1. Scientific name: Kalanchoe thyrsiflora
2. Family: Crassulaceae
3. Common names: Flapjack plant, desert cabbage, paddle plant
4. Native to: South Africa
5. Description: A succulent perennial. Large, spatula-shaped, leathery leaves are 3 to 4 inches long and wide, and attached to the stem without a leaf stalk. The leaves are opposite, covered with a thick whitish wax and blushed with red margins. The leaves are stacked on each other like flapjacks to form a rosette, and face upward to reduce leaf exposure to the hot sun. The flowers are produced on tall, leafy stalks after the plants mature, usually three to four years. Individual flowers are small and held close to the stalk in dense clusters. Flowers are yellow-green and tubular. The main or mother plant dies after flowering; however, offsets are produced.
6. Light: Grows in full sun and partial shade. However, bright light is required to keep the red leaf margins; the plants becomes greener in shade.
7. Soil/moisture: Tolerant of most well-drained soils; very drought tolerant once established and very salt tolerant.
8. Culture/use: Flapjack Kalanchoe provides a bold look in your Boston indoor office plantings. Use it in beds in your lobbies, as an accent, and in containers and rock gardens. Though very drought tolerant, it will stand some water in the summer and should stand up to the Florida rainy season. Blooming signals the end of the plant’s life cycle. Remove the mother plant when it dies and thin the offsets as necessary for a neat look; otherwise, long-term plantings develop mounds of flapjack plant. Kalanchoes in general are not known to be heavy feeders; apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer with minor elements two to four times per year or as needed. Mulch to suppress weeds, but keep the mulch well away from the stem.
9. Notes and misuses: Flapjack Kalanchoe generally is not susceptible to pests. However, it can be susceptible to rots in wet or over watered locations.
At Plantscape Designs Inc. we apply succulents such as “flapjacks” in our high light areas of our Boston indoor plant designs.