Admire The Beauty Of ‘Mother of Millions’ Kalanchoe Delagoensis

Madagascar native Kalanchoe genus includes some of the most beloved varieties of succulents. They are characterized by vibrant green, fleshy leaves and colorful, pendular flowers that bloom consistently. Most members of the Kalanchoe family typically share similar traits, making it difficult to differentiate between them. 

The most popular species are K. BlossfeldianaK. ManginiiK. Porphyrocalyx, and K. Beharensis, but when it comes to the most sought-after succulent in the family, Kalanchoe Delagoensis is the undisputed superstar. 

Although wildly popular, Kalanchoe Delagoensis, also known as Mother of Millions, is often confused with another species of the Kalanchoe genus – Mother of Thousands. 

So, it’s easy to confuse the two because of their apparent similarities. Since their scientific names are also similar sounding, a lot of people do not even know that they are two different species. Even in adverse conditions, both plants spread rapidly – a trait responsible for their names, Mother of Millions and Mother of Thousands.

To clear the air of all confusion and disinformation, here is a brief guide to differentiating between the Mother of Millions and the Mother of Thousands.

Blossoms of Kalanchoe delagoensis
Blossoms of Kalanchoe Delagoensis (synonym K. Tubiflora); greenhouse in Hockenheim, Germany – By Das Nili – Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 2.5, Wikimedia

Mother Of Millions Vs Mother Of Thousands

Similarities

#1. Care

Sunlight

Since they are technically cousins, both Kalanchoe children thrive in similar conditions. Natives of tropical Africa are comfortable in bright light but ideally shouldn’t be placed in direct sunlight. Kalanchoe Delagoensis prefer 4 to 6 hours of bright direct to partial sunlight daily. If the plant is placed indoors, place it near the window to get enough sunlight.

Temperature

The ideal temperature for your Kalanchoe Delagoensis is between 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Although your plant can tolerate mild frost and slightly freezing temperatures, the warm temperature is still what gives your Kalanchoe Delagoensis an optimal environment.

Soil

They prefer adequately moist but loose, well-draining soil. For this reason, owners usually prefer homemade potting material rather than a commercial cactus potting mix. Mix equal parts of perlite and potting soil to prepare your soil mixture. Don’t forget to add a handful of sand for better drainage.

Water

Both succulents prefer a similar watering schedule: infrequent but intensive watering, depending on the weather conditions. In addition, both are extremely easy to care for and are popular with gardening beginners.

Fertilizer

Naturally, Kalanchoe Delagoensis doesn’t need much fertilizer compared to other succulents. You might decide to feed your plant if you feel like it needs additional nutrients to thrive. Make sure that you are using a suitable succulent fertilizer.

Repotting

You might only need to repot your Kalanchoe Delagoensis when it grows bigger than its current pot. Carefully remove the plant from its pot, and ensure you don’t damage the roots. Changing the soil to prevent any pests or diseases from transferring to your new pot is also advisable. Choose a new pot at least two sizes bigger than your current one to allow your Kalanchoe Delagoensis to grow fully. Take note also to avoid unnecessary repotting as it may do more harm to your plant.

Pruning

This might not be necessary, but if you notice any dying or dead leaves or flowers after its blooming season, that would be the perfect time to prune your Kalanchoe Delagoensis. To do this, use clean, sharp scissors to remove any dying or dead leaves. Pruning is beneficial to maintaining the size and shape of your succulent. It also allows your succulent to distribute its nutrients properly.

#2. Propagation

Because of their prolific multiplying capacity, both plants are easily found nearly everywhere. From pavements to home gardens, they grow effortlessly. They can survive harsh climatic conditions, whether wet, frosty, or arid. The succulents start photosynthesizing and developing roots before detaching from their mother. So, they are already baby plants when they hit the ground. Both plants produce colorful orange and yellow flowers but not very often. This is because the succulents have evolved to prefer propagation through bus rather than seed. After all, the former is more efficient. This is to say, even their seeds survive years after they have sprouted.

Because of this, they have gained the reputation of being weeds. Due to their tendency to propagate effortlessly, they overtake other plants in the surroundings.

