The mother of thousands holds a special place in the hearts of many succulent enthusiasts.
Gardeners also adore her because of the special trick she has got up her sleeve: plantlets. And loads of them.
The way these babies tag along the edges of the leaves also contributes to the aesthetics of the plant.
Guess what? She isn’t the only one with such a gift.
There is a couple of mother of thousands varieties with similar reproductive styles —some you might find even more appealing.
Although others might not be as prolific as the Mother of Thousands, they can step in her place, so to speak.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ones below:
Top 5 Mother Of Thousands Varieties
1. Crossbred Mother Of Millions (Kalanchoe X Houghtonii)
This cultivar is crossbred between the mother of millions and the mother of thousands.
Having both plants’ genetics is a potent mix. But the one thing that REALLY stands out is its almost indestructible and rugged nature to survive on any ground.
Even when thrown on a trash pile, it thrives interestingly on its own.
This plant doesn’t require any care. It is hard enough to survive independently so long as it has access to water and sunlight.
However, severe frost will bring it to its knees. This is why they often die during the winter.
You can admire the strength of this garden escape, but it’s also a noxious weed.
It is almost impossible to remove once they step foot in your garden bed.
A couple of tiny plantlets will always survive any attempt to obliterate them. And then they regroup in massive.
It is just ridiculous!
To add to the problem, they also spread through seeds and are poisonous to stock.
Admittedly, any succulent enthusiast will be blown out of the water by its V-shaped, Arched, and fleshy leaves.
This biennial plant is erect and unbranching with pendulous pink and orange flowers.
They look absolutely gorgeous in a tall, stemmed green vase as a cut flower. And at optimal conditions, they bloom graciously.
2. Kalanchoe Daigremontiana (Bryophyllum Daigremontianum)
The Kalanchoe Diagremontiana is native to the Androhibolava mountains and Fiherenana River valley of southwest Madagascar.
It is an aggressive weed that naturalizes anywhere it lays root. Commonly known as Palm tree Bryophyllum, this plant is the sole survivor on grounds other crops fail to thrive.
The exudates of its root can be contagious to nearby plants. And they are not your friends.
YES, you can appreciate their drought tolerance and nearly indestructible nature. But don’t be fooled; they are as toxic as other members of the Kalanchoe.
Palm tree Bryophyllum contains cardiac glycoside – daigremontianin –that is lethal to livestock, birds, and other smaller animals when consumed in excess.
3. Lavender Scallops (Kalanchoe Fedtschenkoi)
You can call it the South American air plant, Kalanchoe stonecrop, lavender scallops, or any name that suits your label. Still, this succulent is a popular choice in indoor and outdoor uses.
The pinkish or brownish margins along the broad paired leaves add to the beauty of the fleshy herbaceous plant.
They also grow 20 to 60 cm tall, upright, spreading stems that call attention.
And while they aren’t the mother of thousands, you can enjoy similar reproductive traits.
4. Donkey Ears (Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri)
I’m a big fan of this one: Donkey Ears.
The name paints a fun image of how this plant might look.
And indeed, it does. Their leaves resemble the shape of a donkey’s ear, about 15 to 50 cm long.
Branched only at the base, their waxy red candelabras and hug rosettes of light green, purple-blotched foliage make them worth looking at.
Furthermore, Donkey Ears are fast-growing biennial or perennial succulents and have got that mother of thousands reproductive signature.
Maintenance is relatively low, which makes it the ideal plant for a busy homeowner. And their nasty roots make them easy to uproot when you don’t want them anymore.
They are propagated like other varieties of mother of thousands. And lastly, Donkey Ears are hardy but not immune to severe freeze.
5. Kalanchoe Pinnata (Bryophyllum Pinnatum)
Kalanchoe Pinnata has many names. But two definitely standouts or rings a bell: “Life Plant” and “Miracle Leaf.” And it is not hard to see why.
They have this profusion of miniature plantlet that grows from the fringes of the leave. When they drop off, and start rooting to form their own family.
And as you have seen, this is a typical distinctive trait for all mother of thousands varieties.
But due to their rapid growth, they can gang up on any surrounding plants on the bed.
You can try weeding them out, but they will just regroup in numbers. So be careful of this outdoor cultivar. They can be very territorial.
One interesting fact about the Miracle Leaf is that they can thrive in nutrient-poor soils –whether acidic or neutral.
But a happy ground for them is a mix of loam and sand, added with lava grit or pumice.
