Virtues: Paddle plant is a quirky, unusual-looking succulent plant that is easy to grow in a pot. Its round, often colorful leaves lend interest whether it is potted alone or combined with spiky or smaller-leaved succulents and cacti.
Common name: paddle plant, flapjacks
Botanical name:Kalanchoe thyrsiflora
Exposure: Bright light, full sun to part shade
Season: Year-round as a foliage plant (indoors in cold climates; outdoors in USDA Zones 10–12)
Flowers: Clusters of fragrant yellow flowers may appear on tall stalks from mature plants in spring. After blooming the main plant dies, but at blooming size it has often formed pups that can then be repotted and grown onward.
Foliage: Round, flat leaves are bright green and may develop red or orange edges when grown in full sun. The leaves form a rosette.
Habit: In its native habitat, paddle plant can reach 18 inches tall with a flower spike to 30 inches. When it is grown in a pot, it tends to top out at 10 inches.
Origins: Dry, rocky landscapes of South Africa
How to grow paddle plant: In most of North America Kalanchoe thyrsiflora will be grown as a container plant that must be wintered indoors. Pot it in a quick-draining soil mix, such as that marketed for cactus. This is a highly drought-tolerant succulent plant. Allow the soil to dry completely between waterings. Paddle plant thrives in heat and humidity. See ways to increase humidity for indoor plants. USDA Zones 10–12.
Photo credit: Anita Marks/Moment/Getty Images