Having succulents and cacti in your home can make a world of difference and transform an ordinary room. Due to their unique shapes, sizes, and colors, these plants are considered objects of art and can become wonderful centerpieces. More than that, these plants improve the air quality inside your home, reduces your stress, and helps increase your concentration.
If you love planting a wide variety of indoor cacti and succulents, you should consider adding Mother of Millions to your collection. Although this may look like a high-maintenance plant because of its attractive foliage, it’s easy to take care of, even for beginners. Still, plant owners can kill this succulent, mostly from too much love rather than neglect.
What Is the Mother of Millions
The Mother of Millions, scientifically called Kalanchoe delagoensis and formerly known as Bryophyllum delagoensis, is a succulent plant native to Madagascar. This plant also goes by other common names, including Chandelier Plant and Devil’s Backbone.
This succulent is an upright plant with a single stem, typically between 20 to 28 inches but can grow up to 3 feet tall. It has thin, cylindrical leaves that are usually less than 4 inches long and only 2 to 6 millimeters wide. Given the correct environmental factors, the Mother of Millions can produce coral pink or orange bell-shaped flowers.
What makes the Mother of Millions striking and unique are the tiny plantlets that grow on the edges of its leaves. Like other members of the Kalanchoe genus, the Mother of Millions can propagate vegetatively through its plantlets. They grow rapidly and multiply easily anywhere those plantlets land, giving them their rightful name as the Mother of Millions.
Benefits of the Mother of Millions
Helps With Concentration
Having a Mother of Millions inside your home or office space helps strengthen and increase concentration. As these houseplants release fresh air, they can clear up your mind and increase the clarity of your thoughts. Studies have also proven that keeping beautiful plants near you, taking care of them, and seeing them grow and bloom positively affects a person’s overall well-being and happiness.
Alters the Look of Your Home
Like the world’s best rose succulents and premium black succulents, the Mother of Millions is perfect for home décor. Because of its interesting shape and lovely flowers, this succulent plant can add a touch of beauty and color to any room inside your house.
Although the Mother of Millions is a beautiful plant, don’t let it deceive you. This succulent is considered a poisonous plant. But thanks to its toxicity level, it is also a popular insect repellent that homeowners can use to keep mosquitoes away.
How Does the Mother of Millions Work
Native to Madagascar, the Mother of Millions is considered invasive in many areas because they grow rapidly and aggressively. This plant species spread through seeds and by plantlets. You will see growth anywhere the tiny plantlets land. Furthermore, their seeds are known to survive long after the plants are pulled out.
Not only does this make it nearly impossible to eradicate them from the garden, but it could steal the spot for other plants and prevent them from growing. So, if you plan to grow the Mother of Millions in your home, consider placing them in a container and caring for them indoors. That way, you won’t have to worry about your yard being overtaken by succulent plants.
Pros and Cons of the Mother of Millions
- When acclimated to full sun initially, the Mother of Millions can be resilient, full sunlight succulents. You can grow it both indoors and outdoors as long as you provide it with its basic requirements.
- The Mother of Millions is easy to grow and requires minimal care. They are highly adaptable to most conditions, making these plants perfect for those new in the hobby. All you need is adequate sunlight, enough water, proper location, and they can grow in no time.
- They can multiply effortlessly on their own, saving you from spending money on more plants. If you plan on filling your home with succulents, this plant is perfect for you. When the plantlets get detached from the mother plant, they will easily take root and grow where they land.
- You can beautify your home at a minimal cost. Unfortunately, some homeowners spend a hefty sum to renovate and upgrade their homes. With a simple succulent that can propagate effortlessly, you can add glam and a splash of color to a monotonous room.
- Some succulents can be poisonous to your pets, and the Mother of Millions is one of them. The level of toxicity in this plant is generally mild to moderate. However, if you or your pets ingest any plant part, it could cause vomiting, diarrhea, and heart palpitations. Consumption of large quantities can be fatal and must be dealt with immediately.
- Their flowers rarely grow in domestic settings. The Mother of Millions requires the right environmental conditions similar to their natural habitat. Although it’s easy to take care of them, you need to put extra effort if you want to see them bloom.
- Since they multiply easily and grow fast, this succulent is considered an extremely invasive plant. If you grow them outdoors, they could take over your yard. You can control them by regularly removing the plantlets, but the seeds can stay viable in the soil for years. As a result, new ones may keep popping up, even after you already remove the plant.
Mother of Millions Care Requirements
Although purple succulents do well under the shade, other plants like the Mother of Millions need the sun. This succulent thrives best in bright, partial sun-filled locations. If you’re growing this succulent plant indoors, you can put them in an east- or west-facing window where they can get plenty of light. They need approximately 4 to 6 hours of bright light per day to keep them healthy and happy.
