Kalanchoe tomentosa (kal-un-KOH-ee toh-men-TOH-suh) is also known as Panda Plant, Donkey Ears, or Pussy Ears because of its fuzzy gray-green leaves with attractive purplish-brown tips.
This pretty succulent plant does not bloom as much as other types of Kalanchoe, but its interesting leaves make up for its lack of blooms.
Because it is a succulent, Panda Plant is drought resistant and will suffer more from overwatering than underwatering.
In this article, we provide smart tips to help you prevent overwatering.
We also discuss strategies to help you save your Panda Plant if you have overwatered. Read on to learn more.
How To Save Dying Panda Plant
Make Good Choices
Keeping a Panda Plant in a plastic container with rich-looking soil that has been overwatered are all conditions to blame for the root rot that has set in.
Succulent plants should be kept in containers allowing good air circulation around the roots. Terra cotta containers are ideal.
The planting medium should be light and airy. A commercially prepared cactus or succulent mix is ideal.
A 50-50 mix of good quality potting mix and coarse sand will also work.
Rotting panda plants rarely survive by applying fungicide. However, without repotting into a new, suitable container with light, dry, appropriate soil, the base of this plant will unlikely survive.
Can You Undo Overwatering?
With succulents, such as Kalanchoe, when you find the plant suffering from overwatering, you must first determine how much damage has been done.
Suppose the plant is droopy because of overwatering, but the container and soil are appropriate.
In that case, you may be able to save the plant by simply withholding water and improving air circulation around the plant.
You can improve air circulation by poking a few holes in the surface or turning the soil a bit with a fork.
If the plant is crowded amongst other plants, move it to an area where it can get good air circulation.
Attempting to take healthy cuttings is always a good idea if rot has set in.
To save (or attempt to save) the base of the plant, you must remove it from the wet substrate, rinse the roots and examine them carefully.
If the roots are a mushy mass, you are probably best off throwing the base of the plant away and just hoping for the best with your cuttings.
If there are still healthy roots, trim away mushy brown roots and allow the plant to air in a protected area with good air circulation.
Leave it bare-rooted for a day or two to discourage the spread of the fungal growth.
You may also wish to spray the roots with a 50-50 mix of hydrogen peroxide and water before leaving the plant to dry.
After a couple of days have passed, repot your Panda Plant in a terra cotta pot with ample drainage holes.
Use a substrate specifically for cactus or succulents (as described above). The substrate should be just barely damp.
Withhold water for about a week after repotting and then water sparingly. The remaining leaves of the plant will probably wither and die, but be patient.
Keep the pot in a consistently warm area with bright, indirect sunlight and good air circulation.
Continue to water sparingly. With time (2 to 4 weeks) and patience, the roots may recover and send out new growth.
Avoid Overwatering In Future
Remember that succulents always need sharply draining soil. This is soil that allows water to run through freely.
If your plant pot is sitting in a saucer, be sure not to leave water in the saucer.
Employ the soak-and-dry method of watering for succulents and most plants. Water well, allowing the water to run through the pots’ ample drainage holes.
Do not water again until the potting medium is dry to the touch or the plant looks just a bit thirsty (wilted).
Avoid crowding your plants. Always allow for good air circulation. This helps prevent problems with fungal infections and with quite a few troublesome insect pests.
Keep an eye on your plant’s condition.
If you notice yellowing leaves, floppy stems, fungus gnats, or unpleasant odors, investigate immediately and make corrections to help your plant dry out and recover.
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