Kalanchoe beharensis (NOT minima!)-Velvet Elephant Ear, Maltese Cross, etc.

Kalanchoe beharensis on 8-25-12, #116-33.

Velvet Elephant Ear, Maltese Cross,  Etc.

Kalanchoe beharensis

 kal-un-KOH-ee be-HAIR-en-sis

Kalanchoe beharensis minima


Kalanchoe beharensis Drake is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Kalanchoe. It was named and described by Emmanuel Drake del Castillo in Bulletin du Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle (Paris) in 1903.

Kalanchoe Adans. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this genus of flowering plants in the Crassulaceae Family. The genus was named and described by Michel Adanson in Familles des Plantes in 1763.

The Kalanchoe beharensis received the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit.


Kalanchoe beharensis close-up on 8-25-12, #116-32.

I bought this AWESOME plant from Lowe’s in Greenville, Mississippi on 8-24-12 while living at the mansion in Leland. I had been plant shopping with a couple of friends the night before and found this plant. The price tag was a whopping $20.00! I carried it around in the store for more than an hour while pushing around the other plants I picked out in the cart. I was really debating paying that much for this plant. GEEZ! I had never paid that much before. Then as we were getting really to leave, my friends encouraged me to go ahead and buy the plant. So, I brought it home.

Although the plant was labeled Kalanchoe beharensis minima, there is no such accepted scientific name. I am not sure where Altman Plants came up with the name “minima”. There are several other websites that offer this plant with minima as a cultivar name. I also read where it is possibly a “dwarf” for of Kalanchoe beharensis.


Kalanchoe beharensis on 11-23-12, #131-29.

Kalanchoe beharensis has these AWESOME, large velvety leaves that always reminded me of mohair seats. May you don’t remember mohair seats but many old cars had them. These leaves also reminded me of the seats in the old theater. Isn’t it strange how something triggers your memory?


Kalanchoe beharensis new growth on 11-23-12, #131-30.

My new Kalanchoe friend and I got along really well and it had this growth spurt.

Family: Crassulaceae
Origin: Madagascar
Zones: 11a-12b
Size: 3-5 feet in a pot, up to 12 feet outside
Light: Sun to part shade
Soil: Fast-draining soil amended with additional grit and pumice or perlite.
Water: Regular watering during the growing period, minimal in the winter.
Flowers: Usually anytime from April through August
Propagation: Very easily propagated by leaf and stem cuttings.


Kalanchoe beharensis on 2-17-13, #139-45.

Kalanchoe beharensis is a slow-growing succulent shrub native to southwestern Madagascar. They can get fairly large, reaching around 9’ or even to 12’ tall in the right conditions. As it gets taller, the lower leaves fall off leaving scars where the petiole was attached.

You can actually break a leaf, even leaving it hanging, and new plantlets will grow from it.


<<<<2013 IN MISSOURI>>>>

Kalanchoe beharensis minima from a leaf cutting on 4-16-14, #143-9.

I sold the mansion to a group that turned it into a nice bed and breakfast. Dad asked me to move back to the family farm in mid-Missouri so I did. I had to give up several hundred plants. I kept most of my cactus and succulents, Colocasia, Alocasia and several other plants. Unfortunately, for some reason, I thought I should leave my bigger plants, including the Kalanchoe beharensis minima with a friend. I did take a leaf cutting which grew into several plantlets.


Hmmm… Supposed to be Kalanchoe beharensis minima. Photo taken on 12-7-13, #208-39.

I kept the little Kalanchoe beharensis in this pot on the kitchen windowsill all summer with a few other succulents I didn’t want to put outside. I watched them grow and then I noticed something weird. I had taken cuttings of the Kalanchoe beharensis ‘Fang’ during the summer but they were outside. Somehow, these guys turned out to have the tubercles on the underside of the leaves, too. I know 100% I took a leaf from the Kalanchoe beharensis minima and NOT ‘Fang’ when I moved from Mississippi. I know I didn’t take cuttings from ‘Fang’ until the summer of 2013. So, tell me, how did these plants turn out to have fangs? What a mystery!

There are a couple of varieties and cultivars mentioned on the LLIFLE (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) website including ‘Roseleaf’ which is a hybrid of Kalanchoe beharensis and Kalanchoe tomentosa. It is thought that ‘Fang’ could be a sport of ‘Roseleaf’.

San Marcos Growers list several Kalanchoe including both the Kalanchoe beharensis and a Kalanchoe beharensis ‘Small Form’. However, the leaves of the ‘Small Form’ do not look like my plant. They say it is likely a hybrid.

I watched this good video on YouTube by Bill B. on the PlantzNThings channel. There are other videos about the Kalanchoe beharensis.

I gave up most of my succulents later in the summer of 2014 now I am starting over. Hopefully, someday I will find another Kalanchoe beharensis to bring home. Maybe find a cutting on one of the Facebook groups or on Ebay.

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2 comments on “Kalanchoe beharensis (NOT minima!)-Velvet Elephant Ear, Maltese Cross, etc.

  1. thecoachsangram says:

    I brought the plant last month but few leaves started falling, as we know less watering required for saculants so weekly watering wish top soil of container getting wet only…don’t understand how much and at frequency watering should be done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello there. It should be watered thoroughly once the soil has completely dried out during the growing season, maybe once a week. During the winter, pretty much stop watering. During the winter, pay attention to its leaves. When they appear somewhat wrinkly or shriveled, then give them water. Pour water in and when you see water coming from the bottom, stop. Let it drain completely. Do that ONLY if the leaves show the plant needs water. If you have to, during the winter put the plant somewhere you won’t bee seeing it every day and be tempted to water it.:) I hope this helps and I wish you great success with your plant. They are AWESOME and I need to find another one.


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