Paddle Plant, Flapjacks, etc.
Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit
Kalanchoe luciae Raym.-Hamet is the correct and accepted name for this species of Kalanchoe. It was named and described by Raymond-Hamet in Bulletin de l’Herbier Boissier in 1908.
The 2013 version of The Plant List says Kalanchoe luciae was an accepted name on their main Kalanchoe list. It lists Kalanchoe luciae subsp. luciae as an unresolved name. When I clicked on Kalanchoe luciae, it said it was a synonym of the unresolved name. How can an accepted species be a synonym of an unresolved name? Anyway, The Plant List is no longer maintained and Plants of the World Online say Kalanchoe luciae is the accepted scientific name.
There are a lot of websites with information about this plant and many that are selling them online. You will see both Kalanchoe luciae and Kalanchoe luciae subsp. luciae. It is the same plant it just depends on where they get their information in the first place. Plants of the World Online say Kalanchoe luciae and so does The International Plant Names Index, Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms), etc. Dave’s Garden is still saying Kalanchoe luciae subsp. luciae. There is one accepted infraspecific name of this species called Kalanchoe luciae subsp. montana.
Common names include:
ENGLISH: Flap Jack, Red Pancakes, Paddle Kalanchoe, Northern White Lady, Pancake Kalanchoe, Flipping flapjacks, White Lady, Flapjacks, Dog Tongue Plant, Paddle Plant, Paddle Leaf, Desert Cabbage, and maybe more…
There is another similar Kalanchoe called Kalanchoe thyrsiflora but there are some differences that will show you which is which. Apparently, there are those selling K. thyrsiflora which is really K. luciae. Keep in mind that K. thyrsiflora is not as readily available so it is highly unlikely that you will find them at your local garden center. Both plants grow to only about 10-12″ in a container. They have similar leaves and have many of the same common names. In more sun, the leaves of K. luciae will turn a reddish color as in the above photo and apparently K. thyrsiflora doesn’t. Some websites say this happens during the winter, but July, when the photo was taken, is definitely not winter. Their flowers are somewhat different and the flowers of K. thyrsiflora have a stronger, sweet smell compared to a faint smell of K. luciae. Anyway, there are links at the bottom you can go to for further reading. The links to San Marcos Growers have some very interesting and useful information. One more thing about the flowers… Both of these species of Kalanchoe are monocarpic which means the parent plant will die after they flower. It will send up an offset to take its place and usually more plantlets will sprout from the main stem. This usually doesn’t happen until the plant is 3-4 years. There are many monocarpic plants including Agave and even Sempervivium…
My Kalanchoe luciae became somewhat weird. The stem grew longer and it sent out this offset. Of course, that’s normal… What may be interesting, although I am not sure, is why is produced an offset before it flowered. Maybe that is normal, too. I am sure it is or it wouldn’t have done it, right?
Origin: Various locations in southwest Africa
Zones: USDA Zones 9a-11 (20 to 40° F)
Size: 12-18” tall
Light: Sun to light shade
Soil: Fast-draining mix amended with grit and pumice or perlite
Water: Regular water during growing season, barely in winter
Flowers: Pale yellow, tubular flowers on 2-3’ stems in late winter-early spring.
Propagation: Leaf or stem cuttings
Growing Kalanchoe species is not hard at all. they need fast=draining soil, regular watering in the growing period but hardly any in the winter. During the summer they like bright light but I don’t like growing them in the scorching sun to burn their leaves. If you overwinter inside, they like bright light even though they may be dormant. When introducing them back outside, put them in a shadier area at first and introduce them to more light gradually. Well, I put mine in light shade and slide them farther over on the table to get more afternoon sun.
I took the above photo on February 11 (2018) as I was working on this page. It is in a “dormant” period and hasn’t grown a lick all winter. I have given it a little water off and on which is such a temptation when the leaves look wrinkly. I am always checking the leaves to make sure they are still, um… What is the word I am looking for? Stiff? Not floppy? Yeah, not floppy. I did give it a little water before I took the photo but it would have been just as well without it. GEEZ! It is so hard not to water succulents in the winter. Sometimes I think they should be somewhere I can’t see them so often…
If this plant was an Echeveria I would cut the stem below the rosette and regrow it. I am not sure if that would be a good idea with this plant, though. I posted this question on the Facebook Group called Succulent Infatuation to see if I can get a response. I also asked if I cut the stem and regrow it if it would add more time to when it flowered. One response was that I should just enjoy it like it is… Never know, it could be like starting over. I only go there periodically because I get stuck answering posts. There are other groups that sell succulents. I can’t go there either because I start drooling on my keyboard.
Once warmer temperatures came, I moved all the potted plants back outside for the summer.
I decided to remove the offsets from the original pot on June 30. Even though the stem of the original plant is crooked and looks a little strange, I just put its stem deeper in the pot for now. It does have roots growing under the rosette, but because of the shape of the stem under the rosette, it would be very difficult to regrow it from there. So, I will just leave it alone for now.
Well, I better stop here until I can take more photos. I hope you found this page and the links below somewhat useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please leave a “Like” below if you have visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