Flapjack Succulent

The flapjack succulent (Kalanchoe luciae) is also known as a 'paddle plant' because of the paddle or clam-like shape of its leaves that form in rosette clusters. Kalanchoe luciae is found from the north-central escarpment of Limpopo and Mpumalanga and north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal provinces of South Africa and Swaziland; in grassland and bushveld habitats, usually in rocky situations or exposed slopes and hilltops. Adanson, who derived the genus name from the Chinese epithet for one of the species, described the genus Kalanchoe in 1763. The species name luciae honoursLucy Dufour, for whom this species was named by Raymond Hamet in 1908. Being a succulent perennial, it does not require much attention in sunny dry gardens. Plants take about 3-4 years to mature, but flowers may appear from the second year and remain for another year before seeds are dispersed. These plants are ideal for sunny areas and, being perennials, they can be used as semi-permanent features in beds of annuals or bedding plants.



Like most of the southern African species of Kalanchoe, K. luciae forms a basal rosette of large rounded, fleshy leaves, which are grayish cream with red margins. Plant is an erect, upward-facing, tightly arranged leaves are without petioles. The rosettes send up dense inflorescences, which are coated with a white powder. On the inflorescence, the lower leaves are rounded and become smaller as they ascend along the flowering stem. The dense inflorescence has small tubular flowers approximately 15 mm long. The flowers are whitish with recurved lobes and usually appear at the end of the summer growing season to midwinter (from February to June). They are sweetly scented. The flowering may persist for a long time on the plant until the whole plant eventually dies. Before it dies, the mother plant usually produces many small plantlets, which can be removed and grown on to become new plants. Kalanchoe luciae is often confused with K. thyrsiflora, which has yellow flowers and paddle-shaped leaves.


Table of Contents


Height(Avg)

1 - 5 feet


Width-Circumference (Avg)

0.5 - 3 feet


Approximate pH

5.5 - 6.0


Types of Flapjack Succulents


The Red-Fruited Flapjack Succulent


The red-fruited flapjack plant is a succulent that originates from the United States. It can also be found in Central America and South Africa. The plants have a long, thin stem. The plants grow in a triangular shape and have a red color on the leaf tips. The leaves are also known to be flat at the same time.


This is one of the most common types of flapjack plant and it may not look like much but it sure knows how to make people happy. Just take a look at this plant and these bright, cheery colors might just make you smile too.


Appearance: red-fruited flapjack succulent looks like a small, flat bush.


Location: red-fruited flapjack plants live in South and Central American and the United States.


Water: Water it regularly but not too much because there is a specific spot where you should water it. This plant requires higher amounts of sunlight during the summer months and little to no direct sunlight during the winter months.


Habitat: The plant is a herb that grows on the ground. The plant can be found in rocky or gravel-like environments.


The Yellow-Fruited Flapjack Succulent


The yellow-fruited flapjack succulent is found in Madagascar. It has a tall, cylindrical stem. The islands are covered with sand that is usually dry during the midday hours.


However, it does rain occasionally which causes the sand to become saturated with water. This creates a unique environment for the plants to grow and flourish.


The greenish-yellow leaves of the yellow-fruited flapjack succulent are flat, ovular, and triangular. They grow in groups on the ends of their stems. Leaves reach up to 6 inches long and 3 inches wide with sharp tips.


The plant’s flowers appear more like berries than actual flowers. The flowers range from orange to yellow as they mature.


In fact, the plants are so named because of the fruit-like appearance of their flowers, not their blossom. The seeds have a similar shape and resemble tiny beans.


Appearance: This is a tall plant with a cylindrical stem covered in pointy leaves growing out from it in groups. The leaves are green with a yellowish color and they grow up to 6 inches long and 3 inches wide with sharp tips. The flowers resemble tiny berries, ranging from orange to yellow in color.


Habitat: These plants are found in the dry regions of Madagascar, where it does rain occasionally creating a wet environment for the sand to become filled with water. It’s then that the plants are able to grow and flourish.


The Blue-Fruited Flapjack Plant


The blue-fruited flapjack plant is found in Madagascar. They are perennial shrubs and they thrive in regions of extreme cold and harsh conditions.