You can also train them to tolerate full sunlight if you have brought your plant recently. To do this, gently increase the number of hours they’re under the sun over the oncoming month. However, keep in mind that even when they are already acclimated to full sunlight, they can still get sunburned during the intense summer heat. Therefore, it’s best to get them sunshades if you’re growing the plant outdoors.
This succulent plant is not resistant to frost. They can only tolerate mild frost and slightly freezing temperatures for short periods. You can leave them outdoors all year long if your home is within the USDA Hardiness Zones 10 to 11. However, you still might need to protect them from sudden temperature drops with frost cloths. If you live in an area with extreme winter conditions, it’s best to grow your succulents in containers. That way, you can bring them indoors during the winter.
Mother of Millions prefers quick-draining, gritty soil. Cactus mix works well for this plant, but you can also create a mixture of different soil types. Whether you are using pumice, perlite, sand, or vermiculite, the potting soil should have good drainage. Don’t use regular potting soil or mixes that contain a lot of peat moss, loam, or humus since these hold moisture for much longer.
Watering depends on the climate you live in and the soil you are using. While this plant may be highly adaptable, too much water can cause roots to rot. It’s best to rehydrate them only when necessary. There isn’t a formula or a set schedule. But you can use a moisture meter or wait for the soil to dry out between watering sessions entirely. Since they’re under direct sunlight, keep in mind that ground-covering succulents require different growing conditions than indoor succulent plants.
Since a Mother of Millions hates soggy soil, the best container for this plant is a terracotta pot with a drainage hole at the bottom. The walls of this pot type draw out the water from the soil, enabling the soil to breathe. With the holes at the bottom, excess water can also drain out quickly.
This plant isn’t fussy when it comes to humidity. Since succulents store water in their leaves, stems, or roots, you don’t need to mist them. However, a quick hose down from time to time can help wash away dust and pests.
While fertilizing is not necessary, giving your succulent plant the nutrients they need can encourage blooms and ensure proper growth. Apply a specially-formulated fertilizer for cacti and succulent, or a balanced-blend of houseplant fertilizers every three months.
How to Grow the Mother of Millions
Step 1 – Prepare your tools
Nothing is more annoying than finding that some of your gardening tools are still inside the shed or garage. So, before you start, make sure that your trowel, pot or tray, soil mix, water sprayer, and gravel or pebbles within reach.
Step 2 – Prepare your medium
If you don’t have access to a ready-made succulent soil mix, you can prepare your medium. Use nutritious, quick-draining soil like sand, perlite, and pumice, and mix them with regular potting soil.
Step 3 – Fill the container with soil
Fill your container with your substrate mix until the desired level. To keep the seeds from being blown away when you plant them later, moisten the soil. If you’re repotting a Mother of Millions, keep in mind that understanding the transplanting requirements of your succulents is vital.
Step 4 – Plant the Mother of Millions
If you’re growing Mother of Millions from seeds, spread them on the soil surface and leave sufficient space between each one. Do not cover the seeds with soil to avoid depleting their stored food. If you’re transplanting a succulent, place it carefully at the center of the pot and let the roots hang inside. Place some of your substrates loosely around the roots until it covers them. Tamp down the soil mix softly to help settle it.
Step 5 – Provide adequate care requirements
Now it’s time to give your succulents what they need. Aside from your time and care, the Mother of Millions requires adequate light, water, and temperature. So it’s best to place them near south-facing windows, where they’ll be exposed to natural elements that will help them grow.
How to Propagate the Mother of Millions
Step 1 – Prepare the container and plantlets
Prepare a bowl or tray with potting soil. It doesn’t have to be deep since we will repot before the root grows big. Next, pick off some of the plantlets from your Mother of Millions succulent.
Step 2 – Spread the plantlets on the soil surface
Drop the plantlets gently on the soil surface, approximately ¾ of an inch (2 cm) to 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Spray the soil and plantlets with water, but be careful not to overwater.
Step 3 – Cover the container
Cover the container with plastic wrap to keep the moisture and heat inside. This also works as a makeshift greenhouse.
Step 4 – Place it in a bright location
Take the container to a sunny place to give them adequate light. Keep in mind that the more sunlight the plantlets get, the more attention they will require from you.
Step 5 – Spray every so often
To stimulate the growth of roots, keep the soil moist. Spray them with a fine mist every so often, but make sure the soil is only slightly moist and not thoroughly wet.
Step 6 – Repot
When they grow to about 1 inch (2.5 cm) tall, you can start replanting them to a more appropriate pot where they can grow significant roots.
Common Problems With the Mother of Millions
Mushy leaves are a common issue with overwatered Mother of Millions. Since the leaves have absorbed too much water, the leaves will start looking soft and juicy. The plant will have an overall sick appearance and even appear lighter or translucent. When the soil is moist and waterlogged for long periods, it can also cause the roots to rot.
