Powdery Soft Cactus Flapjack
by Connie B
(Rome, New York )
Hi, I have a cactus flapjack that I purchased last summer.
I'm concerned about the bottom leaves, they have become soft and limp. The plant also has a white powdery stem, and smaller flapjacks are growing around the plant.
The soft, limp leaves, and white powder lead me to believe it is diseased, however the new growth is a positive sign.
I water the plant every 7-10 days.
It is in a sunny porch in a 5in pot, so it receives a lot of sun.
Is my plant diseased, if so how can I save it? Despite the bottom leaves being soft, the other leaves look healthy and upright.
Drought Smart Plants reply: Hi Connie, the powdery 'bloom' is normal; it's a protective waxy coating that is formed to act as a sun shield, so no, it's not diseased.
It's also perfectly normal for the lower leaves to wear out, and become withered, finally drying out and falling off. This happens particularly after the plant forms pups, so it sounds like your plant is acting well within the normal range.
If the leaves are soggy, rather than just withering, this could be an indication that you're over watering.
These plants can survive extreme drought and thrive on a good dowsing, then being allowed to dry out almost completely between times.
Full sun is good, this will help the leaves attain their brilliant red coloration, and keep them smaller too, which will aid in allowing the plant to be strong enough to stand upright.
I've seen plants with such lush thick foliage that they fell over - I guess the stem and roots aren't that strong, even if the leaves are healthy.
See more about this plant here: Kalanchoe thyrsiflora.
Happy Succulent Growing!