The fuzzy Kalanchoe Panda Plant is a great succulent addition to any home, windowsill and garden. It is not like other Kalanchoe, where the foliage color can be affected or stressed by season or sunlight. This keeps its cool and calm light mint - gray leaves with dark brown spots on the margins year-round.
Because of only seeing these around the nursery, I always thought they were single plants that got a little bigger over time. We sell them in 2-inch pots and 4-inch bare root and thought they were your typical low-growing succulent. I had no clue they had potential to grow into a shrub-bush beast until a few months ago.
On a much-needed road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway, I stopped in Moonstone Beach, CA because I saw some amazing succulent gardens in front of some hotels. Then I came across this beautiful monster!
The Kalanchoe tomentosa Panda Plants are from Madagascar, and massive plants like this is a common sight there. Apparently, Moonstone Beach and Madagascar offer this plant their ideal conditions.
They are easily propagated by leaf. Just take a leaf and set it on top of soil until the roots come in. It's important to do this in the spring and summer, when they are in the active growing phase. Provide a shady place it only while it roots for optimal growth. You can use a rooting hormone for it to speed things up. Rooting hormone is a powder that can be purchased at any home and garden store.
Panda Plants are your typical succulents, in that they prefer early morning sunlight and afternoon shade. They are soft succulents - and prefer temperatures above 45 degrees. They will do well outdoors, windowsills and indoors with proper lighting.
They go through their active growing phase in the spring and summer and tend to go dormant in late fall, through the winter.
In the Summer these have the potential to bloom. When and if they do, expect a funky stalk almost 2 feet tall with yellow and green flower clusters. They aren't the nicest blooms, so if you want the succulent to focus on growth over blooming, simply cut off the bloom.
Two important things to remember when you are caring for a fuzzy Panda Plant:
1.) When watering them, try to only get the water on the soil and try not to get the fuzzy leaves wet. This is especially important if you have them indoors. Indoors, you lose the outdoor elements - aeration, wind, and sunlight - that can help the plant dry off quickly.
If you leave standing water on this plant, and it does not evaporate away after a few days, it can rot the plant out from the top and work it's way down.
2.) As tempting as it may be to pet your Panda Plant, try to resist touching them. And definitely do not try and remove the velvet-like hair.