Mother of Millions is a fast growing plant that adds a unique touch to your home or indoor garden. It is fairly low maintenance and doesn’t require much in the way of care. The succulent plant produces elegant foliage with eye-catching, spiky leaves. It blooms in the winter and early spring, displaying beautiful flowers.
Let’s take a deep dive into the plant and its care instructions.
Brief Overview of Mother of Millions Plant
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The Mother of Millions Plant is native to parts of Madagascar and also thrives in Uganda and Tanzania. The plant goes by various names, including the Chandelier plant, Kalanchoe delagoensis, Bryophyllum tubiflorum, and Bryophyllum verticillatum. All these names come from the exotic appearance of the leaves that shed plantlets growing along their edges.
It is part of the Bryophyllum genus and the Crassulaceae family. Mother of Millions leaves grows from a single node on the stem. There are up to six leaves on each stem. The presence of plantlets also gives the Mother of Millions the name ‘Chandelier Plant’. They often bloom in the wild. Mother of Millions flower is bell shaped with vivid color patterns.
Don’t expect the plant to bloom indoors though, because that is a rare occurrence, even in the wild.
The Mother of Millions (MoM) plant is often confused with the Mother of Thousands (MoT) plant, or the Kalanchoe Daigremontiana, which has wider leaves. MoT leaves are tear shaped, while Mom leaves are thin and resemble the shape of a boat.
Now that we know a little about the plant, it’s time to discuss how to grow them.
Soil Conditions for Mother of Millions
Mother of Millions is a succulent plant that can thrive in just about any type of soil. The hardy plant can even tolerate shallow, infertile soil and grow when other houseplants struggle. You would be surprised to find the Mother of Millions plant growing on rocky sites that support no other type of vegetation.
To provide the plant with the best living conditions, we recommend using a well draining soil that is mixed with perlite. Cactus potting mix works exceptionally well for Mother of Millions, if you want to achieve thick leaves.
The most important aspect of caring for the Mother of Millions is to avoid soggy soil. Whether you use potting soil with perlite, pumice, sand, or vermiculite, make sure the water can drain quickly. For this reason, you should avoid adding humus or peat moss to the potting mix.
Consider using a pot with a drainage hole to prevent waterlogged soil. You can also increase drainage by adding pebbles on the bottom of the pot. Pebbles not only improve drainage but also circulate air around the soil.
Watering Requirements for Mother of Millions
For Mother of Millions to thrive in your home garden, you should only water the soil when it is partly dry. Use the finger test to determine when the plant is ready for water. This is done by inserting your finger two inches into the potting mix until it has completely dried out before watering it.
This will prevent the plant from getting overwatered and allow it to absorb essential nutrients.
Another way of testing if the plant is ready for more water is to check the pot’s weight. A heavy pot indicates the presence of water in the soil. If the pot feels too light, it’s time to water the plant.
There are a few things to keep in mind when watering the Mother of Millions plant:
- Try not to stick to a regular schedule because it often results in overwatering. The soil becomes too moist and may even result in root rot. This is why you should only water the succulent when it has partially dried out.
- Never water the leaves. Always water the soil because the leaves will be highly susceptible to rot.
- Abstain from shallow watering the plant because it creates ideal conditions for fungus gnats to thrive.
When watering the Mother of Millions plant, use water that is kept at room temperature. For this purpose, you may place a container of water overnight. This will allow the water to reach room temperature. Another advantage of keeping water in an open container is that it evaporates the harmful chemicals in tap water.
Humidity Levels for Mother of Millions
Mother of Millions is known to survive extremely harsh and arid environments such as those found in deserts. It can grow reasonably well with humidity levels under 20%. This doesn’t mean you should allow the humidity to get lower than this number. The growth and reproduction rate of the plant increases when you normalize the humidity levels.
It is a good idea to mimic the natural habitat of the plant to produce dense, vividly colored foliage. The ideal humidity of the plant is anywhere from 40% to 50%, although its native habitat has been known to go as high as 80%.
Just make sure the soil moisture doesn’t get excessively wet because it will result in root rot. Place a pebble tray to keep the soil moisture at reasonable levels. You can raise the humidity levels of the plant by placing it near a humidifier. Make sure to set the humidity levels at around 50%.
If that sounds expensive, consider misting the plant every day. This will allow you to achieve the target humidity levels and help the Mother of Millions plants grow.
Temperature for Mother of Millions
Like most ornamental plants, the Mother of Millions grows well between the temperature ranges of 65°F to 95°F. The upper ceiling of 95°F further confirms the resiliency of the Mother of Millions compared to other houseplants that stop growing at such temperatures. You can place this plant outdoors, where it will grow year-round.
Consider moving the plant indoors in the colder months because it does not survive frost damage. Never allow the temperature to fall below 50°F. Avoid placing the Mother of Millions plant near drafty windows, doors, and other sources of heat.
Make sure that the temperature is kept steady at all times. Rapid temperature fluctuations may result in stunted growth and make the plant vulnerable to a pest infestation.
Light for Mother of Millions Plant
The Mother of Millions Plant requires plenty of bright sunlight to grow. Place the plant in an east or west facing window that receives plenty of sunlight. In the summer months, place the succulent in a location that receives indirect sunlight to prevent the leaves from burning.
This plant does not grow well in low light conditions. The leaves will turn a shade of yellow with leggy growth as they try to find a source of light. Lack of sunlight will disrupt the photosynthesis process as they fail to produce chlorophyll.
