Succulent Care for Paddle Plants: A Flapjack Growing Guide

The paddle plant is a blooming succulent with flat, wide, spoon-shaped jade green leaves with a crimson flush. This low-maintenance succulent is distinguished by its wide spatulate leaves. The paddle plant, also known as the ‘flapjack’ succulent, is simple to care for all it needs is lots of sunshine and dry, sandy soil.

Paddle plants come in two kinds that might appear very similar. Both are members of the Crassulaceae succulent family’s Kalanchoe genus. There are minor differences between Kalanchoe thyrsiflora and Kalanchoe luciae succulent forms, however.

All the information you need about growing paddle plants indoors can be found on this page. In addition, you will learn how to distinguish between the two types of paddle plants. At the end of the article, you’ll find tips on how to overcome challenges when growing paddle plants at home.

Caring For Your Paddle Plant 

To care for a paddle plant, set it in direct sunshine in a warm, dry location. The optimum soil for the kalanchoe paddle plant in sandy soil with good drainage. Only water the succulent when the soil is completely dry. Keep the temperature between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (16 and 29 degrees Celsius).

Facts about Paddle Plants

The evergreen succulents Kalanchoe luciae and Kalanchoe thyrsiflora are members of the Crassulaceae family. Paddle plants have rosette-shaped leaves that are thick and waxy green. Kalanchoe luciae has redder foliage. The jade-green leaves feature lovely red tones.

Paddle plants flourish in the sun and thrive in warm, dry environments. These heat-loving succulents can’t stand the cold and will die if the temperature drops below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius). Paddle plants may only be found outside in USDA zones 10 to 12.

Paddle plants are named for their broad, spoon-shaped, rounded leaves. These 2 Kalanchoe species are also known as ‘flapjacks,’ ‘desert cabbage, “red pancakes,’ and ‘white lady.’

The paddle plant, also known as the flapjack succulent, grows between 1 and 2 feet (30–60 cm) tall. When grown in pots, however, the succulent grows compactly and seldom exceeds 10″ in height.

Flowers from Paddle Plants

A blooming succulent, the paddle plant produces tubular blooms at the end of a long stalk. Flowers range in hue from yellow to green and bloom in late winter to early spring. Flower stems on paddle plants may grow up to 3 feet (1 meter) tall.

Kalanchoe thyrsiflora blooms have a sweeter perfume than Kalanchoe luciae blossoms and are more intensely scented. After blooming, the paddle plant dies. The plant, however, will continue to develop from the little ‘baby’ kalanchoes since it generates so many offsets. It’s important to know that paddle plants rarely blossom inside.

Leaves of Paddle Plant

Flapjack succulents feature appealing wedge-shaped gray-green leaves that taper toward the plant’s base. Paddle plant leaves are paddle-like or spoon-shaped and have no stems. As a basal rosette, the lovely squishy succulent leaves develop.

The term ‘flapjacks’ derives from the way the rosette leaves are arranged, which is similar to how pancakes are stacked. The alternative term for the rosettes is ‘desert cabbage,’ which relates to their cabbage-like form.

Paddle Plant Care Instructions

What Kind of Light Does a Paddle Plant Require?

Kalanchoe luciae and Kalanchoe thyrsiflora, both paddle plants, thrive in strong light. A sunny windowsill is ideal for growing a paddle plant. To avoid leaf burn throughout the summer, it’s a good idea to shield the succulent from direct sunshine.

Give paddle plants as much sunshine as possible throughout the winter months. The lovely crimson hue of the Kalanchoe thyrsiflora leaves is enhanced by direct sunshine. The leaves of Kalanchoe luciae are more intensely crimson than the foliage of Kalanchoe thyrsiflora.

Paddle plants may thrive in the shade as well. The succulent foliage, on the other hand, loses its red tinges and turns a pale jade green tint. As the leaves extend toward the light, the rounded obovate leaves will likewise grow elongated.

The Best Soil for Succulent Paddle Plants

A paddle plant, like other succulents, has to be grown in loose, aerated, sandy soil with good drainage. You should make sure the soil dries out quickly between waterings. Draining holes in the container to let water to drain freely is essential for healthy paddle plant growth.

Make a succulent soil mix for paddle plants by mixing two parts potting soil, one part perlite, and one part coarse horticultural sand. This potting mix helps water to drain rapidly while yet retaining enough moisture to keep succulent roots healthy. You may also add more sand to the succulent potting mix for desert plants.