Dry, Shriveled Leaves
Since the Mother of Millions originated in the dry soils of Madagascar, they have water storage capabilities in their leaves, stem, and root. Thanks to this capability, they can survive long periods without water. But when you underwater them and their water storage runs out, you will notice the plant looking sickly. Its leaves will appear thin, dried up, and shriveled. To remedy this, water the plant thoroughly, and it should perk up within a day or two.
Mother of Thousands vs Mother of Millions
The Mother of Millions is often confused with the Mother of Thousands because of the similarities in name. From a care requirement perspective, both species also share the same necessities. However, these two plants differ in the shape of their leaves, pattern, plantlets, and growth behavior.
The Mother of Thousands has broad, tear-shaped leaves. When you observe their pattern, you will notice that they always grow in pairs, with the leaves located on opposite sides of the stem. The next pair is positioned about 90 degrees away from the other. This alternate pattern ensures that they don’t block each other, and all leaves get sunlight.
All around the edges of the leaves are tiny ridges where the plantlets grow. A happy and healthy Mother of Thousands will have a full set of plantlets around along the edges of its leaves. For its growth behavior, the Mother of Thousands only has one central stalk that grows upwards. As the plant grows heavy with the number of leaves, its central stalk will droop.
Meanwhile, the Mother of Millions has narrow leaves. You will notice that this succulent has four leaves growing from the same node, and they don’t alternate like the Mother of Thousands. Additionally, this succulent plant has fewer plantlets, usually between two to five per leaf, that grow only at the tips of the leaves. Finally, although the Mother of Millions also has a single upright stem, it contains several stalks or tendrils that make it grow like a bush.
Do’s and Don’ts With the Mother of Millions
- Do invest in good gardening tools for repotting succulents.
- Do replant your Mother of Millions as soon as you buy them from the shop.
- Do mix fresh succulent soil before planting.
- Do check if the soil is dry before watering your Mother of Millions.
- Do plant them in a container with good drainage.
- Do use succulent fertilizers to encourage flower growth.
- Don’t overwater your Mother of Millions.
- Don’t keep them in the shade all day long.
- Don’t plant them outdoors if your city experiences extreme winter conditions.
- Don’t forget that they’re an invasive plant that can take over your yard if you plant them outdoors.
FAQ About the Mother of Millions
Is the Mother of Millions succulent toxic?
Yes, they have a mild toxic level that can cause gastrointestinal irritation and heart palpitations.
What is the difference between Mother of Thousands and Mother of Millions?
The key difference between the two plants lies in the shape of their leaves, pattern, plantlets, and growth behavior. The Mother of Thousands has broad, tear-shaped leaves, with plantlets surrounding its edges. Its leaves grow in pairs in an alternate pattern. As it grows, the plant droops due to the weight of the leaves. Meanwhile, the Mother of millions has narrow leaves, with plantlets budding only at the tip. It has several stalks that make it look like a bush.
How do you water the Mother of Millions?
Water the Mother of Millions sparingly. Insert your finger in the soil and check the top 1 to 2 inches. If it feels dry, thoroughly soak your succulent plant and give it time to dry out before applying the next irrigation.
How fast does the Mother of Millions grow?
The Mother of Millions grows rapidly. If you’re using plantlets, it will take root within one to two weeks, followed by rapid foliar growth soon after. New leaves will then start growing within a month or two. Meanwhile, stem cuttings take two to eight weeks to root, depending on the cutting’s quality and the environmental factors. Its nodes will have new foliar growth after around twelve weeks, but it may take longer if the conditions aren’t optimal.
How do you prune the Mother of Millions?
Since this plant grows rapidly, it can easily get out of control. The best way to prune this succulent plant is to snip off the top portion, just above a leaf, at a height you prefer to maintain. You should also remove yellow or dying leaves to encourage healthier growing conditions. When pruning, always use clean shears and try to make clean incisions.
Is the Mother of Millions an indoor plant?
The Mother of Millions can be grown both indoors and outdoors. But if you live in a place with harsh winter conditions, it’s best to keep them indoors if you don’t have a mini greenhouse or frost cloth.
How big does the Mother of Millions get?
The typical size of the Mother of Millions is between 20 to 28 inches but can grow up to 3 feet tall.
The Mother of Millions is an intriguing plant that plant parents should consider adding to their collection. Not only does it look beautiful, but it’s also fast-growing. Furthermore, caring for these plants is easy once you have a clear grasp of their needs. If you give them optimal environmental conditions, the Mother of Millions can even reward you with lovely flowers. So, follow this care guide diligently and see your succulent grow into the perfect object of art.
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