The panda plant (botanical name: kalanchoe tomentosa) is a fairly easy succulent plant species to care for and maintain
A species grown for it’s interesting furry and velvet like leaves that kind of look like cats ears (pussy ears is another name for this plant).
This native to Madagascar species from the kalanchoe genus makes a nice addition to any succulent plant collection, grown indoors.
The panda plant being a succulent type species grows thick leaves for water storage purposes, which means watering less often for the grower. These leaves are covered in tiny hairs that give the plant a velvety look and feel.
How it looks: The kalanchoe tomentosa grows up to approximately 1.5 ft with a thick stem that produces branches and many groups of leaves, once it matures. When they’re pruned well they have a kind of tree or bush look about them and can produce branches growing below pot level (now suitable for growing in a hanging basket).
The furry leaves I mentioned are grayish green in color that have brown spotted tips. These leaves are mainly oval shaped, although your likely to see a few leaves randomly grow in whatever shape and form they want to.
Flowering: Although this plant can flower within it’s natural habitat – it’s rare to see flowers bloom indoors, so it’s grown for primarily it’s foliage within homes or offices. I have never seen one of these flower, but if your lucky enough then you will see lovely small tubular shaped flowers bloom at the tips of the branches.
Displaying: Once the panda plant matures they look fantastic placed within a hanging basket or sitting with a conservatory. A conservatory is ideal because they do like their bright light and some sun. Whilst they’re still small and growing, then near windows and on shelves which receive enough sunlight are good spots for displaying them.
|Names:||Panda plant or pussy ears (common). Kalanchoe tomentosa (botanical/scientific).|
|Max Growth (approx):||Height 1.5 ft.|
|Poisonous for pets:||Toxic to cats and dogs.|
Panda Plant Care
|Temperature:||Temperatures between 60-75 ºF (15-23 ºC) are advised.|
|Light:||This kalanchoe – like many other succulents loves basking in bright light and sunshine. A mixture of direct, indirect and shade is a good balance of sunlight – if that can be provided.|
|Watering:||Only water once the soil has become dry and then soak the soil, but do not leave water in the bottom tray. During the winter you’ll need to water less. Because this is a succulent – it stores water within its leaves, so even if you forget to water for a period of time the plant will be fine.|
|Soil:||I would use a cacti and succulent potting mix, or your own mix which drains easily (part sand).|
|Re-Potting:||The panda plant is a slow grower which will only need re-potting once every 2 years and then less once it matures.|
|Fertilizer:||You can feed once every 4 weeks with a diluted fertilizer, from spring until the end of summer.|
|Humidity:||Normal room humidity is fine and it may also tolerate dry air.|
|Propagation:||Leaf cuttings can be taken and planted in new soil during spring. Give the leaf cutting a week of drying out before re-potting, then you can expect them to begin rooting within 4 weeks.|
Elyssa Goins is an experienced house plant hobbyist who maintains over a hundred plants. She is a gardener, beekeeper, and a proud mother of four. She is a member of the American Horticultural Society, has been published in a Scientific Journal, and loves to talk about her love of plants. For the past twenty years, she’s been all about growing and caring for various fruits, veggies, herbs, livestock, kids, and houseplants. Managing a big garden to feed four growing kids and raising dairy goats has taught her so much about being an excellent plant parent and now is her time to share with you.