As a rule, try to provide your Mother of Millions plant with at least six hours of indirect, bright sunlight every day. Although the plant has been known to survive direct sunlight, intense radiation may result in sunburn.
Fertilizers for the Mother Plant
Despite being a fast grower, the Mother of Millions plant doesn’t require fertilization. However, you can increase the growth rate by providing it with appropriate nutrients. It is recommended to fertilize the Mother of Millions plant once every month to support its elegant foliage.
You can fertilize the plant with general purpose liquid fertilizer. Make sure to dilute it to prevent the new plants from getting burned. The best time to fertilize the plant is in the growing season from March to September.
Pruning the Mother of Millions Plant
Pruning isn’t necessary for Mother of Millions plants. However, they do grow at a fast pace and become very tall very fast. It may be harder for you to take care of the plant indoors if it occupies too much space. If the houseplant grows very tall, you can prune from the outer edges of the plant. This will encourage new, denser leaves from the stem.
Mother of Millions plants have a habit of growing tall, leggy foliage that may not look aesthetic if allowed to grow uninterrupted. The Chandelier plant has a self pruning mechanism where the top of the plant falls when it becomes too tall.
How to Propagate Mother of Millions
The Mother of Millions plant is relatively easy to propagate. In fact, the best thing about the plant is that its tiny plantlets will fall off and root themselves. You can speed up the process by grasping baby plants and gently twisting it from the mother plant. Allow the baby plants to properly callous for 24 hours, and then apply some rooting hormone to them.
Now plant the baby on some new soil. To increase the size of the foliage, you can multiply the plant by rooting stem cuttings.
Repotting the Mother of Millions Plant
You might want to transfer the Mother of Millions to a larger pot when it grows large enough. Doing so provides the roots with more breathing room and helps them grow faster. Inspect the bottom of the plant to see if the roots are coming out of the drainage holes. If you see roots emerging from the drainage holes, it’s time to repot the plant.
There are a few ways of repotting the Mother of Millions plant:
- Choose a terracotta pot that has plenty of drainage holes
- The new pot should be about 2″ bigger in diameter than the previous one
- Carefully remove the plant from its pot
- Gently shake its roots to remove excess soil
- Inspect the root for signs of disease and remove them
- Place a layer of pebbles on the bottom of the new pot
- Fill the pot with cactus potting mix
- Place the Mother of Millions plant in the pot (ensure that it’s at the same height as the previous pot)
- Thoroughly water the plant and place it in a bright location to improve the growth rate
The best time to repot the Mother of Millions plant is in the growing season, usually the spring months. Provide your Thousands Plants with optimal care during this time because it will be in a state of stress.
The Mother of Millions plant is highly resilient when it comes to pests and diseases. However, maintenance of the Thousands Plant should be on point in order to prevent a pest infestation.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common pests and how you can go about treating the plant.
Mealybugs are similar to scales and cause damage to the plant by sucking its sap. They are relatively large and resemble furry woodlice. Mealybugs tend to cluster together and often look like cotton wool. Advanced stages of mealybug infestations will cause the leaves of the plant to turn yellow and eventually fall off.
The most common symptom of a mealybug infestation is dehydration and wilting. The MoM will lose its leaves relatively quickly. Also, keep an eye out for honeydew residue.
You can treat the mealybug infestation by shaking them off the plant or spraying them with water. Use neem oil to repel future mealybug infestations.
Scales are hard to identify because of their camouflage and are difficult to get rid of. These insects have a tough outer shell that anchors them in place. The biggest indicator of a scale infestation is the presence of sticky honeydew everywhere. This honeydew tends to become dark and create sooty like mold.
For a small scale infestation, you may be able to clear their colonies by dabbing them with isopropyl alcohol. For larger scale infestations, consider using a natural insecticide such as neem oil. Make sure to test the insecticide on a few leaves to see how the houseplant reacts before spraying all the leaves.
Spider mites are small, eight-legged creatures that thrive on houseplants like Mother of Millions plants. They are hard to detect by the naked eye due to their relatively small size. The most obvious sign of a spider mite infestation is the presence of webbing. The plant may also alert you to the presence of spider mites by turning the leaves into an unsightly shade of yellow.
The first step in treating a spider mite infestation is to hock them off the plant using a water hose. Make sure not to overwater the plant.
The second step is to use essential oils, such as neem oil. Neem oil is non-toxic to the plant and can destroy spider mite colonies. Mix neem oil with water and pour the solution into a spray bottle. Now gently spray the diluted neem oil all over the plant every week. Make sure to wipe the neem oil with a microfiber cloth afterward.
For advanced infestations, you may have to use insecticidal soap. Apply the soap thoroughly to all of the leaves and repeat every week until you no longer see any signs of the bugs.
MOM is an Invasive Weed
One curious thing to note about the Mother of Millions plant is that it is categorized as invasive plants by the Biosecurity Act of 2014. This means if you ever want to discard the invasive species, make sure to do so responsibly. The plant must not be spread in an environment where it may grow at an exponential rate and damage the surrounding ecosystem.
Moreover, the plant is extremely toxic to both pets and humans. Ingesting the plant material may result in the death of animals and sickness in humans. If you are growing this plant, keep it out of reach of both pets and children. When grown outdoors, make sure it is not accessible to livestock.
If ingested, this plant can cause diarrhea, heart palpitations, and vomiting. If a pet or child has ingested the alligator plant, provide them with immediate medical care!
So there you have it, an in-depth look at growing the majestic Kalanchoe species. As long as you provide healthy growth conditions, enough light, and adequate drainage, you should see stunning foliage.