The Panda Plant/ Pussy Ears Plant ‘Kalanchoe Tomentosa’

Kalanchoe Tomentosa Image

Unique, attractive, and low maintenance that’s just the most fitting description for succulents. When you thought you had landed on the most astounding succulent, nature surprises you with even more than that. Exploring succulents never ends.

Whether you recently joined the succulents and cacti club or you’re an old hand trying to enrich your collection, the Panda plant might just be your best fit. The unique foliage makes this succulent a popular decorative ornamental in living rooms, offices, and landscapes.

Quite forgiving and easy-care succulent, the panda plant will not die if you forget to water it once in a while. Plus, the succulent does well indoors and can blend well with other succulents.

  • Other Names: The Panda Plant.
  • Sunlight: Bright and shade light for balance.
  • Watering: Minimum water use.
  • Temperature: 15°C to 24°C.
  • Growth Season: Spring/Summer.
  • Propagation: propagated from leaf cuttings
  • Height: 45cm when fully mature.

An Introduction To The Panda Plant

The panda plant is a slow-growing perennial succulent with unusual foliage. The succulent has a robust, branched stem, with its base turning woody as the plant gets older. Reaching a height of only up to 45cm (17.7 in), Kalanchoe Tomentosa’s branching stems give it an upright, shrub-like appearance.

The panda plant is widely recognized for its furry leaves which are fleshy, oval, and grey-green in color. The leaves lack a stalk and are covered by white or silvery fine hairs (trichomes) making them have a velvety touch. (Talk about soft). 

The tips and edges of its leaves are tinged with a dark chocolate color which gives it an attractive appearance. The leaves grow in loose rosettes borne on a woody hairy stem. 

Kalanchoe Tomentosa will readily bloom in its natural habitat. The flowers are tubular and bell-shaped, usually produced at the tips of the leaves. Blooming is mainly in summer or winter with the plant producing yellow-green flowers and dark brown petal tips. However, the panda plant will rarely bloom indoors.

If you’re dying to see blooms show up on your Tomentosa, you can get it outside during spring or summer to increase its chances.

Kalanchoe Tomentosa the panda plant
Potted Panda @pottingdaddy

Scientific Classification

The botanical name for the Panda plant is Kalanchoe Tomentosa. The word Tomentosa means “covered with fine hairs.” It belongs to the Crassulaceae family which includes more than a hundred species including the humble jade plant and the burro’s tail.

The genus Kalanchoe is made up of about 125 species of flowering succulents. The name Kalanchoe originates from the Chinese name “Kalan Chauhuy” which is translated to “that which falls and grows.”

Also known as the chocolate soldier, Kalanchoe Tomentosa has a bunch of other names. The most popular ones include; Panda bear plant, plush plant, white lady, panda plant, donkey ears, and cat or pussy ears.


Although native to Madagascar, Kalanchoe Tomentosa is widely grown as a houseplant in many parts of the world. Its original habitat is granite rocks. Typical of other succulents, it stores water in its thick, fleshy leaves as it has been adapted to xerophytic conditions.


Kalanchoe Tomentosa the panda plant
Flourishing Panda Plant @succulentsbysophie

Kalanchoe Tomentosa Care

When it comes to growing or caring for a panda plant, nothing could be easier. The plant is already adapted to surviving in desert conditions and it will thrive on neglect. However, as with any other succulent, specific environmental conditions will favor its growth.

Keep your Panda plant in the following ideal conditions for optimum growth.

What Is The Ideal Temperature For A Panda Plant?

The panda plant can thrive in a wide range of temperatures. Mostly, it will do well in warm temperatures of between 15 to 24 degrees Celsius (60 to 75 Fahrenheit), though slightly lower or higher temperatures wouldn’t harm it.

You can take your panda plant outdoors during spring and summer but be sure to bring it back during freeze cold and frosty nights. Cold temperatures will quickly damage your plant and it might even die. Conversely, exposing the plant to direct sunlight for very long hours during summer may lead to sunburn.

Kalanchoe Tomentosa the panda plant
Striking Panda Plant @nature.reflections

How much light does the Kalanchoe Tomentosa plant need?

This Kalanchoe will produce healthy and rich leaves if exposed to bright sunlight. You can throw in a few hours of shade just for the balance. If growing the panda plant indoors, set it on a sunny window in the morning and late afternoon. Avoid setting it on the hot midday sun as this will damage its tender leaves.

Be careful when growing it indoors. Poorly lit spaces may lead to succulent etiolation making your panda plant to be stretched, curved, and scrawny. If necessary, get a grow light to ensure enough light on your plants.

Soil & fertilizing requirements for Kalanchoe Tomentosa succulents

Most succulents hate sitting on damp soil for extended periods of time. Kalanchoe Tomentosa is no exception. It will easily rot from the roots if the soil remains wet for a long time. To prevent this tragedy, use soil that has good drainage capabilities. Nothing beats a cactus commercial potting mix. It is specially formulated to mimic the desert soil so that it can provide the proper Ph for your plant while keeping it healthy. You can get commercial cacti potting mix online for a few bucks.

For you DIY geeks, you can make your own cacti mix by mixing garden soil with equal amounts of pumice or perlite. Make sure it’s grainy and doesn’t stick as that would be disastrous to your panda plant.

