The desert cabbage is an unusual looking plant that develops in a rosette of flat, round leaves. It will add a bold texture and form to your succulent garden. The grey-green leaves can grow about 15cm long and will develop a tinge of red when exposed to full sun. Mature plants may produce a spike of fragrant, yellow flowers in the spring. These succulents draw their origin from South Africa and belong to the Crassulaceae family, an extremely varied group. This plant also goes by other common names such as the paddle plant and the flapjack plant. The genus Kalanchoe is a misspelling or a garble of the original Chinese name applied to various species of succulent herbs.The specific epithet, thyrsiflora, refers to the thick cluster of flowers (thyrse) the plant produces at maturity (approximately three to four years of age). This dramatic looking succulent should not be missing from your collection.
Common name: Desert cabbage
Scientific name: Kalanchoe thyrsiflora
Maintenance: Easy to care
Toxicity: All parts are toxic
Where to keep the plant: Since the plant can tolerate partial shade to full sun, you can pretty much place this plant anywhere, in your balcony or bedroom, you name it! Window sills and shelves that receive an adequate amount of sunshine are ideal positions.
Once a week. Water thoroughly once a week, then allow the top 2 inches of the soil to dry out completely before watering. Do not allow the soil to be soggy as you might risk root rot. Avoid getting the leaves wet too, to prevent rot. Remember to always use room-temperature water to water your desert cabbage.
Full sun. This succulent thrives in bright light to full sun. Give the pot a quarter turn every week or so, as so to expose all the sides of the plant to sunlight. The leaves of the succulent will turn red if kept in full sun.
Cactus potting mix. Use a cactus potting mix or mix two parts potting mix with one part horticultural sand. It prefers soil that is slightly acidic with a pH value of 6.1 to 6.5; however, it can also do well in a neutral pH ranging from 6.6 to 7.3.
Warm. Desert cabbages favor temperatures ranging from 65-75F. If the temperature reduces to below 50F, it may cause issues to your succulent. These enjoy average room temperature and can tolerate dry air of heated homes as well.
During the growing season. Feed the succulent with a light cactus or succulent fertilizer through the growing season, which is from the start of spring till the end of summer. Do not fertilize during the fall or winter.
Seeds or cuttings. Take a leaf-cutting during the spring or the summer and pot it in a moist cactus potting mix. This will develop into a new baby desert cabbage. It is much easier to propagate through seeds that are readily available online or in a nearby nursery.