaves arranged around a basal rosette. They are ovate-shaped and without stalks. The Paddle Plants can be grown in garden beds or small ceramic and plastic pots indoors.
Several times, people confuse Kalanchoe Thyrsiflora with Kalanchoe Luciae and Kalanchoe Tetraphylla. All these three plants belong to the Kalanchoe species. The Paddle Plant has the best color contrast among all its relatives.
The Kalanchoe Thyrsiflora is a native of the African continent. You will find them in the Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, and South Africa regions. These plants thrive in dry conditions by storing water in their fleshy leaves. The mother plants flowers once and then dies away.
The Paddle Plant has bright, yellow tubular flowers. They appear from mid-winter through springtime. The flowers blossom on a central spike. The plant propagates horizontally through its offshoots. The Paddle Plant leaves grow to a length of six inches. The leaves slant towards the upward direction. This is to reduce the heat and solar radiation falling on the leaves.
The slanted leaves stacked on top of one another reduces water loss. Thus the plant can survive in hot and dry conditions. Also, the Paddle Plants have an extensive root system allowing them to get water from deeper parts of the soil. Hence, you will find your Paddle Plant do well even in arid conditions.
Toxicity Of Paddle Plants
Unfortunately, the Paddle Plant is toxic to pets. If your cats or dogs eat parts of the Paddle Plant, you will see them drool or vomit. It also leads to lazy pets and can even cause them diarrhea. If your pets consume Paddle Plants in large quantities, they will fall sick. The symptoms are labored breathing, increased heart rate, or weakness. Under severe cases, your pet can also collapse.
If you have pets, it is best to keep the Paddle Plants in an enclosure. For indoor pots, keep them at a place where your pets cannot reach the paddle Plant. The sap of the Paddle Plant irritates human skin as well. The flower is the most poisonous part. Use gloves while handling the plant.
Advantages Of The Paddle Plant
If you are wondering why to select the Paddle Plant, find below a list of advantages to have it around.
- Requires Minimal Resources: The Paddle Plant needs basic resources to grow. It is a water-hardy plant and propagates prolifically. You will need to spend less to maintain and replant it.
- Adds To The Aesthetic Beauty: The Paddle Plant has a rich color combination. It makes it the ideal plant to landscape dry regions.
- Improves Indoor Oxygen Levels: Indoors, the Paddle Plant contributes to the oxygen levels of the room.
How To Grow The Paddle Plant
There are several factors to consider while starting your Paddle Plant bed. A little bit of initial preparation goes a long way in having beautiful Kalanchoes in your house. Follow the below-mentioned points for the same.
Where To Grow
You can grow the Paddle Plants in your flower beds or indoors. Usually, they hedge the flower beds. Gardeners plant them on the sides. Select a location that gets bright sunlight. Since these are tropical plants, they need bright sunlight.
When To Grow
You can try planting the Kalanchoes any time. The spring and summer seasons are the best time to do so. These plants propagate through leaf cuttings. Take disease-free, healthy-looking stock and wait for the callus to form underneath it.
Type Of Soil
The Paddle Plant prefers a Mediterranean climate. The soil needs to be generally fertile and light. There should be good water drainage. Use light soil and avoid the clayey type. Plant the paddle plants on raised beds for best results. For pots, mix two parts of pot soil with one part sand. Add a well-balanced fertilizer in each case.
Sunlight And Humidity
Paddle plants need a daily dose of 8-10 hours of sun. So plant them as per this need. They do not like excess moisture. If your area receives excess rains, plan out a makeshift shelter in advance.
How To Start Your Paddle Plant
Follow the below-mentioned steps to start your Paddle Plant bed.
- Get Leaf Cuttings: Get leaf cuttings or stem cuttings from a healthy Paddle Plant. Leave them aside to develop a callous from the cut end. Once this happens in two to four weeks, they are ready for planting. You can also use the Paddle Plant offsets which grow horizontally from the mother plant. Use a sharp, sterile knife for your cuttings.
- Plant The Cuttings Away From Heat And Light: Plant the cuttings indoors or in a nursery. Use a starter soil mix and keep it moisturized. Keep the plantlets away from heat and light. Let the root system develop. Once the roots develop, they are ready for the garden or indoor pots.
