Kalanchoe pinnata plant care & propagation

Kalanchoe pinnata

This plant is a succulent medicinal plant and easy to grow just from one leaf set on top of moist soil. The common name of this plant is the Air plant, life plant, and donkey ear, mother of thousands. This plant belongs to the Family Crassulaceae and the genus Kalanchoe which is having around 125 plant species of succulent flowering plants mainly originating in the tropical regions. this plant is largely used for traditional medicines like kidney stones, gastric ulcers, and rheumatoid arthritis (1). So let us see what the plant is and what are the Kalanchoe pinnata medicinal use and how to take care of it.

Kalanchoe pinnata plant botanical description

Kalanchoe pinnata flower

Type: Glabrous herb

Height: 0.3-1.2 m

Stems: Older stems are light colored and younger reddish speckled with white

leaf: Large fleshy leaves with 3-5 oval leaflets with round toothed edges. Young plantlets are developed along the margins of the mature leaves.

Flowers: Purple or yellow-white tinged calyxes and reddish corollas.

The plant is cultivated as ornamental houseplants and rock or cactus garden plants.

Why Kalanchoe pinnata is popular?

These plants are so popular because of their wide array of colorful flowers which are typically born in clusters above the vegetative growth. Another unique thing that makes this plant popular is its mode of vegetative propagation as new plants develop vegetatively at indents along the leaf. After the leaf falls down the new plants can take root and grows.

How to propagate Kalanchoe pinnata

Propagation of Kalanchoe pinnata is easy and can be done by four methods

  1. Leaf
  2. Stem cutting
  3. Offset
  4. Seeds

1. Propagation via leaf

Kalanchoe pinnata plant is mainly propagated via leaf. Miniature plantlets are formed on the margins of their leaves. When the mother leaf becomes heavy it falls down and the miniature plantlets of kalanchoe develop roots and anchor the ground and grow.

2. Propagation by using stem cutting

This method is another way of getting new plants. Make sure that the stem which is taken must be healthy with no flowers and have good healthy leaves. Dip the cut stem in water for 3-5 days in order to develop preliminary roots. Then plant it in the soil and place it under indirect sunlight with good air and light availability. This stem cutting of Kalanchoe should be done during the spring or early summer season.

3. offset

Another option for the propagation of Kalanchoe pinnata is via offset. But special precautions should be taken before removing the offset from the mother plant. Make sure the offset which you are choosing is good and healthy and has the least minimum roots to support the plant independently.

4. Propagation via seed

Well, this method is the least used method to propagate a Kalanchoe pinnata plant. The germination of the seed is a little difficult.

Kalanchoe pinnata care

Kalanchoe pinnata care and propagation

The care of Kalanchoe pinnata is relatively easy and is a very low maintenance plant. as this plant is of tropical origin it is an almost self-sufficient plant to survive in any moderate conditions.

1. Light

This plant grows well under partial sunlight. Complete dark or very low light is not good for this plant as the leaves of this plant become yellow and finally fall.

2. Temperature

Being tropical in origin these plants can survive under a wide range of temperatures. A warm temperature is good for its healthy growth. Extreme cold temperature is not suitable for this plant and the plant may die due to shock.

3. Water

Moderate watering is good enough for growth. Overwatering may cause leaf drops and root rot. Waters only when the top soil dries up. As a succulent in nature, this can survive moderate drought conditions thus daily watering is not required.

4. Soil

Like all other plants, Kalanchoe pinnata also needs well-draining and proper aeration.

5. Fertilization

This plant does not need regular fertilization.

Toxicity to pets

This plant is toxic to pets as it contains bufadienolide cardiac glycosides which cause cardiac poisoning, particularly in grazing animals.

Kalanchoe pinnata medicinal use

Hence this plant Kalanchoe is a popular houseplant and has become naturalized in temperate regions of Asia, the Pacific, and the Caribbean. This plant is also used in traditional medicine in various cultures. Like in the Bahamas it is used for Asthama or shortness of breath. Thus they call this plant Life Leaf or Poppers.

Also used traditionally for the treatment of hypertension, and kidney stones.

Other traditional uses are treating ailments like infections, inflammation, anti-tumor property, etc.


1. How to use Kalanchoe pinnata?

Kalanchoe pinnata can be used as a houseplant. Also used in traditional medicine in various cultures for the treatment of hypertension and kidney stones.

2. What is Kalanchoe pinnata good for?

Kalanchoe pinnata can be used as a decorative garden plant or house plant. Also good for trreating diseses like hypertension, kidney stone and inflammation.

3. How to grow Kalanchoe pinnata?

Propagation of Kalanchoe pinnata is mainly by using offsets, stem, and most popular is via leaf. Miniature plantlets are developed on the margins of leaves. When the mother leaf becomes heavy it falls down and the plantlets develop roots and anchor the ground and grow.

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