Botanical Name: Kalanchoe tomentosa
Thick, soft, furry leaves give Panda Plant its common name. Other names for this succulent plant are Pussy Ears and Chocolate Soldier.
Branching from the central stem, the plump, rounded leaves taper to a point. They're silvery green marked with reddish-brown edges. The "fur" is actually soft, fine hair that covers these succulent plants.
Panda Plant will eventually grow side branches, forming a small shrub. It is slow-growing and will take a few years to reach its mature height of around 1 ft (30 cm).
In its native habitat, Panda Plant produces fuzzy, bell-shaped flowers in spring and summer. However, it rarely flowers indoors.
Decorative year-round, it makes a beautiful addition to a succulent dish garden. Like other succulent types, it stores water so it rarely needs watering.
And like other types of succulents, Kalanchoe tomentosa is tolerant of dry air. It makes a good house plant for heated homes. Just give it plenty of light and it'll thrive for many years.
Kalanchoe tomentosa is in the Crassulaceae family and includes more than 100 species. The most popular species for growing indoors is flowering Flaming Katy (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana).
Water carefully. Avoid getting the furry leaves of this plant wet because they'll easily rot. Water from the bottom or water the potting mix. If the leaves need to be cleaned, brush them gently with a soft, dry brush, such as a small paintbrush.
Leggy plants (tall stems with long spaces between leaves) are a sign the plant needs more sunlight. Move to a sunny window.
Repot in spring, only when it's outgrowing its pot. Move Panda Plant to a container only 1- to 2-inches (2.5 to 5 cm) larger. Pots that are too big will hold too much water for this succulent. Also be sure to use a pot with a drainage hole. If you want to cover up a plain nursery pot, just slip it into a cachepot (a decorative container without holes). It's a good idea to put some pebbles in the bottom of the cachepot to keep the nursery pot above the drainage water.
Something bugging your plant? Watch for mealybugs. They look like white, fuzzy patches, and tend to cluster at the base of the leaves or along the stems. Remove them with a cloth or cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.
Height: Up to 1 ft (30 cm) when grown indoors
Light: Bright light to full sun. Put this succulent in a bright location year-round. If you move it outdoors for the warm months, move it gradually to a sunny location to avoid scorching its leaves.
Water: Water thoroughly, allowing the top 1 in (2.5 cm) to dry out between waterings. Take care not to get the fuzzy leaves wet because they can rot. Use a pot with a drainage hole to prevent soggy potting mix.
Humidity: Average room humidity (around 40% relative humidity) or lower.
Temperature: Average room temperatures 65-75°F/18-24°C. If you move Kalanchoe tomentosa outdoors, don't worry -- it can take intense heat. However, it won't tolerate frost and may be damaged by temps up to 40°F/4°C.
Soil: Cactus potting mix provides fast drainage, which this succulent requires.
Fertilizer: Feed monthly in spring and summer with a fertilizer specially made for succulent plants.
Propagation: Take leaf cuttings in spring or early summer. Succulent cuttings root easily in moist sandy mix or perlite.