Mother of thousands is an attractive succulent with large green leaves that form baby plantlets along the edges. It’s strong and highly adaptable to different environments with minimal effort.
If you own one of these succulents, you may want to know how you can take care of it so it thrives for many years to come.
In this guide, I will cover everything you need to know. So keep on reading.
What Is Mother of Thousands?
Also known as Kalanchoe daigremontiana, Alligator Plant or Devil’s Backbone,
The mother of thousands belongs to the Crassulaceae family.
It is native to Madagascar. In natural conditions, it reaches a height of almost 130 cm. Outside its natural area, it reaches moderate measures, which allows its cultivation indoors.
The tiny plantlets on the edges of its leaves have earned it the name “Mother of Thousands”. It has lost its ability to generate seeds in the course of its evolution so that it now only relies on seedlings.
It’s a robust, low maintenance succulent that is ideal for people who can’t devote too much time to caring for their indoor plants but still want lots of greenery.
Planting a Mother of Thousands
All you need is access to a Kalanchoe daigremontiana with plantlets. Once you have found this plant, choose one or two of these seedlings – it is advisable to choose more than one.
The next step is to store the seedlings in a plastic bag to keep them moist. If they dry up, they will die. Once you have provided a new home for these seedlings, gently place the seedlings on the soil surface (no need to push them into the ground) about 2 cm apart from each other. Then cover the pot with plastic to form a temporary greenhouse – plastic wrap works very well. Place the pot in a sunny corner and keep the soil moist. Now all you have to do is wait, monitor, and watch the succulent grow.
When the plants become a little taller, remove the plastic lid from the pot and let them bask in the sun. move them carefully to a larger pot.
The best pot for growth and drainage
As mother of thousands have small root systems and don’t require much water, little ornamental cups, everyday objects, and even empty cans make fantastic pots for them. Even if they are small or shallow, as long as there is room for soil, they can be used.
But there are still precautions to be taken.
The roots of Kalanchoe daigremontiana are quite vulnerable and do best when they have enough air circulating all around them. Ideally, you can use a terra-cotta pot with holes in the bottom so that excess water can drain off easily ( Better with a Saucer to protect your floors and decking from water and dirt).
Tip: We prefer terracotta pots because they are made of a breathable material, which is good for your succulent.
Things to watch for when planting
– After planting, if you pack the soil in too firmly it will result in poor drainage. It is fine to just press it in lightly.
– If the stems and leaves are covered in soil, they may rot, so take care not to add in too much soil.
How to plant a Mother of thousands in terrariums
Kalanchoe daigremontiana is a succulent that prefers a lot of indirect sunlight, that’s why Terrariums are a lovely way to display them as they thrive in the humid environment that the sealed glass helps to create.
However, it is also important to remember that this plant can be quite invasive when kept with other species in a terrarium: when the small seedlings fall and take root, they can quickly overtake them.
This can be avoided by removing the seedlings from the terrarium before they take root.
You can use specialist terrariums, but scrupulously clean glass jars, vases, bottles, or aquariums work well, too. However, bottles and anything with a narrow neck are tricky to plant so use long tools such as spoons, dibbers, and chopsticks to help you.
Caring for a Mother of Thousands
Kalanchoe daigremontiana is fairly easy to maintain. Here is everything you need to know about its care and maintenance.
Watering and humidity
Watering is your most crucial job when it comes to caring for your plant, and the ultimate aim is to get to know it well enough that you recognize the signs when they require a drink.
Succulents are generally known for their ability to stock water, but overwatering them can cause the roots to rot. And that’s not what you want.
The “soak and dry” method is the best way to water the “mother of thousands”. this method consists of completely soaking the soil then allowing it to dry between waterings.
Also note that during the cooler months, the plant enters a dormant period that requires less water, but as long as you monitor the soil moisture level, everything should go well.
Always use water at room temperature. Kalanchoe’s roots are extremely sensitive to temperature.
Be sure the pot you are using has one or more drainage holes, if not, it will be impossible for the soil to dry out completely.
Kalanchoe daigremontiana is in better shape in sandy soil that drains properly. A soil designed for cacti is a great choice. You can make your own if you don’t have a sandy potting soil. Just add a little sand to your regular potting soil.
Do not use soil containing a mixture of peat moss, humus, or loam, otherwise, it will take too long to dry and will retain too much moisture in the pot.
These plants do not require a massive amount of fertilizer. Instead, consider fertilizing once in the spring and once in the summer. Use a half-concentrated diluted liquid fertilizer to give them a boost. Skip fertilization in fall or winter.
These succulents need a lot of bright light. If you have it indoors, consider moving it outside from time to time, but it will thrive perfectly if you put it in an east-facing window for direct morning sunlight. Northern facing windows won’t offer enough light. Its unique leaves are vulnerable to sunburn if exposed to intense sunlight.
Without sufficient light, the mother of thousands fade forms long, arid growths, and eventually die. Therefore, you should always make sure that your plants are not too dark.
So the least you can do is bring it closer to the window or a brighter area. Even if you have little space or don’t want to put your succulents on window sills for other reasons, you may want to consider buying a grow light, which mimics sunlight and could save the life of your little plant. Your Kalanchoe will be happy when they are lit for several hours a day. They will thank you with good growth and healthy leaves.
The biggest disease potential comes from Fungus gnats.
They are nasty tiny black winged insects, around 3mm long, that love feeding on the roots of your succulent. They develop in overwatered soil and can quickly kill your plant.
You can get rid of them by :
– placing sticky cards or flypaper near affected Kalanchoe
– reducing watering to allow the top layer of potting mix to dry out
– applying a layer of sand or small pebbles over the top of the potting mix to deter female fungus gnats from laying their eggs.
Useful tips for your Mother of Thousands