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How To Grow & Care for Chocolate Soldier Plant

chocolate soldier plant

The chocolate soldier plant, also known as the Kalanchoe tomentosa, is a beautiful and unique succulent that is native to Madagascar. This plant is renowned for its velvety, chocolate-colored leaves, which give it its unique and eye-catching appearance.

The chocolate soldier plant is a small succulent, typically growing to be about 20-30 cm in height. The leaves are oval in shape and are covered in fine, soft, velvety hairs that give them a distinct texture and feel.

The leaves themselves are a rich, chocolate brown color, which is where the plant gets its common name. In addition to its beautiful foliage, the kalanchoe tomentosa also produces clusters of tiny, yellow or pink flowers that bloom in the winter months.

Grow & Care

Growing the chocolate soldier plant is a relatively straightforward process, and it is a great choice for both novice and experienced gardeners alike. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to grow and care for this beautiful plant.

Provide Adequate Light

One of the most important factors in growing and caring for the Chocolate Soldier Plant is providing it with the right amount of light. This plant prefers bright, indirect light, but it can also tolerate some direct sunlight.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that too much direct sunlight can cause the leaves to become sunburned, which will damage the plant.

To prevent this, place your Chocolate Soldier Plant in an area that receives bright, indirect light, or place it in a sunny spot and provide shade with sheer curtains or a sheer shade cloth.

chocolate soldier plant
Chocolate Soldier plant growing outside

Watering and Humidity

Watering your Chocolate Soldier Plant is one of the most important steps in growing and caring for this plant. This succulent is drought-tolerant, so it doesn’t require a lot of water. In fact, overwatering can be just as harmful as underwatering.

When you water your Chocolate Soldier Plant, make sure to thoroughly saturate the soil and then let it dry out completely before watering again. This will help prevent root rot, which is a common issue with succulents. It’s also important to make sure the pot has good drainage to allow excess water to escape.

Soil Requirements

Another important factor in growing and caring for the Chocolate Soldier Plant is providing it with the right type of soil. This plant prefers well-draining soil that’s slightly sandy.

If your soil is heavy, you may need to add sand or other amendments to improve drainage. You can also use a potting mix designed specifically for succulents, which will help prevent root rot.

Fertilizing

Fertilizing your Chocolate Soldier Plant is important for promoting healthy growth. However, it’s important to use a fertilizer specifically designed for succulents, as they have different nutritional needs than other plants. You can apply fertilizer every 2-4 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer) and once a month during the dormant season (fall and winter).

Types of Kalanchoe

Kalanchoe is a genus of about 125 species of succulent flowering plants in the family Crassulaceae. Some of the most popular and widely grown types of Kalanchoe include:

rows of chocolate soldier plant
Three rows of Chocolate Solder Plant being cultivated for sale

Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana

It’s  also known as Flaming Katy or Christmas Kalanchoe, it is a popular houseplant with brightly colored flowers in shades of red, pink, orange, yellow, and purple.

Kalanchoe Beharensis

It is a large succulent with fuzzy, velvety leaves, also known as the Velvet Leaf Kalanchoe

Kalanchoe Fedtschenkoi

Also known as the Paddle Plant, it has large, paddle-shaped leaves that are green on top and burgundy on the bottom.

Kalanchoe Tomentosa

It is also known as the Panda Plant, it is a succulent with furry, gray-green leaves covered in white hair-like fibers.

Kalanchoe Pinnata

Also known as the Air Plant, it is a trailing succulent with long, slender leaves that are covered in tiny hairs.

These are just a few of the many types of Kalanchoe available. Each species has unique features and characteristics that make it an interesting and attractive choice for gardeners and houseplant enthusiasts.

Panda plant
A rather blue looking Panda plant

Propagating Chocolate Soldier

Chocolate Soldier (Kalanchoe luciae) is a succulent plant that is known for its distinctive rosette shape and its chocolate-brown leaves with red edges. You can propagate Chocolate Soldier by division, cuttings, or seeds.

Division

One of the easiest ways to propagate Chocolate Soldier is through division. Simply remove offsets from the parent plant, making sure each offset has roots, and pot them up in a well-draining soil mix.

Cuttings

You can also take stem cuttings and root them in water or a well-draining soil mix. Cut a stem section that includes a few leaves, let it callus over for a few days, and then plant it in soil. Keep the soil moist and provide bright, indirect light until roots have formed and the new plant is established.

Seeds

If you have a flowering Chocolate Soldier plant, you can collect its seeds and sow them in a well-draining soil mix. Keep the soil consistently moist and provide bright, indirect light. Germination may take several weeks to several months, depending on the conditions.

Regardless of the propagation method, it’s important to provide bright, indirect light and well-draining soil. Water sparingly to avoid root rot and wait until the soil has completely dried out before watering again. With proper care, your propagated Chocolate Soldier plants should thrive and grow into healthy specimens.

Pests & Diseases

One of the great things about the Chocolate Soldier Plant is that it’s relatively resistant to pests and diseases. However, it’s still important to be aware of the common pests and diseases that can affect this plant.

Powdery Mildew

This fungal disease causes white, powdery spots on the leaves, stems and flowers of the chocolate soldier plant. It can spread quickly and can cause the plant to become stunted and weak.

Root Rot

Over-watering is the primary cause of root rot in the chocolate soldier plant. It can lead to yellowing leaves, wilting, and eventually death of the plant.

Pests

Some of the most common pests include spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. To prevent these pests, make sure to regularly inspect your plant and treat it promptly if you notice any signs of infestation

Conclusion

In conclusion, growing and caring for a chocolate soldier plant is relatively easy as long as you follow a few key guidelines. Ensure the plant has bright, indirect light and is not over-watered or over-fertilized.

Keep an eye out for common problems such as powdery mildew, root rot, and pests, and treat them promptly if they arise. With proper care, your chocolate soldier plant will thrive and bring a touch of tropical beauty to your home or garden.

Does The Chocolate Soldier Plant Produce Flowers?

The chocolate soldier plant, also known as Kalanchoe tomentosa, has the potential to produce small red flowers during the summer season when grown in an outdoor environment that is ideal for its growth.

However, it is uncommon for this plant to flower when grown indoors. The main attraction of the chocolate soldier plant is its attractive, fuzzy leaves that have a unique brown-edged appearance.

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