The plant is native to the eastern shoreline of Madagascar where it grows in the sand that is usually dry during midday hours.


The islands usually receive very little rainfall during the day when the plant wants plenty of water to drink, but it does rain at night when the plant wants no water to drink whatsoever. This results in a unique environment for them to grow and flourish.


The leaves of the blue-fruited flapjack are ovular or flattened, with one end growing longer than the other end. It has sharp points on each end of its leaves that are usually green with blue tinges on the tips.


The flowers of this plant are small, about 0.6 to 0.8 inches (1.5 to 2 cm) wide across and white or pale blue in color.


Appearance: This is a perennial pale blue shrub with ovular leaves that have one end growing longer than the other. Sharp points grow on the ends of its leaves, which are green with blue tinges at the tip. The flowers are white or pale-blue in color and only 0.6 to 0.8 inches (1.5 to 2 cm) wide across.


Habitat: This plant is found along the east shoreline of Madagascar where it grows in the sand that is usually dry during midday hours. The plant thrives in regions of extreme cold and harsh conditions.


The Green-Stemmed Flapjack Succulent


The Green-Stemmed Flapjack Succulent is found in Northern Africa, specifically in the Kalahari Desert. The plant is native to Northern Africa, specifically to the Kalahari Desert.


The plants are perennials that are usually found on grasslands with sandy soils that are drier during periods of time.


This specific plant enjoys hot weather and can withstand some cold weather conditions.


This specific flapjack succulent has leaves that grow in pairs on both sides of its stem. They have long stems that are green with small spines near their base, while at the top it is covered with small yellow flowers.


Appearance: This plant is a perennial and usually found on grassy plains with sandy soils that are drier during periods of time. The plant enjoys hot weather and can withstand some cold weather conditions. They have long stems covered in small spines near the base, while at the top it is covered with small yellow flowers.


Habitat: This plant is native to Northern Africa specifically the Kalahari Desert where they are perennials found on grasslands with sandy soils that are drier during periods of time. The bright green stems of this plant grow in pairs on both sides of the stem and have small spines near its base, while at the top it is covered with small yellow flowers.


The Purple-Stemmed Flapjack Plant


The purple-stemmed flapjack is found in mountains and woodlands in India. They can grow easily by themselves and do not require any chemicals for protection. The plant grows most abundantly in the forests and mountainous regions of the Western Ghats, Maharashtra state in Western India. They can be seen with pink bell flowers which grow on erect stems.


The blue-fruited flapjack plant is found in Madagascar. They are perennial shrubs and they thrive in regions of extreme cold and harsh conditions.


The plant is native to the eastern shoreline of Madagascar where it grows in the sand that is usually dry during midday hours.


The islands usually receive very little rainfall during the day when the plant wants plenty of water to drink, but it does rain at night when the plant wants no water to drink whatsoever. This results in a unique environment for them to grow and flourish.


The leaves of the blue-fruited flapjack are ovular or flattened, with one end growing longer than the other end. It has sharp points on each end of its leaves that are usually green with blue tinges on the tips.


Appearance: This plant is a perennial shrub that thrives in regions of extreme cold and harsh conditions. They are found on the eastern shoreline of Madagascar where they grow in the sand that is usually dry during midday hours. The plants enjoy little rainfall during the day while it rains at night. Blue-fruited plants grow on the sand and derive most of their nutrients from decaying organic matter.


Habitat: This plant is native to the eastern shoreline of Madagascar where it grows in the sand that is usually dry during midday hours. They enjoy little rainfall during the day while it rains at night which results in a unique environment for them to grow and flourish. The leaves of the blue-fruited flapjack are ovular or flattened, with one end growing longer than the other end. It has sharp points on each end of its leaves that are usually green with blue tinges on the tips.


The White-Stemmed Flapjack Plant


The white-stemmed flapjack is native to Chile. They are perennial shrubs that can grow up to two meters high. These plants are known to grow in wet areas with an abundance of water. They enjoy hot weather conditions and need plenty of water during the summer months.


