Looking for ID and way to cut back

by Debra
(Atlanta, GA - USA)

It's 3-4 years old, 28 inches high and 10 inches wide at the widest point. It has a single thick stem. I'm calling it a Kalanchoe or Paddle, though I don't know if that. It's bending over from the weight at the top and I'd like to cut it back. Can you tell me what the succulent is and if I can keep the growth lower? It's very healthy. Many thanks.

Drought Smart Plants reply:

Hi Debra, you may certainly cut this plant back, and it will reward you with a bushier and much nicer looking healthy growth habit.

If you cut it close to the base of this plant, leaving maybe two or three tiers of leaves, then you'll get a new shoot coming out of each 'axil' or where the leaf joins the stem. If you count, this will give you either four or six new stems. As each one grows, you can do the same thing, with each one shooting out new growth.

What to do with the part you cut off? Well, you can propagate that, and make many more of the same kinds of plants. If any of your friends have ever made a favorable comment about it, then guess what they'll be getting as a present? I would cut the stem into several pieces with two to six leaves each, and after leaving them to callous so they don't rot, you can put them into dry well drained potting soil. See more on how to do this on the succulent plant propagation page.

So for identification, I think you're pretty much right on - the botanical genus name is Kalanchoe either thyrsiflora, or luciae. See the page on succulent care for more on how to grow.


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