How to Take Care of Mother of Thousands?
Every Essential Detail Explained

If you own a mother of a thousand and don’t know the right way to care for it, you are in the right place. Read ahead!

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Kelly Adams

March 30, 2021

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The Mother of Thousands plant or the Devil’s backbone plant flaunts attractive foliage that is tough to ignore! It also produces heartwarming lavender flowers that are a sight to behold. If you decide to get it for your home, I advise you to learn how to take care of it properly!

The mother of thousands plant requires bright indirect light, well-drained soil watered once topmost soil is dry. It prefers temperatures between 65°F to 75°F (16°C to 24°C), while humidity should be about 40%. It needs semi-regular pruning and almost no fertilizer.

Why is the plant called Mother of Thousands?

The plant gets this unique name because each leaf contains almost 25 to 30 baby plantlets. Imagine how many leaves a single plant has! One pot can be home to numerous leaves which total up to countless baby plants.

baby plantlets of mother of thousands kalanchoe in soil

Mother of Thousands 101

Here is a brief overview of the Mother of Thousands Plant:

  • Scientific name: Kalanchoe Daigremontiana
  • Named by: Raymond-Hamet and Perrier de la Bâthie
  • Common names: Mother of Thousands, Mexican Hat Plant and Alligator Plant
  • Native to: Africa
  • Family: Crassulaceae (Stonecrop)
  • Genus: Kalanchoe
  • Plant Type: Perennials
  • Plant Type: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Hardiness: USDA Zones 9 to 11

How to take care of mother of thousands Kalanchoe?

Here are the needs of the mother of thousand plant briefly outlined:

  • Ideal soil: Sandy potting soil which drains well. Any good succulent and cactus soil mix would work well.
  • Drainage Needs: Excellent drainage required as plant dislikes overly moist soil
  • Water Requirements: Water the plant only once the soil on the top is dry with water at room temperature.
  • Sunlight Requirements: High levels of bright indirect light
  • Temperature: 65°F to 75°F (16°C to 24°C)
  • Humidity: 40%
  • Ideal pH: 6.5 to 7.0
  • Frost-Resistance: Low
  • Fertilizer: Little to no need to feed.
  • Pruning: Can use some trimming of off spent flower stalks.
  • Propagation: Easy to propagate as you can use baby plantlets from the leaf to grow more plants.
  • Repotting: Repot it only once the pot becomes too big for the plant.
  • Toxicity: This plant is classified as toxic to animals and humans, so limit interaction with it.

Here are some things you need to keep in mind:

1. Choose The Right Pot for the Mother of Thousand Plant

Choosing the right plant for the Mexican hat plant can be the wisest decision you take as a succulent parent. Mother of thousands is probably the easiest succulent to grow.

But mind you! It propagates really fast, taking over the entire ground. Trust me; you don’t want to make a mess of succulents in your garden like I did!

five pots of succulents kept in a tray

So, the best solution is to grow the mother of thousands of kalanchoe in a small container or pot. Also, never plant kalanchoe in a pot without a drainage hole.

few succulent pots hanging outside a window

Million dollar advice

Protection from overwatering

Make sure to always keep a tray under the pot. Excess water will drain into the tray from the hole. That way, you can save your place from getting dirty and your plant will remain healthy too. Make sure to empty the tray every day.

2. Expose it To Abundant Levels Of Sunlight

Who says that only humans and animals need sunlight? Sunlight gives us vitamin D. But what it delivers to a plant is much more than vitamin D.

Mother of thousands plant needs an abundance of indirect sunlight. If you place it in direct sunlight, it will get sunburned so refrain from putting your plant in danger.

Scorched leaves look unpleasant. You don’t want your succulent to have them. So, please place the plant in a shady area especially in warm weather.

