Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant, Etc.)

Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant) on 4-13-18, #425-28.

Penwiper Plant, Pen Wiper Plant, Spotted Kalanchoe, Penwiper, Baby Penwiper 

Kalanchoe marmorata

kal-un-KOH-ee  mar-mor-RAY-tuh


Synonyms of Kalanchoe marmorata (4) (Updated on 11-18-21 from Plants of the World Online): Kalanchoe grandiflora A.Rich., Kalanchoe kelleriana Schinz, Kalanchoe somaliensis Baker, Kalanchoe stuhlmannii Engl.

Kalanchoe marmorata Baker is the correct and 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 11-18-21 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 157 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.


Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant) on 4-13-18, #425-27.

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″. 

Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant) on 4-13-18, #425-29.

Family: Crassulaceae.
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.

*Even though information online says this species does well in full sun to part shade, I have never grown mine in full sun during the summer. Prior to 2018, my cactus and succulents were on tables under a Chinese Elm Tree. After the first Japanese Beetle invasion in 2018, I moved the cactus to the deck at the back of the house and the succulents to the covered front porch (facing west). The succulents get light shade throughout most of the day with periods of direct sun. During the winter, all the Kalanchoe are on a shelf in a cool bedroom on a shelf in a south-facing window.

**Finding the sweet spot when it comes to cactus and succulent soil can be tricky. There are a lot of recipes online, but I had been using 2 parts Miracle Grow Potting Soil amended with an additional 1 part perlite and 1 part chicken grit. Many cactus and succulent enthusiasts recommend using pumice instead of perlite, so I switched in 2018. Now I use a 50/50 mix of Miracle Grow Potting Soil and pumice I ordered online from General Pumice. They also say a loam-based potting soil is better than peat-based, but finding a loam-based potting mix is impossible locally. I may have to experiment with the topsoil from the garden… 🙂 After I move the cactus and succulents inside for the winter and stop watering, the potting soil can get very hard. SO, I started re-potting them with fresh mix during the fall and winter so their soil will be nice and loose.

***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 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.

Kalanchoe marmorata on 5-17-18, #443-56.

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.

Kalanchoe marmorata on 7-30-18, #488-13.

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).

Kalanchoe marmorata on 8-29-18, #501-1.

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.

Kalanchoe marmorata on 10-10-18, #519-40.

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


Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant) on 6-16-19, #591-26.

The Kalanchoe marmorata survived the winter and had been on the front porch for over a month when the above photo was taken.

Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant) on 10-11-19, #639-49.

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.

Kalanchoe marmorata on 11-24-19.

I repotted a few cactus and succulents after I moved the plants inside. I think Fall is a good time to repot cactus 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.


Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant) on 10-15-20, #747-57.

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…

Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant) on 10-15-20, #747-58.

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!


Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant), the smaller one, on 7-20-21, #816-5.

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.

Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant), the smaller one at 5 1/2″ tall, on 8-17-21, #836-33.

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…

Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant), the taller plant, on 8-28-21, #830-1.

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…

Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant) on 10-15-21, #844-1.

Hmmm… I noticed the smaller Kalanchoe marmorata had a growth spurt. I was so proud of it I decided to take its photo.

I will continue adding more photos and information as long as it likes me.

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.


8 comments on “Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant, Etc.)

  1. I find this so strange that I have to share it with you. My mother in law gave me a piece of cactus that was given to her. It reproduces by a single section falling onto the dirt. The strange part is I live in Ohio and we get temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit! I have no idea how these survive our harsh winters.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mary Umbaugh says:

    The leaves keep falling off and drying up on my pen wiper plant. I have it in front of a South facing window. I have tried spase watering and a little heavier watering. Please help me to figure this plant out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Mary! My plant looked great when it arrived then it soon went to crap. But, it didn’t die. This past summer it grew and I cut the stem off to regrow it. You have to do that with Kalanchoe (and other succulents sometime) but you should do it in the spring. I don’t know how long you have had your plant, but little roots will form along the stems at the leaf nodes. To regrow, cut the stem, let it callous over for a week, then put the stem in the soil about up to where the leaves are growing. Don’t discard the old plant and new leaves/stems will grow from then eventually you can make more plants from them as well. This is a neat species but maybe a little finicky. Some are not picky about their potting soil but it always needs to drain very well (water draining almost as fast as you pour it in). No matter what kind of potting soil you use, I recommend mixing it 50/50 with pumice. You can buy small batches on Ebay or get a big bag from General Pumice online. That’s where I bought mine. During the summer you can water fairly normally but rarely in the winter. Only water if the leaves look wrinkly because overwatering during the winter is fatal. A south-facing window is OK during the winter or even an east window. Kalanchoes are supposedly summer dormant but that doesn’t mean they actively grow in the winter and need the same watering schedule. If you want, you can send photos of your plant to me at thebelmontrooster@yahoo.com. That way maybe I can give better advice. If you notice, I haven’t taken many photos of this plant for the blog because it has its ups and downs. Iam going to update this page soon. Thanks for the comment and I hope I have helped. Let me know your progress.


  3. Adriel says:

    hello! Thank you very much for your photos and comments. I “proplifted” a pup and leaf from a very large mature plant at an abandoned mall, and have been growing the pup since then. It’s about 3″ across, has 6 leaves (growing in opposite pairs, then quarter-round for the next pair), and has long spidery white roots that shoot out in a puffball in all directions – even up in the air out of the dirt! I’ve been watering it by misting it in cactus soil, and I kept it attached to the mother leaf for about 3 weeks, I only cut it off today because the leaf was starting to look limp. (I kept the leaf in water because I was trying to prop it also – I didn’t know which way it wanted to be propagated so I tried both.) 🙂 I’m looking forward to my baby growing up and maybe flowering, and thanks to you I think I have a better handle on how to keep it happy!


    • Hello Adriel! I am glad to hear from you and about your success. Mine has been weird and is staying small. I am glad you found my tribute to the Kalanchoe marmorata helpful. Please keep me posted. Take care and thanks for the comment!


  4. don says:

    How do I separate my pen wiper plant? Looks like a new growth is getting very large. Thanks Don

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Don! What do you mean separate? If you have an offset, you just remove the plant from the pot and separate the offset and repot both of them. If your plant has a long leafless stem with a lot of leaves on top, just cut the stem 3″ or so below the leaves, let the stem scab over for about a week, then insert the stem into the potting soil. That is something that I usually have to do every year. It can be a weird plant but practice makes perfect. 🙂 Take care and thanks for the comment!


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