The leaves that they have to contain many green or brown scales that cover their leaves completely. The flowers they produce are small and come in shades of pink, red, green, purple, yellow, white, and brown.


Appearance: This plant is native to Chile where it grows perennially as a shrub that can grow up to two meters high. The plant enjoys hot weather conditions and needs plenty of water during the summer months. The plant also produces small flowers that come in shades of pink, red, green, purple, yellow, white, and brown. Its leaves contain many green or brown scales that cover its entire leaf.


Habitat: The leaves that the white-stemmed flapjack plant has to contain many green or brown scales that cover their leave completely. They grow in wet areas with an abundance of water which they require in the summer months to keep them cool. The plant is native to Chile where it grows perennially as a shrub that can grow up to two meters high. They enjoy hot weather conditions and need plenty of water during the summer months.


The Pink-Stemmed Flapjack Succulents


The pink-stemmed flapjack is a succulent plant that grows in areas of dry regions. They are typically found growing in hot, dry climates which makes them very hardy plants. These succulents also enjoy very little water while they are grown outdoors.


Pink-stemmed plants have thick stems that vary in color from red to white or even purple. It may also be possible to find pink-stemmed plants with green or brown stems. They can grow anywhere between 20 to 60 centimeters tall. The leaves of the plant have been long, flat, and oval-shaped with pointed tips.


Appearance: Pink-stemmed flaps are succulents that typically grow in hot, dry climates which make them very hardy plants. They enjoy very little water while they are grown outdoors. Their thick stems vary in color from red to white or even purple. Pink-stemmed plants have leaves that are long, flat, and oval-shaped with pointed tips.


Habitat: The pink-stemmed flapjack is a succulent plant that grows in areas of dry regions. This makes them very hardy plants because they are able to survive in hot, dry climates. These plants also enjoy very little water while they are grown outdoors.


Flowering: This plant is able to flower during the spring months. During this time of the year, it produces pink flowers with long stamens and filaments. These plants also produce small green fruit that remains on the plant until winter.


Planting Flapjack Succulent


Where to Plant


Kalanchoe luciae is not cold hardy, so if you live in a zone that gets colder than 20° F (-6.7° C), it's best to plant this succulent in a container that can be brought indoors. It does well in full to partial sun. Plant in an area of your garden that gets 6 hours of sunlight a day.


Growing Flapjack Succulent


Being a monocarpic plant, the Kalanchoe Luciae plant will die once the flower bloom is over. When the flowers die after the blooming season, the whole plant generally dies. Therefore the tiny offsets need to be replanted in separate containers. Repotting succulents helps them to grow better in the next season.


Step 1 – Wait for the flowering to be done


Waiting really helps your plant’s tiny offsets to get as many nutrients as possible from the mother plant.


Step 2 – Cut the offsets


Once the flowers start dying, you can get a sharp knife or scissors to cut off the offsets (you can also cut the leaves)


Step 3 – Allow the part to callous


This can take up to 2-3 weeks. You need to keep the soil moist and keep the succulent away from direct sunlight in that period.


Step 4 – Plant the stems again


Once the stems are formed, you can plant them again in the succulent soil and take care of them as you are supposed to be.


Keep in mind that this needs to be done after every flowering season. Well, you will end up with such a large plant or maybe so many little roots, but this will definitely allow you to have a healthy succulent. Plus you can give your new growths as presents to friends and family.


Flapjack Succulent Care


This plant is relatively easy to care for when you provide it with the proper conditions and care. Providing your flapjack succulent gets plenty of natural light and warmth, it isn't overwatered, and it's planted or potted in soil with good drainage, you can expect rapid and healthy growth.


Light


As you would expect from a succulent native to South Africa and the surrounding areas, the flapjack likes a lot of sun, but it also does fine in a partial sun position. In the hot, sunny summer months, know that you may need to offer your flapjack a little protection against intense direct sunlight to keep the leaves from having leaf scorch damage.


The plant's green leaves can develop the red tips it's known for if your flapjack is given enough light during the cooler winter months.


Soil


Like most succulents, flapjack succulents prefer well-drained soil. A sandy or loamy variety that doesn't retain too much moisture will help ensure they thrive. Most garden centers and nurseries carry cactus or succulent potting soil mixes. Select a clay pot with good drainage if you are growing your plant indoors.


