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Kalanchoe tetraphylla

 
Kalanchoe tetraphylla
paddle plant, flapjacks
Return from the deathly freeze
Synonym(s) Kalanchoe thyrsiflora
Common name paddle plant, flapjacks
Family crassulaceae
Life cycle perennial (Z10-12)
Flowers yellow
Size 12-30"
Light sun-part shade
Cultural notes well drained soil; drought tolerant

South African native with large paddle-shaped succulent leaves that color up reddish pink along the rims when grown in full sun. Flowers on spikes well above the leaves after several years. After flowering, the mother plant dies, but the patch typically lives on by the offsets that have been produced in the meantime. We saw a nice patch of this plant growing at Peckerwood Garden and were happy to see a few smaller plants up for grabs in the sale area. Of course I had to enlarge the rock garden upon returning home to accommodate it, but such are the challenges of the compulsive plant collector.
I was told that at Peckerwood, this is one of the few plants that receives supplemental freeze protection during the coldest nights, so I tried to cover it during the several severe (for Houston) freezes in January 2018 – but one whopper freeze that went on for more than 24 hours was too much, and turned the entire plant, including what I could see of its base, to mush. Ever hopeful, I left the stub in place, and was eventually rewarded, in early April: two small leaves marking the return of the tender succulent. Hopefully, our plant will become more firmly established during its first full season in our garden, so that it will be ever better equipped to resist any future freezes – because I'm not so good at running out with blankets every time a freeze threatens!

In our garden, this plant grows in the following area: Houston rock garden

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Last modified: April 08, 2018
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