Mother of Millions Plant: A Complete Guide to Care and Growth

Kalanchoe delagoensis, commonly known as the mother of millions plant, is a captivating succulent that is both easy to care for and enjoyable to grow. In this article, we will explore all the essential information you need to keep your Kalanchoe delagoensis thriving for years to come and add a touch of character to your home or garden.

Understanding the Mother of Millions Plant

Originating from Madagascar, the mother of millions plant, also known as the chandelier plant, is a remarkable succulent with tubular leaves that can reach between 2 to 5 inches in length. What sets this plant apart is its unique ability to produce small plantlets, or pups, on the end of its leaves. If left untended, these babies will fall off and root themselves, creating a multitude of new plants.

Different Varieties of Mother of Millions

While many people use the terms “mother of millions” and “mother of thousands” interchangeably when referring to this plant, it’s important to note that there is only one true mother of millions: Kalanchoe delagoensis. Another related species, Kalanchoe daigremontiana, is often confused with the mother of millions plant due to their similar growth habits and care requirements. However, Kalanchoe daigremontiana has wider v-shaped leaves and green foliage.

The Beauty of Mother of Millions Flowers

The mother of millions plant, aptly nicknamed the “chandelier plant,” produces trumpet-shaped flowers that grow in circular clusters atop tall stalks. While these fragrant blooms are a beautiful sight outdoors during late winter to early summer, they are rare indoors. The flowers’ colors can range from pale salmon to hot pink or bright orange, adding a vibrant touch to your garden.

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Important Considerations for Growing Kalanchoe delagoensis

Before delving into caring for the mother of millions plant, it’s crucial to choose the right location for its growth. While this plant thrives in zones 9-11 as a perennial, it is better suited for overwintering or exclusive indoor cultivation in other areas.

The ideal spot for a Kalanchoe delagoensis is somewhere bright, with partial shade being ideal for outdoor growth. Indoors, the plant requires diffused bright light to flourish. Additionally, the mother of millions plant prefers well-draining soil and can be grown in both gardens and containers.

Caring for and Growing the Mother of Millions Plant

To ensure the health and longevity of your mother of millions plant, follow these care instructions:

Light

Providing your mother of millions plant with 4-6 hours of bright light each day is vital to maintain the marbling pattern on its leaves. Insufficient light can result in leggy and pale growth. In outdoor settings, place the plant in a bright partial shade location protected from intense afternoon sun. During winter, they can tolerate direct sunlight. If growing indoors, consider supplementing with a grow light if natural sunlight is limited.

Water

Water your Kalanchoe delagoensis plant only when the soil is dry several inches down, making sure to drain any excess water from the pot. Overwatering can lead to drooping leaves, shedding pups, and eventually root rot. A water moisture gauge is a helpful tool to ensure proper watering.

Temperature

Ideally, the temperature for the mother of millions plant should range between 60-95°F. It stops growing when the temperature drops below 50°F and can suffer damage or even die if exposed to prolonged cooler temperatures. Bring the plant indoors when temperatures begin to drop in the fall, and during heat waves, increase watering to compensate for the higher temperatures.

Fertilizer

While not a necessary part of their regular care routine, monthly feedings with organic houseplant or cactus fertilizer during spring and summer can stimulate growth. Avoid chemical-based options, as they can do more harm than good.

Soil

Kalanchoe delagoensis is not particular about soil type and can thrive in poor or infertile conditions. However, it will do best in loose, sandy, well-draining soil. A combination of potting soil and perlite, along with a few handfuls of coarse sand, makes an excellent soil mix.

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Repotting

Due to its rapid growth, the mother of millions plant may require repotting every few years. Check for roots coming out of the drainage holes to determine when it’s time to repot. Spring or summer is the best time for repotting, or after the plant has finished flowering for the year. Use a container that is 1-2 inches larger and has drainage holes, planting the new container at the same depth as the original one.

Pruning

Pruning is an effective way to control the growth rate and encourage denser foliage. In spring or summer, use sharp, sterile snips to cut back the top, just above a large leaf. This pruning technique will prompt the plant to branch out lower along the main stem. Deadheading spent flowers after they fade is also beneficial.

Pest Control Tips

When properly cared for, the mother of millions plant rarely faces issues with insect pests. However, mealybugs, scale, or whiteflies can occasionally attack the plant. Combat these pests naturally using solutions like neem oil or insecticidal soap. Cleaning the plant with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol can also remove visible bugs.

Propagating the Mother of Millions Plant

Propagation of Kalanchoe delagoensis is incredibly simple, which explains its common name. The plantlets fall off and root themselves naturally. However, it’s possible to propagate them faster by gently bending or twisting off a baby plant, allowing it to callous over for a day, dipping it in rooting hormone, and planting it on top of moist, well-draining soil. Stem cuttings can also be rooted to establish larger plants more quickly.

Troubleshooting Common Care Problems

Mother of millions plants are generally low-maintenance but may encounter the following issues over time:

Leaves Turning Brown

Brown leaves can result from sunburn or prolonged drought. To prevent this, keep the plant out of direct sun during the hottest part of the day and avoid allowing the soil to remain dry for extended periods.

Leaves Curling or Shrinking

Curled or shriveled leaves may indicate too much sun or a lack of water. Provide bright but indirect light and water the plant when the soil is dry a few inches down. Avoid overwatering to prevent issues of root rot.

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Plant Falling Over

If your mother of millions plant is falling over, it may be due to excess water or top-heaviness. Consider repotting the plant into a larger, sturdier container every few years. Limp, wilting, and drooping plants often indicate excessive moisture, which can lead to root rot.

Growing Tall and Leggy

Long stems with sparse leaves are a sign of insufficient light. Move the plant to a brighter location or provide supplemental grow lights indoors. Pruning the top will encourage more compact and fuller growth.

Lack of Babies/Pups

If your mother of millions plant is healthy but not producing babies, it may be due to insufficient light or nutrients or being too cold. Additionally, some plants only produce babies during late winter or early spring. Inadequate sunlight can be remedied by moving the plant to a full sun location or supplementing with a grow light. Ensure the plant receives ample warmth (above 65°F) and consider fertilizing monthly with a general-purpose solution.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mother of Millions

Here are some commonly asked questions about Kalanchoe delagoensis care:

How big does mother of millions grow?

With proper care, a mother of millions plant can reach heights of up to 6 feet. However, when grown indoors or in containers, they typically reach heights of around 3 feet.

Is the mother of millions plant invasive?

The mother of millions plant is considered invasive in some regions due to its ability to self-propagate by shedding pups.

Does the mother of millions plant like humidity?

No, the mother of millions plant does not thrive in high humidity. It prefers dry and hot environments.

Now that you have a comprehensive understanding of Kalanchoe delagoensis, you can confidently care for this low-maintenance plant in your home or garden. Use these mother of millions care tips to ensure its health and longevity. For more detailed information on maintaining healthy indoor plants, download our Houseplant Care eBook. Share your own tips and experiences with the mother of millions plant in the comments section below.

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