Water


As you would expect with a succulent, flapjacks are drought-tolerant, and great care should be taken not to overwater. The soil should be allowed to fully dry out before rewatering when the weather is hot. During the winter, they will need minimal watering or none at all. It is best to water in the morning to give the plant's roots time to absorb the water and the leaves to dry before the sun sets.


Temperature and Humidity


Paddle plants, like most succulents, thrive in dry, hot regions. They aren't cold-hardy, which is why they're most often kept as house plants. Flapjack succulents are not suited to very humid climates since their natural environments are dry, arid landscapes. If winter temperatures drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping them as an indoor plant or bringing them inside over winter is recommended.


Fertilizer


Your flapjack succulent will appreciate being fed a balanced and diluted fertilizer during its growth period over the spring and summer. Once every couple of months should be more than enough. Over-fertilizing, just like over-watering, can result in root rot or the formation of powdery mildew on these succulents.


Pruning and Propagating Flapjack Succulents

Pruning


The flapjack succulent requires very little pruning. Deadhead the flowers once they're spent, and take off any dead leaves or stalks. If you notice the plant is getting leggy, trim it back with pruning shears to keep it compact and rounded.


Propagating Flapjack Succulents


As with all kalanchoe succulents, you should wear gloves when handling them as your skin can become irritated from the sap from the leaves. It is best to propagate after the plant has stopped flowering during the late spring or early summer. Although these plants are monocarpic (they only flower once), they're easy to propagate from cuttings. Here's how:

  1. Select a healthy stem and using pruning shears or scissors, cut about a 2-3 inch piece that has a few leaves on it.

  2. Strip off the bottom leaves from the cutting, leaving at least two to three leaves on it.

  3. Let the cutting dry out and form a callus. This should take anywhere from one to three days.

  4. Plant the cutting in a container with pre-moistened potting soil by poking it in the soil just up to the first leaf from the bottom.

  5. Enclose the entire pot with a plastic bag to create a greenhouse effect.

  6. Place the pot in indirect light and moisten the soil when you see it is starting to get dry.

  7. Once it starts showing new growth—approximately 15 to 20 days—you can care for it as you would a full-grown plant.


Flapjack succulents can also be started from an individual leaf being laid on the soil. Mature and healthy specimens are fast-growing and readily produce new offsets that can be taken off the plant and potted.


Potting and Repotting a Flapjack Succulent


Repot your flapjack succulent during the late summer or fall after the blooming period for this plant has passed. Use a pot with drainage holes (preferably a clay one, as it will help absorb any excess moisture), that has been prepped with cactus or succulent potting soil, and carefully plant the succulent. Make sure to only go up to a slightly larger-sized container, as these plants do better when they're crowded.


Overwintering


Bring your flapjack succulent in during the colder months. These plants like to be in dry, hot weather. It's best to keep them inside to prevent any damage to them if you live where the temperature drops down below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.


Pests and Diseases


While paddle plants do not have many common pests or diseases, they are susceptible to a few of them. Spider mites, whiteflies, and mealybugs enjoy sucking the juices from the leaves of this plant but can be taken care of by using neem oil or an insecticide spray. Fungi, such as powdery mildew or botrytis blight, are diseases that infect these plants and are usually caused by overwatering or too humid conditions with not enough air circulating. An insecticide can eliminate these fungal diseases.


Uses


This plant is used in traditional medicine. The Sotho people use it as a charm to smooth away difficulties, and sometimes given, in medicine, to pregnant women who don't feel well. The Xhosa people use it to treat earache and colds. It is also used to make anthelmintic enemas. Please note that this plant is toxic to sheep and can have harmful effects on people, and should be used with caution.

Horticulturally the plants are very popular in rock gardens, on rocky embankments, and as container plants. They make beautiful displays when planted en masse, and their red leaf margins are particularly attractive. To bring out the best colour the plants should be exposed to full sun and drought as well as cool wintery nights. The plants can tolerate light to medium frost but severe frost will burn the leaves or leaf tips.

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