Mother of thousands ‘kalanchoe’ is a unique and undemanding houseplant with tiny platelets that grow along the edges of the leaves. It is a tolerant and low-maintenance plant native in the subtropical regions of Madagascar. The plant takes about two to five years to mature, and it got its name from the baby plantlets that grow along the edges of its leaves.
When grown, Mother of thousands has small dangling, pinkish-gray flowers that bloom at the start of warmer seasons. Kalanchoe is a hardy, drought-tolerant plant and can handle intense heat. However, unlike many succulents, Mother of thousands will do better when it receives regular and gradual watering, especially during growing seasons.
The plant will need water once every few weeks and stay without any water for about the same time. This article will discuss the 5 golden rules for watering the Mother of thousands and maintaining its health. Before watering, ensure the following factors are right to get maximum results from the watering process.
- There is plenty of bright light, ranging from 4-6 hours of indirect sunlight. Insufficient light will stress the plant and slow down its growth.
- Requires temperatures that are far above freezing. Kalanchoes have a low resistance to frost and die if exposed to it.
- Fertilize the plant to grow appropriately and fast.
When watering, consider the following:
Know When to Water the Plant
There is no fixed schedule on how to water Kalanchoe. Mother of thousands is succulent, which means they store water on their leaves, roots, and stems. While learning how often to water these plants, remember that they originate from arid climates where rainfall is rare.
While factors determine how often to water the plant, the basic rule will always remain. Water only when the soil in the growing container is bone dry. If the soil is not crumbly or dirty dirt, don’t water the plant. You can also insert your finger 2 inches into the ground to see if it needs water.
Know-How to Water Your Plant
Succulents like Kalanchoe are not watered the same way as other plants. Since Mothers of thousands are native in arid areas where they don’t get enough rainfall, when it rains, it pours. So it would help if you imitated the desert rain, which tends to come from the sky in sheets, by drenching it when watering. Pour water at the bottom of your Kalanchoe slowly, and don’t stop until the water comes out of the drain holes at the bottom.
Mother of thousands does better with periodic long, endless drinks that soak the soil entirely to the bottom than timid watering that wets the topsoil only. When watering, ensure that you water at the base to prevent water from splashing to your plant’s leaves, stem, and branches. These will prevent the fungal disease from infecting the plant. The leaves are most vulnerable because they will start rotting.
When applying overhead irrigation, make sure to do it in the morning because the plant has enough time to dry out in the sun. When done in the evening, it will help cool the plant, but this could cause fungal infections. This is dangerous, especially during winter, when the plant is exposed to frost.
There is a Difference in How you Water Kalanchoe Indoor and Outdoor.
Indoor and outdoor Kalanchoes are watered differently. Different temperatures in the plant environment determine the soil moisture, and this is based on whether the plant is indoors or outdoors. Therefore, water amounts and watering methods vary based on the plant environment. Below is how you water them.
Watering indoor Mother of thousands
Indoor Kalanchoe tends to retain water longer than outdoor ones. If you realize the soil is dry, you can leave the plant for one more day then water it. You can leave the plant for even three days during the winter season before you embark on watering, as moisture levels are high.
Indoor succulents will require a pot with a hole in the bottom to remove the excess water. Avoid watering the plant frequently because the evaporation rate is slow. In addition, watering the plant frequently will make the soil dump, leading to root rot.
When it comes to misting, exclude the succulents that are planted indoors. The water may not dry out because of the low lights and temperatures. In addition, misting will lead to a fungal infection. If you spill water on the plant’s leaves, no worries; wipe it out with a towel.
Watering Outdoor Kalanchoes
Keep the soil moderately moist for the outdoor Kalanchoes. Remember to water the plant when the top 1 inch of the soil has dried out. For outdoor succulents, water the plant more often during the summer season to help the plant cope with the high temperatures. Watering your outdoor Kalanchoes will require less water during the winter season due to the high humidity in the soil.
Avoid waterlogging and stagnation.
The biggest mistake that can happen to your plant is overwatering. Three reasons will mainly cause overwatering
Lack of proper soil drainage
The soil used to plant Mother of thousands should have a high draining capability. Due to the increased ability of the plant to absorb quickly, the remaining excess water should be removed from the pot to prevent soaking of the leaves. Proper soil is made-up of cactus soil or succulent soil. You can make your mix that will include
- Two parts sand
- Two parts gardening soil
- 1 part perlite or pumice
The purpose of adding the pumice or perlite is to help in the soil’s aeration and drainage quality.
Lack of drainage holes at the bottom of the container no matter the container you use, it must have a drainage hole at the bottom of the pot. The drainage holes remove excess water from the pot when enough water is taken. The lack of these holes makes the excess water stay in the plant’s root cap area, which leads to root rot.
Even if the soil is good, if there are no drainage holes at the bottom of the container, there will still be stagnation. One of the proper pots to use is the terracotta pot which is a breathing pot and will ensure that it drains all the excess water.
Frequent watering, especially during the winter season, will lead to overwatering. As a result, Kalanchoes’ need for water during this season is less. The temperatures are low; hence the evaporation rate is also slow as the plant is in its dormancy stage, which means there is little growing.
If you can solve these three causes, you will have your plant for long because you have managed to eliminate root rot. However, if your plant has already been infested by root rot, do the following:
- Remove the plant from the soil
- Cut the affected area of the plant to remain with the healthy part
- Replant the healthy part in new soil
- Use the Correct Type of Water for your Kalanchoe.
Any water you use will work, but to what extent? The type of water you use for your Kalanchoe determines how well and healthy your plant will be. When you use soft water with high sodium ratios, it can destroy the plant. This sodium tends to build up in the soil, destroying the process of the root tapping in the air from the soil.
Tap water, on the other hand, contains calcium and magnesium components. However, using this water for a long time will leave marks on the plant, and their buildup on the soil will destroy both the plant’s appearance and health. You can correct this issue by boiling the water overnight, leaving it cool, and watering in the morning.
Rainwater is the best and preferred water to use on your Mother of thousands. Rainwater comprises the right and the best minerals for this plant. Rainwater is also easily absorbed by the root of the plant. You can store the water for later use when it rains.
How to Remove Build-up of Minerals
If there is a buildup of unwanted minerals in your plant, you can find a solution to remove them. You can decide to repot the plant and reduce the buildup. You can also use a tablespoon of vinegar and some distilled water. Mix the water and the distilled water, and using a cotton ball, wipe all the visible stains on your plant.
In any season of the year, proper watering of the plant will significantly help the plant. Watering the plant properly will keep the Mother of thousands actively growing during the summer and spring seasons and prepare them for blooming.
Before you go ahead and purchase this succulent, ensure you have prepared the right pot and right soil for the plant. While maintaining the watering rules, don’t forget the other conditions that enhance the proper health of the plant.