How to Grow, Care and Propagate Panda Plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa)

Panda Plant, Kalanchoe tomentosa

Botanical name: Kalanchoe tomentosa
Family: Crassulaceae
Common names: Panda Plant, Pussy Ears Kalanchoe, Chocolate Soldier


Panda Plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa) is succulent plant which bears silvery-green, brown-edged furry or woolly leaves and hence its other common names; Pussy Ears and Chocolate Soldier.

Pussy Ears Kalanchoe is a popular plant on account of its small size growing to only 1.5 ft, ease of care and the beauty of its dark-rimmed foliage.


Kalanchoe tomentosa (Panda Plant) is native to Madagascar.


When growing in its native habitat, Pussy Ears Kalanchoe bears fuzzy, bell-shaped flowers but it rarely flowers when grown indoors.


According to ASPCA, Panda Plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa) like other Kalanchoe Plants contain Calcium glycosides which are toxic to animals. Keep the plant away from the reach of pets to avoid any mishaps.

Where to Buy

Kalanchoe Plants are readily available online at Etsy. Buy Kalanchoe Plants online from Etsy.

Panda Plant, Kalanchoe tomentosa

Kalanchoe tomentosa Care Indoors

Panda Plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa) prefers bright light to full sunlight, average warmth, moderately moist, rich, well-drained soil and monthly feeding during the growing season.

Kalanchoe tomentosa only requires repotting when it becomes pot-bound. Pruning is necessary to keep it neat and tidy. Continue reading for more on these growing conditions and how to provide them.

Light Requirements

Panda Plant grows best in bright light to full sunlight. Do not expose it to hot direct sunlight as it can scorch the leaves.

Should you choose to take Pussy Ears Kalanchoe outdoors, gradually acclimatize the plant and place it in a shaded place to avoid scorching the leaves.

Regularly turn the pot to ensure that the plant gets adequate light on all sides for uniform growth.

Kalanchoe tomentosa can be grown under a grow light where the natural light is insufficient.


Water Panda Plant liberally during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moderately moist.

Reduce watering significantly in the cold season as growth is reduced at this time to maintain the soil barely moist but do not allow it to dry out completely.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to avoid getting soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot disease and death of the plant.

Avoid wetting the leaves as it can lead to rotting. Water from the bottom instead.

Use water that is at room temperature water to avoid shocking this tropical plant.

Temperature and Humidity

Average warmth temperatures between 16-260C are ideal for Panda Plant. The sudden change in temperature between day and night is excellent for this succulent plant.

Panda Plant has no need for high humidity. Average room humidity is adequate for this plant.


Feed Panda Plant monthly during the growing period with a balanced, liquid fertilizer but do not feed in the cold season as growth is minimal at this time and feeding at this time can lead to fertilizer burn.

Potting Soil

The best soil for Panda Plant should be rich in organic matter, loose and free-draining to avoid getting soggy soil. The soil should be loose enough to allow water to drain out fast enough. Cactus and Succulents Mix is ideal for this Kalanchoe.


Repot Panda Plant only when the plant becomes pot-bound. Use a shallow rather than a deep pot as the plant has shallow roots.

The pot should be only 1 size larger than the current one. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to avoid getting soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot disease.

A clay pot for Pussy Ears Kalanchoe is preferable because it is porous and therefore allows the soil to dry out faster. Also ensure the soil is loose and free-draining.


Pruning Panda Plant requires the removal of dead and diseased leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy.


Panda Plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa) can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from leaf cuttings as they root easily.

How to propagate Panda Plant from Leaf Cuttings

Take leaf cuttings together with about an inch of the leaf petiole from a healthy Panda Plant.

Allow the leaf cuttings to dry (callus) for 1-3 days before planting to prevent rotting.

Insert the leaf petiole into moist, free-draining soil while ensuring that the midrib of the leaf also comes into contact with the soil.

Cover the set up with transparent polythene to raise humidity inorder to hasten rooting and establishment.

Position the set up in a warm, well-lit place. Water sparingly, only when the soil is dry.

Confirm that the rooting container has adequate drainage to avoid getting the soil soggy as it can lead to rotting of the leaf cuttings.

Once the plantlets have grown at least one set of leaves, carefully seperate them and pot in individual pots.

Place the new Pussy Ears Kalanchoe in a warm, well-lit spot and begin routine care.

Panda Plant, Kalanchoe tomentosa

Kalanchoe tomentosa Problems

Panda Plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa) problems include dropping leaves, drooping leaves, leggy growth, rotting, shriveled leaves, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems, their remedies and solutions.


The common pests in Panda Plant are Mealy Bugs and Scale Insects. Isolate the affected plant to reduce spread to other houseplants and treat it with appropriate products like Neem oil or Insecticidal soap.

Leaves falling off (dropping)

Falling or dropping leaves in Panda Plant is as a result of incorrect watering; either overwatering or underwatering.

To avoid leaves falling off (dropping), water the plant thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings.

Significantly decrease watering during the cold season but never allow the soil ball to dry out completely.

Avoid soggy soil by ensuring that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining.

Drooping leaves

Drooping leaves in Panda Plant are caused by underwatering. Immediately water the plant thoroughly and it should perk up.

Thereafter, water the Pussy Ears Kalanchoe thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings and maintain the soil moderately moist.

During the cold season, water the plant less to keep the soil slightly moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.

Leggy growth

Panda Plant leggy growth is an indication that the lighting is inadequate. This is an attempt by the plant to reach for the light as it grows best under bright light with some direct sunlight.

Position the Pussy Ears Kalanchoe in a brighter spot where it will receive bright light with some direct sunlight or use a grow light where the lighting is not adequate.

Rotting base, yellowing and shriveled leaves

Panda Plant rotting base followed by yellowing and shriveled leaves is an indication of basal stem-rot disease which is brought about by overwet conditions coupled with poor air circulation.

Make sure that the pot has a drainage hole and that the soil is free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy.

Improve ventilation and ensure that there is good air circulation for the plant.

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