- Space Them Evenly: If you are planting them in a flower bed, space the Paddle Plants at least two to three feet apart. Each plant will grow to a diameter of one to one and a half feet. Press them in soil and put the roots one inch below the soil level. Water the plantlets.
- Use A Starter Fertilizer: You can use a starter fertilizer to jump-start your Paddle Plants. This is optional.
Sunlight, Watering, And Fertilizing
These are the three main aspects of growing a Paddle Plant. You need to ensure that your Paddle Plant gets enough sunlight every day. These are tropical plants and do well in bright light. If you plan to have them indoors, keep them away from glass windows. Due to the greenhouse effect, the leaves tend to burn away.
Water the Kalanchoes judiciously. The plant prefers arid conditions. Excess water can lead to root rot and several other diseases. As a rule of thumb, water when the top two inches of soil is dry. Do not water the outdoor plants during the rainy season. Plant them on raised beds and ensure that the soil does not keep moisture. For pots, keep the drainage pore at the bottom open at all times.
The Paddle Plant needs fertilizing three to four times a year. Use a balanced fertilizer to provide general soil nutrition. The best time to fertilize is spring, summers, and autumn. The plant is growing in these times. Kalanchoes fall dormant during the winters. Before planting, use compost and sand to condition the soil. Liquid fertilizers are also helpful. In winters, protect the plants from low temperatures. You can cover the plant at night. Or shift the potted ones indoors.
Tips For A Healthy Paddle Plant
The following tips will help you grow Paddle Plants successfully. These points are useful for both new gardeners and seasoned veterans. Take them away.
- Crowding Paddle Plants Together: Too many Paddle Plants will compete for resources. This will result in stunted growth. It also encourages molds and pest infestations.
- Giving Too Little Or Too Much Water: Paddle Plants need the right amount of water. Excessive water can lead them to rot. Very little or no water can dry them out.
- Planting Paddle Plants With Other Non-succulents: Paddle Plants are xerophytes. They prefer dry and bright conditions. If you group them with other varieties of plants, it will spoil their equilibrium.
- Using The Right Pots: If planting indoors, use the right kind of pots. If the pots are too small, it will hinder root development. A clogged pore under the pot will increase the soil humidity. You can use plastic or ceramic pots.
- Misting The Paddle Plant: Do not mist the Paddle Plants, even if they are indoors. This leads to leaf rots.
- Mineral Build-up: The water in your area could be laden with minerals. This is not good for your Paddle Plants. The plant will develop a white, crusty layer on its leaves. If you see this happening, consider switching over to filtered water.
Disease And Parasites
Like any other plants, the Kalanchoes are prone to bugs and diseases. Follow the points below for healthy plants.
- Mealy Bugs: These are small, white-colored bugs like aphids. They show up in large numbers on both outdoor and indoor plants. You will find them when the soil is overwatered or over-fertilized. They spread fast. The first step is to isolate the infected plant(s) from the healthy ones. Spray the infected plant with a solution of three parts isopropyl alcohol and one part water. Do so till the bugs disappear.
- Scale Bugs: These are brown-colored, shell bugs that appear on the stem and leaves of the Kalanchoes. They stick to them and suck the moisture. If you see them in small numbers, pick them by hand. For larger infestations, Use the isopropyl alcohol & water mixture to drive them away. If this does not work, use neem oil for the purpose. Usually, neem oil is available in concentrated form. Use it as per the packet information.
- Other Insects And Fungi: There are a few other insects and fungi which attack the Paddle Plants. Treat them systematically. First, use a mixture of alcohol and water. If that does not work, use neem oil. As a last resort, use symptom-specific insecticide or fungicide.
The Kalanchoe Thyrsiflora is a colorful option for your garden. It requires very little effort and adds beauty to both indoors and outdoors. The plant needs bright sunshine and minimal watering to thrive in a wide range of places. They are easy to maintain and you can even grow them in small pots.
The plant propagates horizontally and produces offshoots. You can use these offshoots to start your nursery. You can also use leaf or stem cutting of the plants. We hope that our guide to Kalanchoe Thyrsiflora will help and encourage you to grow them in your house. All the best!