Mother of Thousands vs Mother of Millions: What is the difference?

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These two plants, Mother of Millions (Kalanchoe delagoensis)  and Mother of Thousands (Kalanchoe daigremontiana), are often confused because of their similarities. Today, we are going to take a closer look at these two succulents and explore their differences, as well as some tips on how to take care of them.

Now, the major difference between the two is found in the shape of their leaves. Mother of Thousands has increasingly wide pear-shaped leaves that grow in pairs with plantlets appearing along the toothed edges of the leaves while Mother of Millions has narrow, oblong-shaped leaves with the plantlets appearing at the tips of the leaves.

Another difference between the two kalanchoes is the color of the leaves and flowers. Mother of Thousands has wide blue-green leaves with flowers that are grey to pink and purple. The green may vary slightly depending on the growing conditions (most commonly stress), but they generally have a bright and fresh appearance. 

The leaves of Mother of Millions, on the other hand, are less green, with a pinkish, brownish, or reddish hue, giving them a slightly different coloration. They may also have a silver sheen with splotches of red to reddish-brown marks. The flowers usually range from yellow to orange and red.

However, despite their differences, both succulents belong to the Kalanchoe genus, originating from Madagascar. The flowers of both plants, their difference in color, are quite similar in shape. They are tubular and grouped together in clusters on long stems, hanging down like chandeliers.

Also, they have similar reproductive strategies and can quickly spread and form new plants through their plantlets making them an invasive species.

Read: Here’s Why Mother of Thousands is Illegal

Are both Mother of Thousands and Mother of Millions toxic?

According to the ASPCA Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants List, both Mother of Thousands (Kalanchoe daigremontiana) and Mother of Millions (Kalanchoe delagoensis) are considered toxic plants. Every part of these plants, including the leaves and the tiny plantlets they produce, contains toxic compound called Bufodienolides.

Ingesting even a small portion of these plants can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, vomiting, and diarrhea in most animals, including cows, birds, cats, and dogs. If a larger portion is ingested, such as multiple leaves at once, the effects can become more severe, potentially leading to heart failure and damage to other internal organs.

Besides toxicity, both plants are also categorized as invasive plants in many regions worldwide. If left to spread on their own, these plants can quickly crowd out other plants and fill any open soil areas.

Care tips for Mother of Thousands and Mother of Millions

Caring for Mother of Thousands and Mother of Millions plants involves providing them with the right conditions and meeting their specific needs. Here are some guidelines to help you care for these succulent plants:

Light:

  • Place the plants in a bright spot that receives full or partial sun.
  • Indoors, position them near a sunny window.
  • Avoid exposing them to intense afternoon sun, as it can cause leaf scorch. Instead, provide indirect light.

Soil:

  • Use well-draining soil that does not retain moisture for long.
  • Consider using a cactus mix or adding sand or perlite to a standard potting soil.
  • Clay pots are desirable as they help absorb excess moisture and prevent waterlogging.

Watering:

  • Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings.
  • Water deeply when the soil is completely dry.
  • During the growing season, provide regular and gradual hydration, but water only once every few weeks.
  • Reduce watering during the fall and winter.
  • Overwatering can lead to limp leaves, so be cautious not to oversaturate the roots.

Temperature and Humidity:

  • Mother of Thousands and Mother of Millions prefer temperatures around 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Protect them from intense, direct sunlight.
  • Bring them indoors if temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fertilizing:

  • These plants can generally live without regular fertilization.
  • However, you can lightly fertilize them during the growing months.

Propagation:

  • Mother of Thousands and Mother of Millions can be easily propagated from the plantlets they produce.
  • Remove the plantlets when they are ready to detach naturally or with gentle pressure.
  • Lay the plantlets on the surface of a well-drained and damp potting medium for them to take root.

Pruning:

  • Other than removing dead stalks and dropped plantlets, these plants do not require much pruning.

In conclusion, while Mother of Millions (Kalanchoe delagoensis) and Mother of Thousands (Kalanchoe daigremontiana) share many similarities, they can be differentiated by their leaves and flower colors.

Both succulents are toxic and invasive species, and caring for them involves providing the right conditions, such as bright but indirect light, well-draining soil, and limited watering.

Ultimately, understanding these differences and caring for these plants properly is crucial to ensure their longevity and to prevent negative environmental impacts.

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