Penwiper Plant, Pen Wiper Plant, Spotted Kalanchoe, Penwiper, Baby Penwiper
ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY AWARD OF GARDEN MERIT
Synonyms of Kalanchoe marmorata (4) (Updated on 2-3-21): 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.
Plants of the World Online lists 155 species in the Kalanchoe genus (as of 2-1-21 when I last updated this page). It is a member of the plant family Crassulaceae with 36 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made.
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.
*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.
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 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.
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!
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.