If you’re keeping it indoors, a window facing east is the perfect place for it. Mother of thousand loves a good drench of morning sun!

mother of thousands succulents with red ouline on the edges

But how do you know that your mother of thousands is getting enough light? The answer is fairly simple. The plant is getting enough sunlight when the leaves are bright green with red edges.

3. Protect Your Plant From Excessive Heat

Optimum temperature is a basic need to function well. Too much heat can dry out the plant.

Then what is the perfect temperature of a mother of thousands? The optimum temperature for a mother of thousands is 16 to 24 degree Celsius (65 to 75 degree Fahrenheit).

When the heaters of your home are switched on in the winters, place the plant away from the source of heat. This heat will make the plant look dreadful. Moreover, a baked plant is difficult to recover.


A word of advice

Mother of thousands contains a toxic steroid chemical bufadienolides that is deadly for humans and animals. Keep your pets and young ones away from this plant!

4. Fertilize the Plant once every three months

Mother of thousands is a survivor. It can bear a harsh environment. So how often should you fertilize your plant? You do not need to rush to fertilize the plant every week. Mother of thousands is more than thankful to you if you fertilize it only once every three months, that is more than enough!

You can choose any typical succulent fertilizer like 2-4-7, 3-4-7, or 2-7-7. You can check out some of my favorites from Amazon below:

schultz cactus plus 2-7-7 liquid plant food, 4-ounce

This product is suitable for all type of succulents. Mix the plant food with the water you will give to your plant and you'll be good to go!

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Miracle-gro succulent plant food, 8 oz., 2 pack

This is probably the best product on Amazon. I've used it personally and I know you will love it too!

Amazon Prime Logo

5. Never Overwater the Plant

The mother of thousands dislikes soggy soil. SO the question comes, what type of soil should you use for mother of thousands?

Avoid soil that contains ingredients that tend to retain moisture. The cactus soil mix works best for the mother of thousands plant. Choose a sandy soil that drains well for the mother of thousands plant. You can make your own by adding some sand to the regular potting mix. Or you can buy one online by picking one from our recommendations:

Wonder soil | Premium succulent & cactus soil mix | fast draining pre-mixed nutrient enhanced coco coir expands to 12 quarts | incl worm castings, mycorrhizae, pumice

It's ready-to-use soil. You get a decent quantity for affordable price. My grandmother uses it for her garden. It is a great product!

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Sun Gro Horticulture 1410602.Q08P black gold cactus mix (8 qt)

I highly recommend using this product because it has a perfect blend of sand, perlite, pumice and humus which is great for your succulent

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6. Only Water The Plant Adequately

A water can watering the plants

Finally, please pay attention to the amount of water you give to the plant.

Kalanchoes is very similar to cacti. They do not need much water or, you can say kalanchoes are sensitive to water. If you own it, this question must have crossed your mind.

How often should I water my mother of thousand succulent?

In summers, you can water mother of thousands every 4 to 5 days. Make sure the top two inches of the soil is dry before you water it.

As I said at the start, you should use a pot with a drainage hole. The plant does not survive in soggy or moist soil. The drainage hole in the pot will help get rid of excess water. That way, your plant has a higher likelihood of being healthy and strong!

**Do not water the plants to death. Water dead plants to life.**

Bottom line

Mother of thousands is a fascinating succulent. Best, if kept indoors. Just a little bit of care is required.

  • Do not overwater it.
  • Keep it away from the scorching heat of the sun.
  • Use well-draining sandy soil.
  • Make sure to buy a pot with a drainage hole.
  • Fertilize it once in a while.

a small guide on taking care of kalanchoe

If you want to learn more about succulent care, I recommend you head over and read our post about growing succulents!

How to Grow Succulents? An Extensive Guide with All the Helpful Tips!

Succulents are easy-going, beautiful plants that can survive almost anything. Let's learn more about growing succulents in this post

Kelly Adams Picture

By Kelly Adams

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Kelly and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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Kelly Adams Picture

Kelly Adams

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Kelly and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!



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