Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - April 14, 2008

From: Minneapolis, MN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: I have a plant with plantlets on its leaves. What is it?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Pardon my inexperience. I received a plant as a gift, that is quite similar to aloe, yet smaller. It "bloomed" with tiny paired leaves sprouting from each of the serrations along the larger leaves. These tiny pairings dropped to the soil, and took root. Since then, the mature plant died, but I have been able to keep two of the tiny sprouts alive. They are quite large now, but are very lanky compared to their mother. They have begun to sprout roots high up the stem. An initially stout, compact succulent (I believe) has become a sprawling, almost vine like creature. I fear I've been over watering. I was told once that the plant was called "woman of 1000 babies" or something to that effect, but have been unable to find any listing by that name. I am really fascinated by this plant, and would like to bring it back to a healthy state. Does any of this ring a bell? What can I do?

ANSWER:

From your description, I would say that you have a Kalanchoe which certainly is a fascinating plant. There are some who would call it Bryophyllum. A second bone of contention is how does one pronounce Kalanchoe?

Kalanchoe, a member of the family Crassulaceae, is a tropical genus with over 126 species and is native to Madagascar. There are some species that occur in Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii where they are considered invasives.

The production of plantlets along the margins of the leaves narrows our selection to two possibilites; Kalanchoe delagoensis or Chandelier Plant, and Kalanchoe daigremontiana or Devil's Backbone or Mother of Thousands.

The planlets are capable of growing into a mature adults once they have fallen onto suitable substrate. This is a means of vegetative or asexual reproduction for the plant and is referred to as vivipary. The plant can also produce flowers and seeds.

You are dealing with a tropical succulent plant; this usually means high light and sparse water. You describe your new shoots as being lanky which could be a result of too little light. This could aslo account for the roots high up the stem. Water sparingly; let the top of the soil become dry to the touch before adding more water. This is a prolific reproducer and can be a problem in your greenhouse or your flower garden.



 

 

More Propagation Questions

Flowers for Fall in Bosque County from Valley Mills TX
April 06, 2012 - What Wildflowers could we plant in Bosque County area to bloom in the Fall?
view the full question and answer

Propagation of rain, oxblood, and copper lily bulbs
November 30, 2012 - I have Rain Lily, Oxblood Lily, and Copper Lily bulbs out of the ground, that are putting out some green growth. I would like to plant them soon. Is it okay to plant now and in December, or do I hav...
view the full question and answer

Grooming and propagation of Bee Balm
August 28, 2007 - I planted our first Bee Balm [Mornarda didyma] bush a month ago. I`ve watered it daily and it is growing well with many runners apparent. Should I be deheading or pinching regularly? Should I cut it ...
view the full question and answer

Seedlings from established plants in Parma Hts., OH
August 02, 2010 - I have 20 yr old shrubs and hedges along my back yard. I don't know their variety. How do I keep the seedlings from encroaching in my lawn? The seedlings have sprouted 3 feet into the lawn. Any ide...
view the full question and answer

Seed pods on Acer grandidentatum
June 23, 2007 - Hi, we have three young Big Tooth Maples that are doing very well in our pasture. We bought them already established and small. However, we would like to start some. Do they produce a seed?? What wo...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.