This desert succulent doesn’t necessarily need fertilizer for it to show robust growth. Feeding it once or twice a year is enough. Only feed it during the growing season (Spring and summer). Use a diluted liquid fertilizer that’s specific to succulents. 

Kalanchoe Tomentosa the panda plant
Panda Plant Soaking up the Sunlight @damngreenhouse

Watering The Panda Plant – Kalanchoe Tomentosa

The Panda Plant has numerous adaptations to enable it to survive on little water. Its leaves are endowed with a covering of white hairs which prevents air from directly moving across the surface of the leaf. Consequently, this reduces the loss of water vapor that’s usually caused by transpiration.

The trichomes are also closely stacked together, shielding the leaf from harsh environmental conditions. Additionally, the white or silver color of the leaves reflects light preventing overheating.

With such adaptations in regard to water storage, the last thing this succulent would need is overwatering. Flood it thoroughly and only do so again when the soil is completely dry. Do not leave any excess water in the soil, let everything drain down or pour out the excess water.

Read more about watering your panda plant: “When Should You Really Water Your Succulents”.

Kalanchoe Tomentosa the panda plant
Miniature Panda Baby @garden.gurrl

What Are Common Problems For Panda Plants?

Yellow mushy leaves

Yellow leaves on your panda plant are indicative that you’ve been overwatering this plant. Leaves will be mushy as an early rotting sign due to excess moisture. This can be averted if caught early.

Cut back on watering and let the soil dry out completely. If unsure, give the soil up to 2 days for it to dry. With Kalanchoe Tomentosa, it’s better to underwater than to drown them. You can pluck out the mushy leaves to prevent the spread of the rot.

Panda plant pests

Mealybugs usually have a whale of time camouflaging in Kalanchoe Tomentosa’s white leaves. They produce some white powdery substance that can easily be confused with the normal color of the leaf. Carefully inspect your plant from time to time for white little bugs. You can use 70% isopropyl alcohol or neem oil to ward them off.

Poison concerns

If ingested, the panda plant is mildly toxic in all its parts to humans and pets. Keep it away from curious toddlers and small pets who may want to taste its leaves.

Kalanchoe Tomentosa the panda plant
Outdoor Panda Plant @plantsbylauryn

How To Propagate The Panda Plant Succulent

When it comes to succulents, getting more plants is never a concern. Propagation always completes the equation. In Kalanchoe Tomentosa, this is done by leaf cuttings. The best time to do it is during spring or summer when conditions favor growth.

Simply pluck a few leaves from your plants. Just pick enough as plucking many leaves will weaken the plant while just one may fail to produce roots. Allow the leaves to be callous for a few days to prevent rot of the fresh wound when planted.

Get commercial cacti mix and place the calloused leaves on it. Slightly dampen the soil and water it once it is completely dry. Place the propagates in a spot where they’ll receive lots of indirect sunlight.

Get a more in-depth guide on all things propagation with our article: “How To Propagate Succulents Successfully”.

Kalanchoe Tomentosa the panda plant
House plant Panda @plantladycr

Repotting Panda Plants

The panda plant is a fairly slow-growing succulent that doesn’t need repotting that often. You can repot it once in every two years to a size larger than its pot.

Once it reaches 45cm (17.7in) long, it stops growing which means less repotting. Even when fully mature, Kalanchoe Tomentosa doesn’t require a big pot unless a lot of branching has taken place making it top-heavy.

Where Can I Buy Panda Plants?

Oh yeah, we saw this coming. Who wouldn’t want to grab a Kalanchoe Tomentosa given all its amazing features? Locally, you can buy one in plant nurseries, conservatories, or garden centers near you. Hunting during spring or summer may largely increase your chances.

Kalanchoe Tomentosa the panda plant
Pretty Pandas @nadinetravica

Do you understand why Panda Plants get their nicknames from now, quite neat right? Do you have a panda plant? Let us know what you do to keep this succulent healthy and vibrant!

If you love this plant, there is no reason not to like Bear Paws succulent! This plant is very similar to the one we talked about! Make sure to check the plant out!

Thanks for reading our article on panda plants! Here are a few more suggestions for your upcoming read:

Succulent City chief editor


Succulent City

Hey everyone! Welcome to Succulent City! We are all about succulents, cacti, and a bit about air plants. Ten years back, in 2013, we began the journey with succulents. It started as a simple hobby, crafting and selling charming succulent-themed pins and decorations. But as time passed, our fascination with these remarkable plants grew, and we gained extensive knowledge about them. Therefore, Succulent City is the blog as you see it is now. Enjoy your visit and happly planting!

2 thoughts on “The Panda Plant/ Pussy Ears Plant ‘Kalanchoe Tomentosa’

  1. Hi & thank you for the information. Recently my panda’s leaves started falling off ( just by touching or bumping them). I’m guessing I’ve overwatered even though I’ve been careful not to. Now all the yellow leaves are gone bit I see yellow in the stem too. Should I lop of the top to save it? Right now it looks like healthy looking tops on to on a stick since the other leaves are gone (with one tiny branch). Thank you for advice!!

    1. Hi,
      Yes, as stated in this article, your plant is probably overwatered. Just inspect your root. Does the stem feel smushy? If yes, unfortunately little Panda plant is not likely to survive. Sorry to hear this. I hope you get a new one and be more careful at watering it.

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