A unique and intriguing choice for any houseplant enthusiast is the mother of thousands plant, a succulent that grows from a single stem. It is a member of the kalanchoe genus. The unique plant adds a certain aesthetic appearance to the space, thanks to the coloring of leaves, the bright flowers, and the distinctive, tiny plantlets that grow along the edges of their leaves. The plant is primarily grown indoors to keep it from spreading too easily. Those plantlets multiply and spread quickly when outdoors!
One of the most attractive ways to grow these stunning plants is as a hanging plant. They conform well to many different types of hanging pots and are easy to care for, even at a height.
Hanging Plant Care: Mother of Thousands
Before you hang that plant, it’s important to make sure you’ve got the plant’s needs taken care of via planting medium, location, watering, light, and fertilizer.
Soil or Planting Medium
A great growing medium for your mother of thousands hanging plant is a mixture of sand and perlite with standard potting soil. Cactus mix is a good option, as well, if you’re concerned about “precise” ratios.
The most important aspect of this, though, is that the soil or medium is well-draining.
The ideal planter for mother of thousands is made of clay or terracotta, with proper drainage holes. This material will absorb excess water and provide a healthier balance for the plant that is prone to over watering.
Pick a hanging planter that is only slightly larger than the plant’s root bed, unless you’re planning to pot several together or with other succulent species.
One reason mother of thousands make for great indoor plants is that they thrive in bright, indirect light. That means that if you don’t have windows facing exactly the right direction, the plant can still thrive.
Ideally, place them where they will get morning sunlight – usually east facing windows in the northern hemisphere or a few feet away from southern-facing windows – with diffused or indirect light the rest of the day.
One reason mother of thousands is an easy-to-care-for plant is that they rarely need to be fertilized.
Every few months, they can benefit from a liquid fertilizer designed for houseplants or succulents, though, but consistency isn’t necessarily a huge deal. The main thing on this is only fertilizing the plant during its growing period (spring to summer). Feeding the plant in dormant months can cause stress for the plant.
There are a few things to keep in mind as you determine where to hang your mother of thousands plants.
First, because the plant is toxic to cats, dogs, humans, and other mammals, its best to keep the plant in a location where it won’t easily be chewed on or bothered by kids and animals.
Secondly, they should be kept in locations that are somewhere arid and no cooler than 40 degrees F. They are not humidity-loving plants, either, so should never be kept in bathrooms or kitchens.
Finally, mother of thousands should always be kept away from heating ducts, air conditioning vents, drafty windows, or doors that open to the outside. These can cause health issues for the plant.
These succulents are arid-climate plants, meaning that they don’t require high humidity like many tropical and subtropical plants. In fact, they do best with a bit of drying out between waterings – and should never be misted.
Ideally, you’ll keep your mother of thousands plants in temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees F. If the plant is kept outdoors, it should be brought inside whenever temperatures are set to drop below 40 degrees F.
Mother of thousands plants are drought-tolerant succulents, meaning the top couple of inches of soil surface should be allowed to dry between waterings. In most cases, except in extremely hot, dry months, the plant only needs watering every other week or so.
Because of this, it’s recommended you use a moisture meter to test the soil and a phone app or similar to help remind you to check. The plant can go without water for a while, but you don’t want it to totally dry out.
During spring and summer months, the mother of thousands plant needs watered more often than in cooler months, so be sure to check the soil more often during these months.
One reason the mother of thousands is a low maintenance plant is because it rarely needs pruning. Generally speaking, the plant simply needs to have dead stalks and dropped plantlets removed.
Mother of Thousands: Hanging Plant Ideas
If you’re looking for some specific ideas on how to grow that hanging plant, these choices might do the trick.
Mother of thousands are succulents that blend beautifully with other succulents. You could create a miniature “forest” of succulents by planting them together into a single hanging pot. Because many succulents don’t need deep pots, you can find a long, narrow planter for this purpose, intermingling many species of succulents with similar light and water needs. Then, if you’re handing, convert the pot into a hanging planter. If you’re less handy, you can find one for sale on many different sites or in garden centers.
Repurposed Basket Hanger
If you can find a wicker, rope, or frond basket with a handle, you can easily convert it into a charming rustic hanging plant pot for your mother of thousands. Be sure to line the interior with plastic to contain the soil and water, then add some fine mesh as the next layer, and finally some pebbles before adding the potting mix.
Tiered Hanging Planter Pots
If you have a handful of mother of thousands or other plants that would grow well in the same lighting conditions, you might consider planting them into a tiered hanging planter pot collection. This one from Etsy, for example, are simply designed using natural materials.
Repurposed Ladder Plant Hanger
If you’re into DIY and upcycling, you might want to check out this idea for using an old wooden ladder as a multi-textured DIY hanging pot arrangement. You can mix and mingle your mother of thousands with other succulents or potted plants. Ideally, though, hang this ladder fixture low enough that you can properly care for the plants without a lot of hassles.
Wall-Mounted Hanging Pots and Planters
There are special pots designed to function like a hanging pot, only they mount directly on the wall. These often come in unique, intriguing designs and attractive colors, with modern touches that add a lot of aesthetic appeal. And since mother of thousands don’t require deep pots, even some of the shallowest make for great options.
Hanging Plant Bar
Using a pipe to create a hanging rack for your potted mother of thousands is another great idea. Hook or loop the pot hangers onto the bar and position anywhere you like. This is a particularly great option for in front of a window or near a blank wall.
Hanging Bowl Cascade
If you’re planning to grow several mother of thousands, or want a hanging succulents display, you could do something like this hanging bowl “cascade.” Basically, it a collection of bowls with lips on them that are tied together and hung using jute, twine, or rope strong enough to hold the bowls.
This idea provides you with more wall space in a sense, as you don’t have to dedicate a whole wall to hanging multiple plant, just the section with the “cascade” flowing down it. Purchase a pre-made one or make your own with your preferred planters.
Macrame Plant Hangers
If you have some pots on hand already or some specifics that you’d like to buy that aren’t equipped with hooks, an easy solution is using macrame plant hangers. They can convert just about any kind of pot into a hanging pot, which could be the best way for you to hang your mother of thousands exactly how you want.
Mother of Thousands: Hanging Plant Tips
There are some special tips that can help your mother of thousands thrive as a hanging plant indoors or out.
Rotate the Plants Often
Mother of thousands plants need indirect light, yes, but the whole plant needs light. Rotate the hanging basket or planter for your plant to help ensure the whole plant is frequently exposed to light instead of just one side.
Water the Plants According to Season
There are certain seasons during which your mother of thousands is growing – and this is when they need more water than the rest of the year. Be prepared to water the hanging succulent more frequently in spring and summer into early autumn.
Treat for Insects and Pests
Your hanging mother of thousands plant could well develop some issues with pests throughout the season, particularly if it is moved between indoors and outdoors based on the season. Generally, indoor-only plants won’t have too much of an issue unless the soil isn’t draining properly, but outdoor plants have issues. To get rid of them, gently treat the plant with neem oil or use a 70% isopropyl alcohol and water spray solution, applying lightly. Watch for insect activity and re-treat as needed.
Skip the Misting – Water Directly
Your mother of thousands will do best with water applied directly to the soil instead of misting. Misting may cause issues with brittle roots or mold on the leaves. If you water them directly by the soil, pouring in until water runs out of the drainage holes, the plant will do much better.
Clean the Plants
Just like the shelves on your bookcase collect dust, indoor plants collect dust and particles on their leaves and stems. Bring the pot down to a comfortable level and then use a soft paintbrush for hard-to-reach spots and gently wipe off leaves and spines with a damp cloth.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/skymoon13
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