Paddle plants are best grown in clay pots when grown indoors. The porous material allows the soil to dry faster, reducing the risk of excess soil moisture.

Watering a Paddle Plant

When the top 2″ or 3″ (5–7.5 cm) of soil is fully dry, water a paddle plant succulent. A flapjack succulent may only require watering every two weeks throughout the summer. Water it as little as possible or not at all throughout the winter.

Succulent paddle plants can withstand drought. So, rather than overwatering them, it’s always best to submerge them.

When it comes to watering paddle plants, the best advice is to let the soil dry up first. Although every two weeks is recommended, this is only a guideline. Temperature, container type, potting mix, and sunshine, for example, may all influence how often you water a paddle plant.

Poke your finger into the dirt 2″ (5 cm) before watering. It’s time to water the plant if the potting mix is completely dry.

The Ideal Temperature for Paddle Plant Growth

The paddle plant thrives at temperatures ranging from 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C). The heat-loving succulent, on the other hand, will thrive in temperatures as low as 60°F (16°C) and as high as 85°F (29°C). Kalanchoe plants can withstand temperatures as low as 30°F (-1°C) before their leaves are destroyed.

The wonderful part about Kalanchoe flapjack succulents is that they can thrive at any temperature. So keep the potted paddle plant away from a chilly draft, an open window, or a hot air vent. Changing temperatures will stress the plant, causing its spoon-shaped leaves to droop or curl.

If you reside in USDA zones 10 through 12, you may cultivate paddle plants outside. Kalanchoe plants can be grown in pots outside in the summer and brought inside when the temperature goes below 60°F (16°C) if you live in a colder area.

Humidity Requirements for Paddle Plants

For effective care of paddle plants, keep the average room humidity below 40%. Known only from the arid climate of South Africa, paddle plants are endemic.
 To minimize fungal disease and powdery mildew, the foliage must also be protected from dampness and moisture.

What to Feed a Paddle Plant

During the growth season, paddle plants benefit from light fertilizing every two months. Use half strength of balanced houseplant fertilizer. You may also use a fertilizer made specifically for succulents and cactus plants. Paddle plants should not be fertilized over the winter to promote optimal development.

Paddle Plant Pruning Instructions

Pruning paddle plants remove leggy growth and allow for leaf propagation. A mature paddle plant can also grow densely, crowding away offsets or infant plants. Flower stalks should be pruned to focus the plant’s energy on producing the fleshy leaves, according to some plant specialists.

To prune a paddle plant, cut the stems at the soil level with sterilized tools. There may be numerous succulent leaves on a stalk that resemble a cabbage rosette. Leaf cuttings can then be used to propagate new leaves.

Should you let your flapjack succulents to blooming? Many people dismiss tubular Kalanchoe blossoms as trivial and unworthy of preservation. The bloom stem can be snipped short to keep the succulent’s development contained. Cutting the blooms will not hurt the paddle plant and may even help it grow more quickly.

How to Grow a Paddle Plant from Seed

Leaf cuttings, offsets, and seeds are commonly used to propagate paddle plants. Paddle kalanchoe plants should be propagated in the spring or summer.

To reproduce through leaf cuttings, remove a few healthy leaves as near to the stem as possible from the mother plant. Allow the wound to heal by placing it on a paper towel for a few days. Place the sliced leaf in a tiny container filled with succulent soil. Place the tray in a bright spot and spray the soil every now and then to keep it moist.

Replanting offsets is the simplest technique to propagate a paddle plant. Look for little microscopic plants around the base of the shrub. Remove them with a sharp knife or by hand. Then, in indirect sunlight, plant the newborn succulent in wet potting soil.

Place the seeds in a damp, permeable medium and lightly cover with soil to produce paddle plants from seed. Maintain temperatures between 71°F and 76°F (22°C – 25°C) by covering the seed tray with plastic and placing it in dappled light. Before transplanting the kalanchoe seedlings to a larger container, wait till they appear.

Diseases Affecting the Growth of Paddle Plants

Plant diseases that attack paddle plants include root rot and powdery mildew. Always water Kalanchoe succulents properly to keep them free of fungal disease. Water only when the soil is dry, and avoid spraying water on the leaves.

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