- Plants & Flowers
- Kalanchoe, Chocolate Soldier, Panda Plant, Pussy Ears, Teddy Bear Plant ‘Chocolate Soldier’
- Chocolate Soldier
Plants & Flowers
Common name: Kalanchoe Panda Plant, Panda Plant, Pussy Ears, Chocolate Soldier, Cocoon Plant, Velvet Leaf Kalanchoe, Plush Plant, White Lady, Panda-Bear Plant, Kalanchoe
Distribution and habitat: Kalanchoe tomentosa is a succulent sub-shrub native of Madagascar. It is found on granite rocks, growing up to 45cm (1.5 feet) tall.
The dense covering of hairs performs a vital function for the plant as water conservation adaptation. In the dry environment in which it lives, the plant must conserve what little water it can absorb from the soil. The dense mat of hairs growing from the leaf retards the movement of air directly across the leaf surface, thereby reducing water vapor loss due to transpiration process. In the same time, this unventilated space created by the numerous trichomes insulates the leaf from its harsh external environment, too. In addition, the white-silver appearance of the leaves reflects light, lessening the chances of the leaves overheating.
Description: The Kalanchoe tomentosa is a very handsome foliage species. It has loose rosette of oval leaves borne on woody stems up to 45cm (1.5 feet) high. The 3-8cm (1-3 inch) long leaves are covered with fine, bristly hairs, which are silvered-coloured except in patches at the edge, where they change to rusty orange on young leaves or chocolate brown on older ones.
The thick stem produces branches and many groups of leaves, once it matures. When they are pruned well they have a kind of tree or bush look and can produce branches growing below pot level – therefore, this plant is suitable for growing in a hanging at this stage. The leaves are mainly oval shaped, although it is likely to have few leaves randomly grow in whatever shape and form.
Although this plant can flower within its natural habitat, producing fuzzy, bell-shaped flowers in spring and summer – it is rare to see flowers bloom indoors, so it is grown for primarily its foliage within homes or offices.
Proper care: Kalanchoe tomentosa is a fairly easy succulent plant species to care for and maintain.
If the furry leaves of this plant need to be cleaned, brush them gently with a soft, dry brush, such as a small paintbrush.
Light: Kalanchoe tomentosa is – like many other succulents loves growing in bright light and sunshine. This plant prefers a mixture of direct and indirect sunlight or shade.
Temperature: Temperatures between 15-23ºC (60-75ºF) are advised. Like most plants, Kalanchoe tomentosa will benefit from good ventilation, but should not be exposed to prolonged draughts.
Normal room humidity is fine and it may also tolerate dry air.
Watering: Only water Kalanchoe tomentosa once the soil has become dry and then soak the soil, but do not leave water in the bottom tray. During the winter this plant needs less water.
Because Kalanchoe tomentosa is a succulent – it stores water within its leaves – even if it is neglected for a period of time the plant will survive.
Water from the bottom or water the potting mix. Avoid getting the furry leaves of this plant wet because they’ll easily rot.
Feeding: Feed Kalanchoe tomentosa once every four weeks with a diluted fertiliser, from spring until the end of summer. Do not fertilise this plant during the rest period.
Potting and repotting: Use a cacti and succulent potting mixture or a soil based potting mixture with the addition of a small amount of coarse sand. Good drainage is important; have a shallow layer of clay-pot fragments at the bottom of the pot. Kalanchoe tomentosa plant is a slow grower which will only need repotting into pots one size larger once every two years and then less once it matures. The maximum pot size needed should be about 13cm (5 inch).
Gardening: Kalanchoe tomentosa is one of the easiest-to-grow succulents and looks wonderful mass planted in a hot spot in the garden. It needs dry conditions and is not suited to outdoor planting in high rainfall areas.
Kalanchoe tomentosa branches freely to make a prostrate clump. After a while, it can become straggly and should be clipped back to keep it in check and make it neat and tidy.
They need warm temperature and should be kept at a minimum of 10°C (50°F). Protect them from frost. These plants come from very warm areas and may develop rot if kept too cool.
Position: Kalanchoe tomentosa plants need light shade or shade in summer. Bright light will give the plant a woolliest appearance. However, it should not be subjected to the direct sun of midday.
Soil: Kalanchoe tomentosa needs a porous soil containing about one third grit with adequate drainage. Soil mix consisting of 2 parts sand to 1 part loam, with small gravel added to increase drainage
Irrigation: Kalanchoe tomentosa plants are drought tolerant, but came from damper climates than most succulents and like more water in the summer. Plants are watered and allow to dry thoroughly before watering again.
Fertilise: Fertilise only during the growing season (Spring and Summer) with a balanced cactus food or a liquid fertiliser diluted to half the strength recommended on the label.
Propagation: Leaf cuttings can be taken and planted in new soil during spring. Give the leaf cutting a week of drying out before re-potting, then they are expect to begin rooting within 4 weeks.
