Kalanchoe (flapjacks/luciae) issue

haydenrose(4)November 4, 2012

Hi all,

I've been lurking here for a few months, and I appreciate all the good advice I've read--I've learned a lot already! I am currently having a strange issue with a kalanchoe flapjacks that I received as a gift. I've always had great success with succulents in the past, and at first this one seemed no different. But just a few weeks ago the bottom leaves started to shrivel up, while the rest of the plant looks totally normal and healthy. I've had it since August, it's planted in fast-draining succulent/cactus soil, it doesn't appear to have bugs of any kind and it is sitting in a southern exposure. Anyone have any ideas?? Is it normal for the bottom leaves to gradually die off, perhaps?

Thanks in advance for any advice you might have...


p.s. I know that bottom leaf looks like someone bit a chunk from it--it's just wear and tear from handling--the person who gave it to me works at a garden center and it was going to be thrown out at the end of the season so it had been handled a lot.

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Rose, Hello and Welcome,

K. thyrsiflora/Flapjack is one difficult succulent.

Leaves require a lot of sun to keep color. In lower light, plant will thrive, but reverts to green.

Kalanchoe is a succulent, that grows 1-2' tall and wide.
They recommended fertilizing every two-weeks from Apr-Aug using half-strength fertilizer.

Soil needs to be well-draining, kept dryer during winter months.

Flapjack flowers...

The bad news..After flowering, Flapjack begings to die.
Good news...seeds can be used for propagation.

I can't grow K flapjack, so I stopped trying, hopefully, you'll have better luck.

Very nice plant...why would they want to toss it? Toni

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 6:08PM
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Thanks for the reply Toni! The nursery was closing for the winter and the employee is a friend of mine. My goal is just to get this plant through the winter and then let it get some air for the spring and summer (with proper sun acclimation of course). It's getting tons of sunlight right now and has a great red color which is why the shriveling leaves are so baffling to me. It's good to know this plant has a difficult reputation with some--my plant books make it out to be super easy, but hearing from people who have actually grown it always makes a difference!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 6:51PM
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Hi there,

Does it seem like your plant might be growing too big for its pot? Sometimes a plant will shed leaves if there aren't enough roots to support them. Could your plant have been kept too wet? Maybe some of the roots have rotted, with the same result. Those are two things I check if I have a plant that is losing leaves. Mine loses some leaves from the bottom, but mostly not until the second year. I have had my plant bloom, and the bloom part dies, but then it gets plantlets at the base which I can transplant to another pot and just continue with those for the next year.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 10:48PM
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Thanks for the ideas :) I think you're right that I need to have a look at the roots. I have watered quite sparingly and the pot is pretty large, but I'm wondering if the fact that it is a ceramic pot means it's staying too wet. Either way, I need to check out the roots to get a clearer idea of what is going on...

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 8:24PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

This doesn't look like a Flapjack to me. They have more round leaves like a pancake. You may want to post this in the Cactus and Succulent forum to get an ID on the plant.

Does that pot have a drain hole?

Your mix looks a little heavy with peat. Is there anything in it like pearlite?

I will post a link to a pic I just found of the flapjack. I know the few I've had in the past were very round large leaves.


Here is a link that might be useful: Kalanchoe Flapjack

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 9:42PM
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Hmm, interesting info, jojosplants! I was told it was kalanchoe, but I don't think it had a tag when I got it. So I had to ID it myself, and there's always room for error there. I will take it over to the succulent/cacti forum, as you suggest :)

The pot definitely has drainage, and today I looked at the roots--nothing looks amiss and the soil isn't staying damp at all even at the bottom of the pot (I've also watered very sparingly). It's a mystery but luckily the withering seems to have stopped and the leaves right above have gotten bigger and more red, so things are looking a bit better all around.

Thanks for your thoughts!


    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 5:05PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hi Hayden,
Glad to help. :-)
Yes, there is always room for error. ;-) And sometimes with succulents, a lot of them look so much alike! I've been growing them for years and still feel like a newbie! lol..

good to hear your plant is doing better.
I'm sure the folks over in the Cactus and Succulent forum will be able to give you an idea and proper care instructions.

Succulents do go dormant and it is important to know what you have and when it needs to rest. :-)

Good luck and keep us posted.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 5:29PM
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