Kalanchoe Delagoensis can also be propagated through seeds. After flowering, there will be plenty of seed capsules with tiny seeds. It is advisable to sow the seeds during the spring or summer season. Make sure to cover the seeds with soil lightly.

#3. Toxicity

Both Mother’s siblings are noxious and poisonous, which means it is essential to keep them contained in your garden or balcony. Both Kalanchoes have bufadienolide cardiac clycosides, which cause cardiac arrest. Not only the milky sap within their stem is toxic, but also their flowers and hybrid variations can prove to be fatal.

Mother of Millions has been associated with mass cattle death in Australia. Not only cattle, but even if domestic pets like cats, dogs, and birds ingest it, they can also be at the risk of gastrointestinal irritation or worse. If an event like this occurs, remember to call your veterinarian immediately. For this reason, it is advisable to grow succulents outdoors. Growing and caring for these plants is an easy job but, containing them is the real challenge.

Differences

#1. Leaves

The biggest difference between both plants is the shape of their leaves.

Mother of Thousands has wide, teardrop-shaped leaves. These leaves usually grow in pairs, with each leaf growing on the opposite side of the stem. They display an alternate growth pattern to ensure they receive maximum direct sunlight. The edges of these broad leaves are filled with ridges. These tiny ridges grow into baby plantlets or buds and help with propagation. There are two situations wherein a Mother of Thousands plant will show signs of propagation: either when it is fully healthy or when it is on the verge of dying.

On the contrary, Mother of Millions, also known as Devil’s Backbone and Chandelier Plant, have considerably narrow leaves. Instead of alternating and growing in pairs, they grow from the same node on the stem. Plantlets grow on the tip of leaves. Instead of a full complement of babies, each leaf only has 2-4 plantlets.

Mother of thousands
Mother of Thousands – Photo from Amazon

#2. Growth

Another difference between both plants is that they display distinct growth patterns.

With several stalks growing upwards out of the same plant, the Mother of Millions forms bushy, patchy structures. On the other hand, the Mother of Thousands has a central stalk that grows vertically towards the sun. This single stalk is often weighed down by its leaves, but it keeps growing nevertheless.

Because of their tendency to grow in the most demanding climate conditions easily, they are confused with weeds. Their rapidly growing nature is a nuisance to their surroundings. Although genetically, they might not be what we call ‘weeds’ in daily life, they behave a lot like them.

Photo from Amazon

Common Problems, Pests, and Diseases

One of the most common problems when dealing with Kalanchoe Delagoensis is sunburn. When taken for granted under intense afternoon heat, your plant might be unable to make it alive. During summer or when experiencing a heatwave, it is advisable to transfer your Kalanchoe Delagoensis to a shaded location. Once the temperature goes back to normal, you may now bring back your plant outdoors under direct sunlight.

Kalanchoe Delagoensis is not prone to many in terms of pests and diseases. The most common ones are just mealybugs and aphids. These sap-sucking pests can cause damage to your succulents. However, with proper care, you can avoid this. Inspect your plant closely every week to check for possible discoloration or irregularity. You might remove the pests simply by spraying water or a mild insecticidal soap. Just make sure you are not overdoing it to avoid damaging your plant.

Kalanchoe Diffirentiation

The rapidly multiplying Kalanchoe subgenera grow relentlessly in harsh environments with minimal care. They are quite a nuisance to many, but their unique design makes them popular within succulent-loving circles. 

Mother of Millions is undoubtedly the most beloved species in the family, and it doesn’t come as a surprise – who wouldn’t love a cluster full of bright flowers on their balcony? Because the Mother of Millions shares commonalities with another Kalanchoe sibling, Mother of Thousands, it is a little difficult to separate the two. However, with this succinct guide to differentiating between the two, you will be well on your way to bringing the right Mother’s plant to your home. 

2 thoughts on “Admire The Beauty Of ‘Mother of Millions’ Kalanchoe Delagoensis

  1. It’s taken me months to get rid of mother of millions from my garden. They are such prolific spreaders and pop up everywhere. I think I’ll be finding and removing them for years so it’s very important to keep them contained.

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