How To Grow And Care For Kalanchoe Daigremontiana-Mother of Thousands

Kalanchoe daigremontiana – Mother of Thousands

Scientific NameKalanchoe daigremontiana (formerly known as Bryophyllum daigremontianum)
Common Name(s)Mother of Thousands, Devil’s Backbone, Alligator Plant, or Mexican Hat Plant
Scientific Classification

Description – Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands)

Kalanchoe daigremontiana is commonly known as Mother of Thousands, Devil’s Backbone, Alligator Plant, or Mexican Hat Plant. It has a unique appearance and ability to produce numerous baby plants along the edges of its leaves.

A plant is native to Madagascar Island, which thrives in arid and semi-arid environments. It has since been introduced to other parts of the world as a popular houseplant, known for its ease of care and distinctive appearance.

Mother of Thousands is an eye-catching succulent characterized by its huge and fleshy leaves. They can grow up to 8 inches, from a single stem, usually bright green, but can have a hint of pink.

What makes a plant so special is that its leaves are lined with baby plants along the margins. A plant can grow up to 2-3 feet in height.

When growing indoors, it rarely blooms, but in the right conditions produces tubular, bell-shaped flowers in shades of grayish-pink or lavender, placed circularly on one stem. In a native environment, the plant blooms at the end of winter.

How To Care For Kalanchoe Daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands)

Mother of Thousands


This succulent best grows in bright sunlight, making it a perfect choice for a sunny windowsill or, if growing outside, in a spot with no more than 2 hours of direct light and a lot of bright indirect sunlight.

It should have at least 6 hours of light a day. Too much direct sunlight may cause the leaves to scorch, turning them brown or yellow. In low light conditions, the plant may become leggy as it stretches to find more light, resulting in a less compact and attractive appearance.


Kalanchoe daigremontiana requires well-draining soil. A commercially available cactus or succulent soil mix combined with perlite or coarse sand in a 1:1 ratio works well. This mix allows excess water to drain quickly, keeping the roots healthy and preventing rot.

You can also use a standard potting mix for indoor plants, but in that case, add more perlite or sand to improve drainage.


This succulent belongs to USDA hardiness zones 9-11 and prefers temperatures between 60-75°F (16-24°C). It is not frost-tolerant and should be brought indoors if temperatures drop below 40°F (4°C). Sudden temperature fluctuations can stress the plant and cause leaf drop, so it’s essential to have stable temperature conditions.


When it comes to watering, Kalanchoe daigremontiana should be treated like most other succulents – you should allow the soil to dry out almost completely before watering. Overwatering can cause root rot, so it’s crucial to check the soil moisture before every watering. During the winter months, when the plant enters a period of dormancy, you should reduce watering frequency even further.


Kalanchoe daigremontiana can live without additional feeding but can benefit from fertilizing during its growing season. Use a diluted liquid fertilizer designed specifically for cacti and succulents, following the package instructions. Avoid over-fertilizing, as it can cause leggy growth or harm the plant’s overall health.


Re-pot your Mother of Thousands when baby plants grow roots in the same pot or when it outgrows their current pot. Choose a pot with drainage holes, just a little bigger than the current one. Using a well-draining soil mix, gently remove the plant from its old pot and place it in the new pot, allowing the roots to spread out. Fill in the remaining space with the soil mix and gently press it down to ensure stability. Water the plant lightly after repotting to help settle the soil.

Pests And Diseases 

Kalanchoe daigremontiana is generally resistant to pests and diseases, but some common pests affecting this plant include mealybugs, aphids, and spider mites. To treat infestations, you can use neem oil or insecticidal soap, following the package instructions. Be sure to isolate the affected plant from other plants to prevent the spread of pests.

Root, crown, or heart rot, caused by overwatering, is the most common disease affecting Kalanchoe daigremontiana. To avoid this issue, ensure proper drainage and allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

How to Propagate Kalanchoe Daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands)?

Propagating Kalanchoe daigremontiana is a simple and rewarding process. The plantlets that form along the margins of the leaves can be gently removed and placed on top of moist, well-draining soil. 

Kalanchoe daigremontiana with plantlets on one of the leaves
By Photographer: CrazyD, Source: Wikipedia

To separate a plantlet from its mother plant, gently pull it by the leaf.

Once removed, there are a few options for what to do with the baby plant.

a) You can let it sit for a day or two to develop a protective layer, then plant it in well-draining soil.

b) You can treat the plantlet like a sprouted seed and place it on top of well-draining soil. Then cover it with clear plastic to create a small greenhouse effect, thus promoting root growth. Once it’s ready you can transplant it into a separate pot.

Within a few weeks, these plantlets will develop roots and begin to grow into new plants. This propagation method allows you to quickly grow additional plants for yourself or share them with friends and family.

Are Kalanchoe Daigremontiana Succulents Toxic to Pets?

Kalanchoe daigremontiana is toxic to pets, including dogs and cats. If ingested, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms. Keep this plant out of reach of pets to avoid any potential issues.


Can we keep Kalanchoe daigremontiana indoors?

Yes, Kalanchoe daigremontiana makes an excellent indoor plant, especially when provided with bright, indirect light and proper care. It can also be grown outdoors in warmer climates but should be brought indoors if temperatures drop below 40°F (4°C).

What are the benefits of Kalanchoe daigremontiana?

Kalanchoe daigremontiana offers several benefits as a houseplant. It is an attractive and low-maintenance plant that adds visual interest to any space. It can help purify the air and elevate the ambiance of your home or office. However, be cautious with this plant around children and pets due to its toxicity.

How long does Kalanchoe daigremontiana live?

With proper care, Kalanchoe daigremontiana can live for several years, constantly producing new plantlets that can be propagated to grow additional plants.

Why is Kalanchoe daigremontiana dropping leaves?

A Leaf drop in Kalanchoe daigremontiana can be caused by several factors, including overwatering, underwatering, extreme temperature fluctuations, or insufficient light. Identify the potential cause and adjust the care routine accordingly to help your plant thrive again. 

If the issue is overwatering, allow the soil to dry out before watering again, and ensure proper drainage. 

If the plant is underwatered, increase the watering frequency slightly, but still allow the soil to dry out between waterings. 

For temperature issues, try to provide a more stable environment, and if the plant is not receiving enough light, move it to a brighter location.