Copper spoons (Kalanchoe orgyalis) is a succulent characterized by its oblong, copper leaves. In its native Madagascar, it typically grows alongside shrubs on dry, rocky soils. It grows well as a houseplant, in mixed containers, and as part of drought-tolerant landscaping.
The upper sides of the leaves are copper to orange with silver to gray-green on the underside. They are covered in fine hairs and have a felt-like appearance. Mature leaves will turn gray-green over time. In late winter to early spring, small, tubular orange to yellow flowers emerge on slender stems.
|Scientific Name||Kalanchoe orgyalis|
|Common Names||Copper Spoons, Cinnamon Bear|
|Plant Type||Succulent, perennial|
|Size||Up to 12-18” tall (usually smaller as a houseplant)|
|USDA Hardiness Zones||9-11|
|Propagation Methods||Offsets, leaf cuttings, stem cuttings, seed|
|Climate||Arid to semi-arid|
|Soil Type||Well-draining, rocky|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun to partial shade|
Copper Spoons Care
Kalanchoe orgyalis prefers several hours of bright light a day. In full sun, the leaves develop a deeper, copper coloring. In weaker light, the leaves will fade to peach or gray-green. Prolonged exposure to sun in extreme heat may cause sunburn. Place next to an east- or south-facing window and use a sheer curtain to create filtered light during hot weather. Outdoors, provide shelter using shade cloth or bring containers to a shaded location in extreme heat.
Copper spoons is adapted to growing in well-draining, rocky, and sandy soils. For container plants, mix two parts succulent soil with one part pumice or perlite and one part coarse sand. Avoid planting in heavy clay outdoors. Consider planting in raised beds and rock gardens to provide better drainage.
Water once the soil is dry during the spring and summer—this may be every one or two weeks. Water thoroughly and allow excess to drain away. The plant prefers to be almost completely dry through the winter. Water only when the leaves begin to slightly shrivel.
Copper spoons does best in dry climates with low humidity. It can tolerate moderate humidity but will not do well in a humid location such as a bathroom. If growing in a region with moderate to high humidity, provide good airflow between the plants and ensure the soil is able to dry out between watering.
Feed with a diluted, balanced fertilizer 2 to 3 times during the growing season. Kalanchoe orgyalis prefers nutrient-poor soils and is sensitive to over-fertilizing.
Tip: Apply the fertilizer to moist soil to protect the roots from fertilizer burn. Water the plant lightly afterward to help distribute the nutrients.
Copper spoons is a slow-growing plant that does not require regular pruning. Occasional maintenance can help to manage size, appearance, and health. Prune in the spring or early summer.
- Remove dead or damaged leaves.
- Trim back leggy stems.
- Cut back to control size. Make the cut just above the leaf node to encourage new, healthy growth.
Note: Use a sharp knife or pair of scissors. Sterilize tools with rubbing alcohol before and after pruning.
Mature Kalanchoe orgyalis produces flowers in late winter and early spring. Individual flowers may last several weeks and the plant can produce multiple flowers throughout the blooming period.
- Provide adequate light.
- Maintain a stable temperature range of 65 °F to 75 °F.
- Provide 12 to 14 hours of darkness at night from late summer through fall.
- Remove spent flowers.
- Avoid pruning, moving, or disturbing the plant once the flower buds appear.
Copper Spoons Propagation
Kalanchoe orgyalis propagates well by offsets, leaf, and stem cuttings. It is possible to grow from seed but it is a slower process. Propagate in the spring.
Offsets (pups) are a natural method of reproduction for many succulents. New, small rosettes develop from the base of the main stem of the parent plant.
- Choose offsets that are well-developed.
- Hold the offset by the stem and gently pull to separate from the parent plant. If there is resistance, use a sharp, sterilized knife.
- Let the offset dry for a few days.
- Plant the calloused end in a well-draining, gritty substrate and water lightly.
- Place in bright light but avoid direct sunlight. Offsets can take several weeks to root.
Propagating Kalanchoe orgyalis by leaf is a straightforward process but it can be less reliable than offsets.
- Gently remove a healthy leaf from the parent plant.
- Let the leaf dry for a few days.
- Lay onto a slightly moist, well-draining substrate.
- Roots may develop in 4 to 6 weeks.
Copper spoons propagates well from stem cuttings. It is a good option for leggy or overgrown plants.
- Select a young, healthy stem.
- Using a clean, sharp knife or pair of scissors, cut a length of stem 3 to 4 inches long.
- Let the cutting dry for a few days.
- Plant in a well-draining, gritty substrate and keep lightly moist.
- Place in bright light but avoid direct sunlight. Roots should develop in 4 to 6 weeks.
Tip: Rooting time for stem and leaf cuttings can vary depending on the environment. Provide a stable temperature range of 65 °F to 75 °F, avoid extreme temperature fluctuations, and use a plastic covering to create a humid microclimate.
Repot every 2 years in the spring or once the plant shows signs of outgrowing its container.
- Overcrowded roots.
- Overcrowded foliage.
- Compacted soil.
- Poor health or loss of vigor.
Choose a slightly larger pot that has adequate drainage and plant with fresh substrate.
It is possible to grow the copper spoons plant outside all year round in USDA zones 9-11. Bring containers indoors in colder climates when temperatures drop below 30 °F. Continue to provide several hours of bright light through the winter. Water sparingly, keeping the soil almost completely dry.
- Shriveled, wrinkled, or limp leaves: Caused by underwatering. Check the soil moisture before watering thoroughly.
- Soft, mushy, or discolored leaves and stems: Caused by overwatering. Allow the soil to dry completely. In severe cases, replant in fresh, dry substrate.
- Brown or white spots: Symptom of sunburn. Leaves may also become dry and papery if combined with underwatering. Protect from intense sun in hot climates. Remove damaged leaves.
- Leggy growth, smaller leaves, and faded coloring: Caused by insufficient light. Provide the plant with several hours of bright light a day. Consider cutting back leggy stems and regrowing new, compact plants from the cuttings.
- Mealybugs: White, cotton-like appearance. Remove bugs carefully using a Q-tip soaked in rubbing alcohol. Spray the plant with diluted neem oil. Avoid humid conditions.
- Scale insects: Appear as small black bumps on the stems. Remove using a soft brush soaked in a mild insecticidal soap.
- Spider mites: Signs of infestation include a fine webbing over the foliage and discoloration. Most likely to attack young stems. Spray with water and treat with a mild insecticidal soap. These pests prefer dry conditions.
- Root rot: Caused overwatering and poor drainage. Symptoms include soft, mushy stems and leaves. Repot into fresh, dry substrate and water only once the soil is completely dry. Ensure the container has good drainage.
- Powdery mildew: Caused by humid conditions and poor ventilation. Symptoms include a white powdery coating or yellowing leaves. Isolate the plant, prune affected areas, and use a fungicide in severe cases. Provide good airflow and dry conditions.