Propagation: It is propagated by stem cutting or by leaf cuttings in spring or summer. The trimmings resulted from shaping the plant, make ideal cuttings. Allow cuttings to dry out before repotting. These cuttings root easily in 8cm pots (3 inch) filled with a mixture of peat moss and sand. Place the pots in a warm position in bright filtered light. Water the mixture whenever the top 1-2cm (0.4-0.8 inch) dries out. The cuttings usually will produce roots in about 4 weeks. When roots have formed and new growth appears, move each young plant into a pot of standard mixture. Make sure that the pot is large enough to hold the roots. Thereafter, it should be possible to treat the plant as a mature Kalanchoe tomentosa.
Problems: Kalanchoe tomentosa, like most members of the Crassulaceae family, have succulent leaves which are a great attraction for pests such as mealy bugs. While this species is no more prone to attack than others, because of the silvery-white hairy leaves, it is easy to miss the first signs of these pests. Treatment: A regular, careful inspection is sensible. Occasional watering with systemic insecticides based on Imidacloprid will keep the plants free of mealy bugs.
If rot affects the plant, it normally starts at the root.
Treatment: If spotted early, cuttings can be made easily from the tips of the stems to make new plants.
Kalanchoe tomentosa cv. Chocolate Soldier: Individual leaves are more red-brown all around the edges and thinner and longer than for the standard species. It also grows a bit faster with more of a clumping habit.
Toxicity: All parts of Kalanchoe tomentosa plant are poisonous if ingested.
Uses and display: Once the Kalanchoe tomentosa plants matures, they look fantastic placed within a hanging basket or sitting in a conservatory. A conservatory is ideal because they do like their bright light and some sun. Whilst they are still small and growing, then near windows and on shelves which receive enough sunlight are good spots for displaying them.
Grow this Kalanchoe tomentosa in a rock garden or on a rock wall in mild climates. In cold areas, this heat-loving plant is grown as indoor plant or it is planted outdoors as an annual.
Kalanchoe tomentosa is drought-tolerant, therefore it is suitable for xeriscaping.
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – bushy
Height: 45cm (1.5 feet)
Watering in active growth period – sparingly
Light – direct
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – low
Hardiness zone: 9b-11
Evergreen, Foliage Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Succulents Chocolate Soldier, Cocoon Plant, Kalanchoe, Kalanchoe Panda Plant, Kalanchoe tomentosa, Panda Plant, Panda-Bear Plant, Plush Plant, Pussy Ears, Velvet Leaf Kalanchoe, White Lady
Kalanchoe tomentosa ‘Chocolate Soldier’
Chocolate Soldier, Teddy Bear Cactus, Panda Plant, Panda Bear Plant, Cocoon Plant, Velvet Leaf Kalanchoe, Pussy Ears, Plush Plant
Kalanchoe tomentosa ‘Chocolate Soldier’ is a beautiful succulent shrub that grows slowly up to 2.6 feet (80 cm) tall. Stems are erect, branched at the base, and densely hairy, with the base becoming woody with age. It has narrower leaves than Kalanchoe tomentosa and thicker dark chocolate brown margins. Flowers are small, bell-shaped, and yellow-green with dark brown petal tips.
USDA hardiness zone 9a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Locate the indoor Panda Plant in medium to bright light. As with most succulents, the soil should be allowed to dry between waterings. In fact, watering is a limited part of Panda Plant care. When you do water, do so completely while giving the plant the infrequent drink.
You’ll find humidity is not an issue when learning how to grow a Panda Plant successfully. The average room provides enough humidity for this easy-care, furry plant. The indoor Panda Plant can live for many years in these conditions.
Move it outside during spring and summer, if desired, but provide protection from the hot afternoon sun. Fertilize during these months with a balanced houseplant food mixed at half strength as a part of Panda Plant care.
When you’re growing Panda Plants, you’ll likely find more areas in the home that would benefit from one of these plants. Propagation of the Panda Plant is easy and an inexpensive way to get more of the plants. Root leaves of the plant in spring or summer in sandy potting soil or a perlite mixture… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for a Panda Plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa)
Kalanchoe tomentosa ‘Chocolate Soldier’ is a cultivar of Kalanchoe tomentosa.
- Back to genus Kalanchoe
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Kalanchoe, Chocolate Soldier, Panda Plant, Pussy Ears, Teddy Bear Plant ‘Chocolate Soldier’
Cactus and Succulents
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Sun to Partial Shade
Grown for foliage
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
Unknown – Tell us
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)
Where to Grow:
Suitable for growing in containers
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Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
From leaf cuttings
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From hardwood cuttings
Allow cut surface to callous over before planting
Unknown – Tell us
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
Casa de Oro-Mount Helix, California
El Macero, California
San Jose, California
Vista, California(9 reports)
Sarasota, Florida(2 reports)
Orangeburg, New York
League City, Texas
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Only the healthiest, top quality plants are selected from the Ezy Care Succulents nursery for your order. The size, colour, and shape of your shipment may vary according to the season, or when shipping to colder areas. All succulents are slightly dried prior to packaging and may look different to the photo. Preparation instructions are included in every order which are specific to the plants that you have ordered, and usually only take a few days to recover.
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