Plant and Garden

Flapjack Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe thyrsiflora)

Kalanchoe thyrsiflora ‘Flapjacks’ are lovely succulent with flat leaves that can ruffle and even are edged in a reddish color. Kalanchoe thyrsiflora ‘Flapjacks’ is a member of the Crassulaceae family and is native to South Africa. It’s commonly referred to as the paddle plant because of the shape of its leaves. This plant is also known as desert cabbage, and dog tongue.

Flapjack Kalanchoe is appropriately nicknamed for the fleshy leaves that stack one on top of the other like pancakes. This interesting plant, which reaches heights of up to 2 feet at maturity, At maturity, the plant develops a spiky, dark yellow bloom.

Flapjack Kalanchoe is often grown as an indoor plant, but it can grow outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11.

  1. Plant Flapjack Kalanchoe flapjack where it receives several hours of bright sunlight but is protected during the hottest part of the day. Avoid total shade, which causes the plant to become long and spindly. Sunlight brings out the intense red leaf edges.
  2. Water Flapjack Kalanchoe deeply whenever the top of the soil feels dry and let the soil dry before watering again, as Kalanchoe rots quickly in the muddy soil. Check the leaves often during the winter months, and water only when the leaves begin to appear shriveled.
  3. Spread a thin layer of sand or gravel on the soil around the plant to moderate soil moisture, drainage, and temperature. Arrange the material so it doesn’t contact the stem, as sand or gravel may become hot enough to damage the plant.

Fertilize flapjack two to four times per year with the first application in the spring when new growth starts. Apply the last fertilizer in the fall then stop through the winter. Use a slow-release, balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 product, to supply continuous nutrients between feedings.

FlapJack Kalanchoe
FlapJack Kalanchoe

Dig up the Flapjack Kalanchoe and remove the original parent plant when it dies at the end of the blooming season. Replant the offsets that grow at the base of the parent plant to keep the plant vibrant and healthy long-term.

Like other succulents with overlapping leaves along a single stem, when Kalanchoe blooms, the entire plant elongates. Therefore, if your goal is to have a lot of new little plants, one option is to let the mother plant bloom. Providing it survives the effort (they usually do, but not always), you’ve hit the jackpot. Consequently, you can harvest each cluster with several inches of stem attached to anchor it and start it as a cutting. Roots will grow from leaf axils (where leaves are attached to the stem).

This neat succulent doesn’t require any pruning or trimming during or after the growing season. The only exception is the flower stalk. After the flapjack flowers, cut out the dead flower stalk where it attaches to the main plant. Flapjack is grown as a foliage plant, and flowers only appear after three to four years, so in general, you can get by without any pruning. Flapjack doesn’t attract pests and rarely suffers from diseases and other problems.

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