The beautiful Paddle plant, botanically known as Kalanchoe Thyrsiflora, is an unusual-looking succulent that develops round, flat, paddle-shaped leaves in the form of a rosette.
Often cultivated as a decorating plant, it adds a bold texture and sophistication into a space.
Several gardeners also refer to it as the red pancake due to its leaves that occasionally take on a deep pink to reddish color during the winters.
The Paddle plant has numerous names, including Flapjack, White lady, Meeplakkie, and Geelplakkie. It is widely grown in Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland.
A part of the Crassulaceae family, the plant has two varieties, the Kalanchoe Thyrsiflora and Kalanchoe luciae.
Since the Paddle plant is not as famous as some other similar species, some house gardeners may think the plant is hard to care for.
However, the opposite is true; the plant has an easy-care routine and can withstand a wide variety of conditions.
- 1 Paddle Plant Care
- 2 Common Problems for Paddle Plant
- 3 Tips for Growing Paddle Plant
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions about Paddle Plant Care
- 5 Conclusion
Paddle Plant Care
The paddle plant requires full sunlight to partial shade, watering when its soil’s top layer runs dry, and humidity above 40%. The plant performs well in room temperatures from 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit (18-24 degrees Celsius). It likes being fed during the growing season with a paddle plant-specific fertilizer.
Planting your succulents, including the Paddle plant, in the right soil type carries great significance as its growth is half dependent on it.
The Paddle plant prefers well-draining and evenly moist soils that have plenty of organic matter.
Indoors, the plant likes soils with good drainage that contain materials such as mulch or sawdust.
To create the perfect potting mix, you can make a mixture of sand and organic matter or get a commercially formulated succulent or cacti soil mix.
Alternatively, gardeners can combine peat moss, coarse sand, and mulch in a container and use this to grow their wonderful Paddle plant.
Other vegetative choices include blood meal, fish emulsion, and worm castings. Please keep the soil well-hydrated for the greatest results.
The Paddle plants do not need frequent watering as their leaves naturally store abundant moisture.
However, watering weekly or bi-weekly becomes important, especially when the succulent is growing under the full sun.
Ideally, water the Paddle plant only when its soil’s top two to three inches seem dry. Add water from the top, ensuring you cover all parts.
Keep in mind to use room-temperature, chlorine-free water. If you have access to chlorinated water only, fill a bucket with water and let it sit overnight so that it evaporates.
On the other hand, allowing the plant to excessively dry out also has serious consequences, including wilting and loss of turgor. To prevent both extremes, water the plant as soon as its soil’s top layer dries out.
The Paddle plant is highly fond of bright, sunny days and should be placed in front of the sunniest window in the house.
However, please make sure that your plant is accustomed to such high light levels before setting its location.
If it is a recently bought plant that was sitting in complete shade, increase the plant’s light exposure gradually.
The Paddle plant enjoys full to dappled sunlight.
For the Paddle plant growing outdoors, put it in your garden or terrace, and maintain a weekly watering scheduling to avoid leaf scorch.
The Paddle plant can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, from 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 26.6 degrees Celsius).
However, maintain a temperature range of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 24 degrees Celsius) for the best results.
Due to its succulent nature, the plant withstands higher as well as lower than its average temperatures for a fairly long time.
But, understandably, if exposed to such unfavorable conditions for an extended period, the plant begins showing various abnormality signs, such as retarded growth and abnormal-looking leaves.
Therefore, please place it where the temperature is to the Paddle plant’s liking.
The Paddle plant prefers average humidity levels in its surroundings, another reason why it is an excellent houseplant.
Maintain a moisture level of 40% or higher to grow a happy and healthy paddle plant.
The Paddle plant’s favorable humidity range occurs naturally in most regions; however, some gardeners living in cooler, dry areas may have trouble growing the plant.
In such a case, group all your houseplants in one room for even moisture distribution. Another option is to mist your plant and its surroundings.
The Paddle plant is a light feeder; it only likes being fed in the warm, growing seasons when its leaves are actively growing.
The feeds that are made explicitly for succulents, such as cacti work wonders for the plant.
Please use a high-quality fertilizer with a balanced NPK ratio. The feed should contain all the macro and microelements, such as nitrogen and manganese so that the plant can perform all its essential functions.
Please be careful not to overfertilize the plant as this leads to nutrient toxicity. The plant’s leaves’ tips may burn, or its roots may become dysfunctional.
Feed the plant only in the warmer seasons to prevent such mishaps.
The Paddle plant is a fairly small succulent; however, it has a noticeable growth rate. The plant does not need frequent repotting unless its pot is too small or the plant’s roots are circling the pot.
I suggest repotting the Paddle plant every 12 to 24 months during the spring season. A Paddle plant requiring repotting will have stunted growth, become top-heavy for its pot, or crack the pot itself.
For repotting, use a slightly bigger container, approximately one inch larger. Also, refresh and replace the old soil with new, organic soil containing peat moss, mulch, or worm castings.
Furthermore, use gloves and protective clothing while handling the plant.
Like many fellow succulents, the Paddle plant produces offsets. These sets may look decent; however, most times, they bring down the plant’s overall regular appearance.
They may even take up excessive nutrients, depriving the other parts.