They also cherish the full sun but will do it with partial shade.
Not to mention, they are frost resistant. This is a rare trait. But unfortunately, they are subject to pest and disease attacks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Mother Of Thousands Poisonous To Humans?
These succulents look like a caring mother nursing dozens of tiny plantlets. But make no mistake; she contains bufadienolides which makes her highly toxic.
Mother Of Thousands does not extend the same kindness as most succulents do.
All parts of the plant are poisonous.
You might not feel the effect upon touch. However, when ingested, this chemical compound with steroid structure wreaks havoc.
They can trigger an atrioventricular block, ventricular tachycardia (a type of rapid heartbeat), bradycardia (slow heartbeat), and possibly lethal cardiac arrest.
Sounds scary, huh?
It is why many homeowners NEVER keep her as a houseplant, especially with pets and kids around.
However, some do and are willing to risk everything on the peculiar traits displayed by this plant.
I wouldn’t judge!
But it would be sensible to keep it out of reach, as your kids or curious pets might be tempted to toy with it.
Is Mother of Thousands The Most Poisonous Plant In The World?
She isn’t even recognized in the hierarchy of the most toxic plants on the earth’s surface.
However, that title spreads across not just one plant but many. Atropa Belladonna, Rosary Pea, and Tobacco all sit prevalently amongst the deadliest.
Killing an adult only takes three micrograms of abrin from the rosary pea.
Legends also had it that numerous jewelry makers either died or became highly ill after accidentally pricking their fingers while working with the seeds.
Even though it is notoriously known for its poison, it is often used in native jewelry and prayer rosaries.
Although, if the seed is intact, it isn’t poisonous. But if scratched, broken, or chewed, it can be lethal.
Meanwhile, the sweet fruit of the deadly nightshade, known as Atropa Belladonna, causes paralysis in the involuntary muscles, including the heart.
It is a lethal plant, but it is often the berry fruits that lure children and unwitting adults.
Physical contact only with the leaves can trigger skin irritation.
And lastly, tobacco —known to contain the toxic alkaloids anabasine and nicotine– can be fatal if eaten.
Tobacco is both addictive and psychoactive. And the use of this plant causes more than five million deaths per year, according to statistics.
What Is The Lifespan Of The Mother Of Thousands?
Mother of Thousands, unless propagated, can ONLY live for two to three years.
Indeed, plants in the Kalanchoe genus can span up to six to seven years with the proper care.
But not compare with Echeveria, Christmas Cactus, Crassula, or Living Stones that could live more than one decade.
Is Mother Of Thousands Susceptible To Diseases And Pests?
Yes, even though they are thought to be hardy.
Mothers of thousands are susceptible to common pests, and diseases are notoriously known for plaguing most indoor plants.
Mealybugs, spider mites, and other pests will tournament the plant from time to time.
The good part is: pest infestation is always visible. You can spot their white puffs of cotton or webs and whatnot.
And there is always a solution. Use a mild soap or neem oil solution.
Meanwhile, you should keep an eye on fungal diseases. Check for yellow or brown circle spottings on the leaves.
You can also address this issue with an equally white vinegar and water mixture —or preferably use a commercial fungicide.
But if you are going for a DIY solution like this mix, reduce the quantity of water the plant drinks.
Succulent doesn’t like much water, as too much of it will stimulate root rot.
Either overwater or underwater is a problem.
What Is The Best Soil For Mother Of Thousands?
The Kalanchoe delagoensis isn’t known to be the pickiest of soil.
You can see them thrive in poor or infertile places. This is very typical of them. But ideally, they prefer a loose, sandy, well-draining mix.
Succulents enthusiasts often opt for a cactus mix and not a peat moss-based soil mix. However, the Cactus should contain an appropriate mix of large particles of sand, pumice, perlite, and vermiculite.
This will also make the ideal breading ground for any mother of thousands varieties.
Since all mother-of-thousands varieties reproduce almost the same way, you can propagate right away by baring plantlets along the ridges of plant leaves.
You just have to find a friend or a garden with this plant and take the plantlet.
You should take more than one as they quickly die.
Don’t be scared. Plucking the plantlets will harm the mother plant. You are even doing them a favor.
Because the more plantlets they lose, the more energy they retain to grow without supporting their young.
Get them in a shallow bowl with potting soil, approximately 2 centimeters on the soil’s surface and 2.5 centimeters apart.
Keep the soil moist, not wet. And only time will tell.