Succulent Showdown: Mother of Millions vs. Mother of Thousands

Mother of Thousands and Mother of Millions are two different types of plants. Both types of plants are succulent, meaning that they can live for long periods without water, and both reproduce through offsets or pups.

Mother of millions and Mother of thousands are probably the most commonly confused succulents worldwide. The confusion is understandable since both plant names start with “Mother of” and end with different numbers. You might even think the “thousand” is the “million’s” baby because of their striking resemblance. Furthermore, both of them are grown as decorative indoor plants. However, these succulents have significant differences that can help you tell them apart.

So, what are some key differences between Mother of millions and Mother of thousands? The Mother of millions (Kalanchoe daigremontiana) is a small succulent with a rosette shape and trailing stems. Leaves are oval-shaped, gray-green in color, and have tiny hairs along the margins. When mature, this succulent produces pink flowers on upright spikes. On the other hand, the Mother of thousands (Kalanchoe tubiflora) is a relatively larger succulent with rosette-like leaves that are much thicker than those of the Mother of millions. Leaves are dense and have distinct scalloped margins. This succulent only flowers occasionally.

This blog post discusses key differences between the Mother of millions and the Mother of thousands. Read on to find out everything you need to know.

Mother of Thousands: Overview

The Mother of thousands succulent, also known as the alligator or Mexican hat plant is native to Madagascar.

This succulent is beautiful and unusual, with relatively large leaves forming baby plantlets along the edges. Interestingly, the young plants usually fall from the mother plant and take root where they land.

The Mother of thousands is a relatively rapid grower that is considered invasive. When the plantlets fall from the mother plant and take root, they can be pretty hard to eliminate since they can tolerate even the harshest weather conditions.

Mother of thousands exposed to sunlight.
The Mother of thousands is a relatively rapid grower that is considered invasive.

The leaves of this succulent tend to produce more plantlets when it feels damaged, threatened, or when death is imminent.

The mass production of plantlets is an instinctive survival mechanism to ensure the species does not become extinct.

The Mother of thousands blooms frequently and produces greenish-white flowers with purple spots. The plants can reach up to two feet tall and wide when fully grown.

Mother of Millions: Overview

The Mother of millions succulent is also native to Madagascar and belongs to the Crassulaceae family. The plant gets its common name from its ability to reproduce and spread itself rapidly by producing small plantlets along the edges of its leaves.

The leaves of this succulent are oval-shaped and gray-green. When mature, the Mother of millions produces pink flowers on upright spikes. It is a relatively small plant that can reach up to two feet tall and wide when fully grown.

Mother of million plants.
The leaves of this succulent are oval-shaped and gray-green.

The Mother of millions is drought tolerant, highly adaptable to different environments, and considered invasive.

However, the same qualities that make it a nuisance to some make it highly desirable to others. It is relatively easy to care for a Mother of millions plant and propagate it effortlessly.

Understanding the Differences Between Mother of Millions and Mother of Thousands

Now that you have a better understanding of the two succulents let’s discuss some of the key differences that set them apart:

Nomenclature

The Mother of thousands (Kalanchoe tubiflora) is also known as the alligator or Mexican hat plant. In contrast, the Mother of millions (Kalanchoe daigremontiana) is sometimes called the devil’s backbone.

The Mother of thousands is generally larger than their “cousin,” with thick leaves with distinctly scalloped margins.

On the other hand, the Mother of millions has thinner and smaller leaves with soft hairs along the edges.

Habitat & Adaptability

Both succulents are native to Madagascar, but they thrive in different environments. The Mother of thousands is adapted to dry, hot climates, while the Mother of millions prefers slightly cooler, humid climates with more moisture.

Leaf Structure

The most significant difference between the mother of millions and the Mother of thousands is their leaves’ shape.

The Mother of thousands has tear-shaped leaves that are relatively wide. These leaves grow in pairs and usually develop on the opposite sides of the stalk.

The next pair of leaves rotates at an approximately 90-degree angle allowing all leaves to get enough sunlight.

Mother of thousands exposed to sunlight.
Each leaf can have up to four plantlets. The leaves are also thin and flexible.

The leaves of a Mother of thousands plant have little ridges at the edges where young plantlets emerge. Therefore, it is not unusual to find a healthy leaf of this succulent having a complete set of young plantlets.

