Kalanchoe thyrsiflora was first described in the book, Flora Capensis, published in 1861. The word kalanchoe is a corrupted Chinese name and thyrsiflora is Greek. This refers to the thyrse, or cluster of flowers, that are on the stems of the Kalanchoe. Other names for the Kalanchoe thyrsiflora include flapjacks or paddle plants because of the shape of their leaves.
The Kalanchoe thyrsiflora is a succulent and it has a variety of foliage. The leaves are smooth, flat and often red-coloured towards the edges. They can also be blue-green and the leaves have a frosted ‘coating’ to them. The flowers are usually dense and orange-yellow.
The Kalanchoe thyrsiflora grows in Asia and Africa in open rocky environments or on exposed hilltops. They are often exposed to harsh temperatures in the wild.
They are very easy to cultivate as they self-seed and the small rosettes of leaves that appear on the stem are also easy to remove to grow on. In the wild, they usually flower when they are two years old, between spring and autumn.
The Kalanchoe is one of six genera that belong to the Orpine (Crassulaceae) family. There are over 200 species of Kalanchoe, with Kalanchoe thyrsiflora being just one.
The Kalanchoe thyrsiflora is a drought-resistant plant that prefers hot climates. It is easy to maintain and prefers a warm and sunny position in the home. During winter, you can move it to somewhere cooler and water sparingly. It is frost-tender, so you should only place it outside in summer when the evenings are warmer. If you remove the old flower stalks after flowering, new flowers will quickly replace them.
Did You Know?
The leaves always point upwards so that the amount of leaf surface area exposed to the sun is minimised.
The Afrikaans name for Kalanchoe thyrsiflora is Meelpakkie, which means ‘dusted with flour’.