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What’s Blooming in Paradise: Flapjacks include more than 125 species

By Staff | Jul 15, 2015

Plant Subject: Flapjacks (Kalanchoe thyrsiflora)

First impression: Delicate bell shaped buttery yellow blossoms. These tiny blossoms are attached to a tall slender upright stalk. The plant has paddle shaped light green pads as leaves edged in terracotta red. I notice the different sizes of pads, which are arranged like a blossom all connecting at the base. A very soft sweet fragrance can be detected. Unusual to see this desert plant here in paradise, but it’s a curiosity with or without its blooms at the Botanical Gardens of the Sanibel Moorings.

Upon further investigation: What a cute name! Flapjacks hail from the Kalanchoe plant family, which include over 125 species. I have mispronounced Kalanchoe for years and have settled on cal-ann-co-wee as one of the accepted pronunciations.

You will commonly see Kalanchoes in the cactus section at the garden center. Our thyrsiflora variety leaves are oval, flat, succulent and super sized, reminiscent of pancakes. Soft green color with each pancake edged in dark crimson to red or not edged and all green. They are arranged like a large flower, but the flatness of their leaves gives their shape compactness. Their unique leave shape and color makes them fabulous without flowers. When they flower, a tall slender stalk appears in a chalky grayish color. The tiny flowers are bell shaped and creamy yellow and cover the stalk.

As our star ages, pups (babies) form all around the mom. Mature plants will also form a thick, broad stalk, which will raise them up and eureka, even more dimension from this superstar. What a fantastic ground cover for a sunny, dry area in your garden.

They are top on my list for container plants because they stand out with their light green coloring and red edging and require little or no care. Our flapjacks are not invasive but, be careful of this family, many are very invasive. Invasive plants reproduce at an alarming rate. They are difficult to eradicate once they are established and begin producing out of control offspring. The problem with introducing invasive plants in your garden, or the environment is it that they will out compete other plants. Eventually the invasive plant will take over your garden and your once diverse plant garden becomes a one plant garden. I invite you to visit the ever informative website Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council at www.fleppc.org and re-educate yourselves on the latest villains that may be lurking in your garden.


* Unique bloomer

* Does well in sandy soil

* Likes full sun

* Easy to maintain

* Easily propagated by offspring’s

* Salt tolerance

* Great ground cover

* Will enjoy telling people name of plant

* Great in planters

* Non invasive

* Cold tolerant

* Drought tolerant

* Easy care


* Be careful with too much water

* Fast grower

* May have craving for pancakes

* Non native.

Conclusion: Take a long look at our short stack, unusual, unique, and piled high ready for your admiration! No need for syrup, this one’s growing as a daily special in our tropical eye catching garden. Don’t wanna miss this bloomer!

**Remember we have a yearly fertilizer restriction during July 1, through Oct. 2. This is a very important mandatory restriction to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus runoff into our precious waterways. Any fertilizing during our rainy season, only ends up in our water resources as unwanted algae blooms.**