Upright clumps of leaves that almost look like some kind of undersea shell, or a stack of pancakes make this plant distinctive from any other Kalanchoe. The leaves and especially the stems are usually coated with a white powder known as 'bloom' that protects them from excessively bright conditions, as well as moisture loss.
In time, the plant can form a large cluster of the rosettes, and eventually a tall flower stalk will emerge from the center of one or more of them.
The stalks can grow to a height of nearly two meters (six feet) and the yellow flowers are held in clusters atop the stalk.
After the flower finishes, this particular rosette will die; these plants are 'monocarpic' or once-flowering.
Other names this plant goes by are Desert Cabbage and Paddle Plant, both descriptive of its appearance.
These are extremely drought tolerant plants, and grow well in a large mixed container in cooler climates to be brought indoors for the winter.
Keep them dry; in fact, I've successfully overwintered them without any soil, as large cuttings. They look sad by the time spring arrives, but once plugged into your container, will root and grow quickly. Kalanchoe thyrsiflora 'Tricolor' is a variegated type, with pink, green and white markings.
Other closely related plants are Kalanchoe luciae, which tends to have less bloom, and slightly different shaped foliage.
Some sources say Kalanchoe luciae 'Fantastic' is the same plant as K. thyrsiflora 'Tricolor', others think they are different species; they're mixed up in the trade and go under both names. It's suspected that most plants going by Kalanchoe thyrsiflora are in fact Kalanchoe luciae, but due to the difference in appearance depending the growing conditions, it's really hard to tell which is which.
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Is this a Kalanchoe thyrsifolia?
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