The Panda Plant is a perennial succulent native to Madagascar. Kalanchoe tomentosa is considered an easy-care plant with a unique texture. The plant is also known as Chocolate Soldiers due to the foliage’s coloring.
Panda Plant Appearance
The fuzzy foliage is gray-green with chocolate-brown edges. The fuzzy texture comes from the silver-colored hairs that cover the Panda succulent’s leaves. The foliage is thick and, like most succulents, stores water for later use. Featuring a woody base, the plant grows 2 feet (61 cm) tall and wide. The plant is not known for blooming indoors.
The Panda Succulents Light Requirements
Provide medium to bright sunlight for the Panda Plant. A South-facing window works well, as does a place in a room that receives bright light all day. If moving the plant outside, dappled sunlight is recommended to avoid scorching the plant’s leaves.
Panda Plant Care: Proper Watering
Due to the plant’s water-storing abilities, water only when the soil feels dry. Pour the water until the moisture runs through the pot’s drainage holes. Let the soil drain for a few minutes, then dispose of the collected water in the drip tray to ensure the roots don’t sit in soggy soil. A missed watering here and there will not harm the plant, but shriveled leaves indicates the plant is dehydrated and needs moisture. Reduce watering during the winter months when the Panda succulent goes dormant.
Soil and Fertilizer Requirements
A succulent or cactus soil mix is recommended and provides enough drainage to keep the roots healthy. Feed your plant once per month with a liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength. Repeat this schedule starting in early spring to the end of summer. Withhold all feedings during fall and winter.
Temperature and Humidity Levels
Average household humidity and temperatures between 60 and 75 Fahrenheit (15.5 to 23.8 Celsius) are what this low water plant prefers. As with most succulent plants, the Panda Plant is not frost tolerant so temperatures below 50F (10C) need to be avoided. The plant also does not tolerate high humidity, which causes fungal issues for the plant.
Propagating the Panda Succulent
Propagation of the Panda Plant is done by its leaves. Remove a healthy leaf with a sharp and sterile knife during the spring or summer. Let the leaf cutting sit for two to three days to form a callus on the cut end. Fill a small pot with a succulent soil and press the cut end of the leaf into the soil. Ensure the leaf is secure. Keep the soil moist and place the pot in indirect sunlight until new growth occurs. This signals healthy roots have formed. If needed, transplant the new plant into a bigger pot.
Common Pests and Diseases
Mealybugs are a common problem with Panda succulents. The insects feed off the plant’s leaves, causing damage to the plant. Remove the pests manually by wiping them away with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.
As is common with succulents, root rot is a disease that occurs when the plant is consistently over watered. Yellowing leaves and stunted growth is a common sign of the disease. Decrease watering immediately and remove the plant from its pot. Inspect the roots and use sharp and sterile shears to remove any dark and mushy roots. Repot the plant, using fresh soil, in a clean pot to ensure the soil fungus does not transfer.
Panda Plant FAQ
Yes, the Panda succulent is considered toxic and should be kept away from pets and small children.
Prune your plant to remove any damaged or diseased leaves, as well as to control the plant’s size, if needed.
On average, the Panda succulent grows 2 inches per year.
Proper Panda Plant care recommends using an unglazed terracotta or clay pot, which will wick up excess moisture and help with root health.
A leggy plant indicates a lack of proper sunlight. Move your plant to a spot with medium to bright light to correct the issue.