panda plant (kalanchoe tomentosa) - Knowledgebase Question

Fairbanks, Al
Question by perrygreek
May 5, 2008
I have a beautiful panda plant but I see more and more white (or silverish) spots on the leaves. What is it and how I can take care of it? Thank you for the answer!
Have a great day! Perry

Answer from NGA
May 5, 2008


What you are seeing is perfectly normal. The leaves are entirely covered with a dense white-silver felt of plant hairs (trichomes). The leaf apex has several teeth, each marked brown in color. This suggests a plush fur, and with a little imagination, the color patterns are reminiscent of the Panda Bear.

The dense covering of plant hairs performs a vital function for the plant in the form of water conservation. In the dry environment in which it lives, Kalanchoe tomentosa must conserve what little water it can absorb from the soil. The dense mat of hairs growing from the leaf retards the movement of air directly across the leaf surface, thereby reducing water vapor loss (transpiration). The ?dead-air? space created by the numerous trichomes insulates the leaf from its harsh external environment, too. In addition, the white-silver appearance of the leaves reflects light, lessening the chances of the leaves overheating.

Panda plant grows well in partial shade and full sun. This wind resistant plant is very drought resistant. It can even be grown in coastal areas since it is tolerant to salt and salt spray. In warm areas, panda plant is typically used in outdoor beds, and rock gardens as well as in containers. In areas with colder climates, it can be grown outdoors in pots during the summer months.

When you?re watering the panda plant, avoid getting the foliage wet if
possible. The only problem this plant seems to experience is pretty much due
to high humidity, which can lead to outbreaks of leaf spot, a disease. For that reason, gardeners in very humid areas, such as the Upper South, may want to just keep it indoors year-round.

Hope this answers all your questions!

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