Prune the Paddle plant when a significant number of offsets have sprung. Remove them from the main stem with a sterile, sharp knife making clean cuts.
Please be careful not to damage the surrounding healthy foliage or make an excessive number of cuts.
You can discard the offsets or use them to propagate your Paddle plant.
For successful propagation, use a healthy Paddle plant that has large, fresh leaves.
Also, please propagate during the summer or spring seasons when the soil and temperature are warm.
- The easiest way to propagate is to use the plant’s leaf cuttings instead of separating its roots.
- Start off with carefully cutting a few leaves from the parent Paddle plant with a disinfected knife.
- Now dust these leaves to remove any mud or insects.
- Set these leaves aside for a few days or till the cut ends develop calluses.
- When you observe some leaves with calluses around the cut edges, plant them in a small pot filled with an appropriate soil mix (coarse sand and peat moss work great).
- Place this pot under bright, filtered sunlight and mist lightly. You may even add some mulch for moisture retention.
Once the Paddle plant is established and showing signs of new growth, you may treat it as a mature succulent.
The Paddle plant is mainly cultivated for its attractive foliage. The plant rarely produces flowers indoors but may form some when growing outdoors.
While most gardeners cut off the flower stalks before the blooms sprout, others let them flourish.
The Paddle plants, especially those growing in warm regions such as Southern California, give rise to a few blooms in the late winter or early spring, with a flower spike of 30 inches (76.2 centimeters).
The Paddle plant grows most vigorously in the summer and early spring seasons throughout USDA hardiness zones 10 and above.
Outdoors, it grows to a height of about 18 inches (45. 7 centimeters) and forms a flower spike of 30 inches (76.2 centimeters).
Indoors, the plant has a relatively shorter height of approximately 10 inches (25. 4 centimeters).
Common Problems for Paddle Plant
The Paddle plant’s leaves mostly remain upright even in unfavorable conditions. However, if kept in such an environment for a long period, the plant’s leaves begin drooping.
Drooping leaves can be due to several causes, including insufficient sunlight, inadequate moisture, and underwatering. In such cases, aside from drooping leaves, the plant also undergoes root rot.
To prevent this problem, follow the instructions under the watering, lighting, and humidity headings.
Also, please maintain a schedule of weekly watering and place the Paddle plant in bright, dappled sunlight.
The Paddle plant rarely harbors pests; however, it may be occasionally infested by pests such as mealybugs.
These pests strip the plant of its juices and significantly weaken its defense system. The leaves begin turning yellow, and in serious infestations, may wilt and drop.
The mealybugs also produce honeydew, a sticky substance attracting other insects, hence, promoting mold growth on the plant. Unless promptly treated, the plant dies.
To save your beloved Paddle plant, keep a watchful eye for these sneaky pests. As soon as you see any white, cotton-like specks on the leaves, isolate the plant.
Additionally, use insecticide spray or neem oil and check surrounding plants as well.
Another common problem in Paddle plants is powdery mildew. It is a fungal infection that quickly spreads from one plant to another.
The causative organism brings about significant damage; the plant’s immunity weakens, the leaves lose their characteristic color, and sometimes may even twist, curl, or distort.
To treat an infected plant, use a Sulphur-containing fungicide and trim or prune the infected leaves and vines. However, if the plant is completely infected, it is better to discard it.
Tips for Growing Paddle Plant
- Place the plant under bright, full sunlight or partial shade.
- Turn the plant slightly every week, covering 360 degrees so that all parts receive their fair share of sunlight.
- Water thoroughly and let the soil’s top layer dry out between watering.
- Use well-draining, light soils to prevent root rot.
- Do not repot excessively; the roots grow better when slightly snug.
- Repot and refresh the soil contents every 12 months.
- Treat an infected plant as soon as possible and keep it away from other healthy plants.
Frequently Asked Questions about Paddle Plant Care
Is the Paddle plant poisonous to humans and pets?
The Paddle plant is a considerably toxic succulent due to the presence of skin irritants in its cell sap. It can cause allergies, such as red, itchy bumps, and a swollen tongue. Therefore, please plant it out of the reach of toddlers, pets, and kids. Moreover, wear gloves while handling it.
What is wrong with my Paddle plant?
The Paddle plant is generally pest-free and rarely causes problems for its owners. If put in its ideal conditions, the plant grows exceptionally well. However, the plant may show various signs of abnormality if overfertilized, put in inadequate sunlight, or overwatered. Please avoid such practices to grow a healthy Paddle plant.
Why is my Paddle plant drying out?
The Paddle plant is succulent and manages its water needs pretty well. However, since the plant prefers full sun, it may sometimes lose excessive amounts of water. Resultantly, the leaves curl or dry out, trying to retain the residual moisture. Please water the Paddle plant weekly or bi-weekly to avoid this problem.
The Paddle plant is an excellent houseplant because of its easy and manageable care routine. The plant flourishes under bright, indirect sunlight and in fertile organic soils.
With weekly watering and adequate feeding, the plant grows to a height of 10 inches or more.
The Paddle plant is often grown as a mass garden plant and in rock gardening and xeriscaping.
To make your space look cozy and welcoming, bring this beauty home today.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.