How to Care for a Paddle Plant
Gardeners desiring the unusual may select a distinctive succulent known as the paddle plant (kalanchoe). Although the paddle plant is native to South Africa, it will thrive in any warm environment where it receives filtered sunlight. Gardeners who live in USDA regions 9 through 11 might grow paddle plant outdoors year-round, while gardeners living in colder regions must grow it in containers, moving it between the indoors and outdoors as the seasons change.
Place paddle plants in a warm growing location under full to partial sunlight. If you are growing paddle plants in a container, plant them in cactus potting soil to provide adequate nutrients to the paddle plant. Do not allow the growing location temperature to dip below 50 degrees F. If your outdoor temperatures will fall below this temperature, move the paddle plants indoors to a sunny location.
Provide water for the paddle plants when the top 2 inches of soil dries out completely. Insert your finger into the soil to assess the moisture content of the soil. If the soil is dry in the top 2 inches, provide water to saturate the soil. Do not over-saturate the soil; however, and avoid creating puddles in the soil as you water.
Fertilize paddle plants once every three months by mixing the fertilizer at one-half of the strength recommended on the fertilizer label. Pour the fertilizer carefully around the soil and avoid splashing fertilizer onto the paddle plant foliage.
Transplant a paddle plant in the spring if the plant outgrows its current container. If you notice the plant failing to thrive or the roots extending out to the insides of the current container, move the paddle plant to a slightly larger container. Select a new container that is 2 inches larger than the current container and fill the new container halfway with new cactus potting soil. Remove the paddle plant from its current container carefully and transfer it to the new container. Fill in additional potting soil around the roots to plant the paddle plant at the same depth as it was previously growing. Water the newly transplanted paddle plant to saturate the soil immediately after transplanting it.
Stake a paddle plant if it becomes very large. Due to the heaviness of the paddle leaves of this succulent plant, the plant can have difficulty remaining upright if it becomes very large. Insert a stake approximately 4 inches away from the center stem of the plant and gently tie the upper stems to the stake using twine.
- Balanced fertilizer (water-soluble)
- Cactus potting soil
- Wood stake (same height as paddle plant)