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Should You Let Your Flapjack Plants Bloom?

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You’re probably aware of flapjack plant (Kalanchoe luciae), a succulent that’s popular because of the color of its leaves. (Shown above at Waterwise Botanicals nursery, perfectly timed for Valentine’s Day.)

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Like other succulents with overlapping leaves along a single stem, when Kalanchoe luciae blooms, the entire plant elongates. This is how those in my window box looked in March of last year.

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If your goal is to have a lot of new little plants, one option is to let the mother plant bloom. Providing it survives the effort (they usually do, but not always), you’ve hit the jackpot. Harvest each cluster with several inches of stem attached to anchor it, and start it as a cutting. Roots will grow from leaf axils (where leaves are attached to the stem).

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I didn’t want awkwardly tall plants in my window box, so when the flapjacks started to elongate in March, I snipped off the bloom spikes. The mother plants seemed determined to flower regardless, and buds grew from leaf axils beneath the cut. I was just as determined they weren’t going to flower, so I pinched out the buds.

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Within a month, the plants’ topmost leaves turned beige and crisp along the edges. I’m not sure why this happened, but I trimmed them to keep the plants tidy.

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By June, new little leaves concealed the truncated stems, indicating that the plants had been gearing up to produce offsets. When they couldn’t do it along a bloom spike, they did so closer to the core.

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Here’s how one of the plants looked in August.

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And again in October. Other plants in the window box are blue echeverias and Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Sticks on Fire’. The composition looks fine, but would be even better if those flapjacks would turn as red as they were at the nursery! (Hm. Topic for a future post? “How to Keep your Flapjacks Red.” Advice welcome!)

 

 

11 replies
  1. Emily A. R.
    Emily A. R. says:

    I find that the flapjacks stay red when they have generous amounts of light but very little watering. I have dozens across multiple areas at a job site anf those that are in the shade more than half the day and/or get too much water turn green and produce A LOT MORE of the powdery white stem cover.

    Reply
  2. Linda Rjabanedelia
    Linda Rjabanedelia says:

    Hello,

    I purchased a flapjack plant two weeks ago, it’ very healthy and green. I placed it on my porch where it gets plenty of sun.
    How and when will it turn red like the picture above

    Thank You Linda

    Reply
    • Debra
      Debra says:

      It will likely turn red gradually. If you don’t notice that the edges are reddening, it may be a variety that doesn’t.

      Reply
  3. Liane
    Liane says:

    I have a number of young fapjack plants and I think the secret to them turning very red is to starve them for water, and let them be in a sunny but cold position. Good luck !

    Reply
  4. Cynthia
    Cynthia says:

    Hi Debra, Just read your post on Kalanchoe ‘Flapjack’ — I live in SoCal (plenty of sun and dry air). When our Flapjacks started to bloom, I cut the stem off, and now the baby plants are forming in clusters around the outer base.
    Just out of curiosity, if you leave the Mother plant intact at flowering & let the ‘babies’ remain in place….what happens? Do they fall off and start growing? Just wondering….thanks for the info about how to remove the main stem with plantlets and root them. Great website, thank you!

    Reply
    • Debra
      Debra says:

      Hi Cynthia — The plantlets will continue to drain the main plant which may keel over, thereby putting its offspring on the ground, where they can root.

      Reply
  5. Ina S Cohen
    Ina S Cohen says:

    I have a Flap Jack that has sent out a large chute. It has a flower stem. What should I do with this? I live in Florida and it has been very dry. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Debra
      Debra says:

      Hi Ina, You can enjoy the bloom but risk losing the plant, or sever the spike close to the plant and hope it recovers. Up to you.

      Reply

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