On the other hand, the Mother of millions plant features slender leaves that all grow in the same place along the stem (nodes).

There is nothing like what the Mother of thousands usually does regarding alternation. In this case, plantlets grow from the tips of the leaves. Each leaf can have up to four plantlets. The leaves are also thin and flexible.

Growth Habit

The Mother of thousands grows in an upright position that gets wider as it matures. The plant produces many baby plants along the edges and has relatively large leaves, making it look full and lush.

On the other hand, the Mother of millions has thin, delicate stems that usually trail downwards.

The leaves of this succulent are also relatively small, and delicate compared to the Mother of thousands. It is a fast grower and can easily fill an entire pot if left unchecked.

Appearance of Flowers

The Mother of thousands usually blooms, frequently producing beautiful pink-grey flowers in bunches, creating an incredible sight. Flowering mostly happens during spring or early summer.

Mother of millions also produces beautiful orange-red blooms on one of the stems. The flowers are usually elongated and face downwards. However, blooming only happens during winter.

Blooming mother of thousands plant.
Mother of millions also produces beautiful orange-red blooms on one of the stems.

Sometimes, the two succulents’ flowers are confused, but it is easy to tell them apart.

One thing you must keep in mind is that both plants don’t flower frequently. But when they do, the flowers are pretty stunning.

Hardiness

Although both succulents are relatively easy to maintain, the Mother of thousands is slightly hardier than the Mother of millions. It can tolerate temperatures as low as 10°C (50°F).

The Mother of millions, on the other hand, does not like temperatures below 15°C (59°F). This means that outside cultivation should be restricted to warmer climates.

Furthermore, the Mother of thousands is more drought tolerant than the Mother of millions, so it needs less water. The latter should be watered regularly to keep it healthy and green.

Propagation

Even though Mother of thousands produces stunning flowers, it doesn’t have seeds. Therefore, you cannot propagate it through seed germination. The succulents can only be propagated through the plantlets that form along the leaf edges.

A young Mother of thousands plant usually has bulbils along its leaf edges which develop into plantlets. When the plantlets shed off and fall on the ground, they rapidly grow into new plants.

On the other hand, the Mother of millions produces viable seeds during the flowering season. It means that you can propagate it through seed germination or plantlets. Natural propagation through baby plants happens in the same way as Mother of Thousands.

However, it would be best to do some things for seed germination.

First, collect fresh seeds and then store them in a paper bag in a cool place until the germination process starts. Then, soak them in warm water for 24 hours before sowing the seeds.

Finally, sow the seeds into the soil and keep them moist until germination occurs.

Workability

The Mother of thousands succulent is generally good for beginners since it is relatively easy to care for and doesn’t need too much attention. It does well in dry and moist climates as long as it has plenty of sunlight.

The Mother of millions, however, requires more attention since it tends to be a bit delicate. Therefore, extra care must be taken when watering the plant. Also, it needs proper air circulation to avoid diseases.

The succulents are also great for landscaping since they bring a unique look to the garden.

The Mother of thousands has a fuller look, while the Mother of millions is more delicate and can be used in hanging baskets or other decorative containers.

Toxicity

Both plants are toxic to dogs, cats, birds, and humans. All kalanchoes are considered toxic to pets and human beings.

They contain cardiac toxins like bufadienolide and can cause vomiting, nausea, skin irritation, and other health problems.

Therefore, always keep the plants away from your pets and children. If ingested accidentally, consult your doctor immediately for further medical advice.

Common Problems

Even though these succulents are known to be hardy, they can still succumb to certain pests and diseases. Common problems include root rot, mealybugs, aphids, scale insects, and powdery mildew.

Mother of millions planted outdoorsand exposed to minimal sunlight.
Also, avoiding overwatering and keeping them away from direct sunlight is important.

To prevent these issues, keeping the plants in an appropriate environment with proper drainage and good air circulation is essential. Also, avoiding overwatering and keeping them away from direct sunlight is important.

Final Thoughts

The differences between the Mother of millions and thousands are quite subtle. While both succulents are easy to care for, each has unique characteristics that make it stand out. Depending on your preference, you can choose whichever one appeals to you more.

Last update on 2024-02-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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