Penwiper Plant, Pen Wiper Plant, Spotted Kalanchoe, Penwiper, Baby Penwiper
ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY AWARD OF GARDEN MERIT
Kalanchoe marmorata Baker is the accepted scientific name for this species of Kalanchoe. It was named and described by John Gilbert Baker in Gardener’s Chronicle & Agricultural Gazette in 1892.
The genus, Kalanchoe Adans., was named and described as such by Michel Adanson in Familles des Plantes in 1763.
As of 12-18-22 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 165 species in the Kalanchoe genus. It is a member of the plant family Crassulaceae with 36 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.
THERE ARE SEVERAL LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING.
I bought this nice Kalanchoe marmorata from Elizabeth Li through the Facebook group Cheap Cactus and Succulents on April 6, 2018. I had selected a Sedum spathulifolium subsp. pruinosum ‘Cape Blanco’ and she said she had other plants. Most of what she had were really nice Echeveria. Since I have problems with some Echeveria species during the winter, I chose this Kalanchoe marmorata. She shipped the plants from California on Monday the 9th and they arrived on Friday the 13th. Both plants arrived safe and sound and were well-rooted.
The Kalanchoe marmorata has very thick leaves, kind of rubbery, with brownish-purple blotches. The leaves have a weird sticky feeling that is hard to explain. Common names include Penwiper Plant, Pen Wiper Plant, Spotted Kalanchoe, Penwiper, and Baby Penwiper. They are native to West and Central Africa where they grow up to 48″ tall but in pots, they normally grow to about 16″.
Origin: Central and West Africa.
Zones: USDA Zones 10B-11 (35 TO 40° F).
Size: 16” tall.
Light: Sun to part shade.
Soil: Fast-draining soil. Good quality potting soil amended with pumice (50/50) or additional perlite and chicken grit (2-1-1).
Water: Average water needs during the growing period, sparse in winter.
I water my cactus and succulents on a regular basis during the summer when they are outside. Normally, the cactus on the back porch get enough rain, but the succulents on the front porch are under a roof. Sometimes I get busy during the summer and they get neglected, but they always do just fine. During the winter, I hardly ever water the Kalanchoe unless their leaves start to shrivel or get wrinkly…
Llifle says, “This is a very healthy plant and easy to grow. It needs a fast-draining mix. Keep it where it is bright, sunny, warm, and airy but protect it from mid-day sun. Water well during the summer with dry periods between watering. During the winter, keep them rather dry, not completely. The leaves become redder with the cool nights of the winter, but will need protection from the cold during hard freezes.” Somewhat edited…
They also say the Kalanchoe marmorata produces starry white, four-petalled flowers, sometimes tinged with pink, “profusely from the end of winter to early spring.” They are short-day plants blooming when they have less than 12 hours of light per day.
By the time warmer temperatures arrived and stayed, I moved all the potted plants outside for the summer. By that time, most of the leaves had fallen off of the Kalanchoe marmorata. I knew it would be OK, though, because it had two new leaves and an offset.
On July 4 I moved most of my potted plants to the front and back porch. I had a Japanese Beetle invasion which completely changed the light where the plant tables had been (under a Chinese Elm Tree the beetles loved).
The Kalanchoe marmorata definitely seems to be out of the woods now. It is doing much better and had 12 leaves when the above photo was taken on August 29. The leaves grow in groups of four.
I had to move the potted plants inside for the winter on October 10 because an “F” was in the forecast. I photograph all the plants as I move them inside and measure the cactus and some of the succulents. Kalanchoe, for the most part, needs to be “regrown” from time to time so it is no point to measure some of them. At this point, I think this plant has been through enough to be cutting its stem and regrowing it. Maybe next year
The Kalanchoe marmorata survived the winter and had been on the front porch for over a month when the above photo was taken.
I had to move the potted plants inside for the winter on October 11 because an “F” was in the forecast. The Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant) and I have made an agreement. As long as it doesn’t die I will keep doing the best I can. I was fairly busing during the summer so I was sometimes neglectful of the plants. As the above photo shows, at one point I cut the stem of the main plant and stuck it in the same pot. The old stem continued growing new leaves and offsets along the stem. I put the offset from before in its own pot.
I repotted a few cacti and succulents after I moved the plants inside. I think Fall is a good time to repot cacti and succulents so their soil will stay nice and loose over the winter. The original plant died after I moved the plants inside. I also put the cutting deeper into the soil in its own pot. The first offset I removed it doing fine, but I noticed it wasn’t even in the potting soil when I took this photo. Hmmm…
So, once again, I am hoping the Kalanchoe marmorata survives the winter. Even though I have A LOT of plants that do well, a few have their own personalities to get accustomed to. This seems to be one of them. Maybe your experience with this species is different so please leave a comment if you have anything to share.
I had to move the potted plants inside for the winter on October 15. As always, I take photographs and measurements as I bring them inside. The Kalanchoe marmorata continues to survive, even though weirdly. The plant grown from the stem I cut off keeps getting taller while the one from the offset stays short…
It still won’t grow an abundance of leaves like the plant was when I first got it. I will figure this plant out yet!
It’s still alive. This species is weird for me. As of July 20 (2021), the taller plant needs to be regrown AGAIN as it is just a long stem with a few leaves on top. The smaller one, however, is growing new leaves and looks better than it has for a long time. In fact, the smaller one usually always looked worse than the taller one.
I was taking photos for a post on August 17, so I thought I better name another one of the smaller Kalanchoe marmorata. It hasn’t done much since the previous photo… It needs to be repotted because I just noticed it isn’t in the center of the pot. Hmmm… It was in the center before. 🙂 This plant is 5 1/2″ tall…
I decided I would go ahead and cut the stem of the taller Kalanchoe marmorata in half on August 28. I will put it in another pot in a few days once the stem scabs over. The taller plant “was” 10″ tall with a 7 1/2″ long stem. Snip snip…
Hmmm… I noticed the smaller Kalanchoe marmorata had a growth spurt. I was so proud of it I decided to take its photo.
Well, sorry to say, this plant died over the winter. We had a lot of ups and downs, so I don’t think I will try another one unless I have better conditions.
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.