kalanchoe luciae vs thyrsiflora; flower kalanchoe species; kalanchoe flapjacks succulent

Kalanchoe Luciae Vs Thyrsiflora: Everything You Need To Know For Gardening

In this world where there are many varieties of plants with common names, the flapjack paddle plant is a type of plant that you may or may not have come across. The flapjack succulent paddle plant can be of many species. The basic family orientation of a paddle plant is related to the family of Kalanchoe plants. 

The most common two types of paddle plant that people can’t tell apart are the Kalanchoe Luciae and Kalanchoe Thyrsiflora. The first sighting of these plants can be dated back to 1862 when William Henry Harvey identified the Kalanchoe thyrsiflora plant in South Africa. 

Since then, this plant has been grown in many places worldwide, especially in the USA, where the basic hardiness is above 10. As it’s tough to tell these two types of plants apart, this article will point out the main differences between Kalanchoe Luciae vs Thyrsiflora and how to plant and care for both plants. 

First, let’s take a look at the differences.

Kalanchoe Luciae Vs Thyrsiflora – Difference at a Glance


K. Lucia

K. Thyrsiflora


1-2 feet tall, 2-3 feet width

1-2.5 feet height, 0.75-1.5 feet width

Soil Type needed

Dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil

Dry soil, well-drained soil

Sun light

Bright light

Direct sunlight

Flower Color

Darker yellow flowers

Darker yellow flowers


Jade green broad leaves, red wine tips in winter

Colorful and evergreen fleshy leaves

Season/ months of interest

Spring, summer, fall, winter


Water and maintenance needed



Hardiness Zone



Kalanchoe Luciae

Kalanchoe Luciae, or flapjack paddle plant, is a plant compared to clamshells because of the basal rosette of the plant being of such shape. The well-rounded leaves are 4-6 inches long and 2-5 inches wide. During late winter, the leaves catch a reddish hue at the tips; other than that, they remain green throughout the year.

This plant has been marketed in California for many years as Kalanchoe thyrsiflora, but it is Kalanchoe luciae. Red Pancakes and Desert Cabbage are two popular names for K. luciae. Generally, the plant grows in dry areas but needs some watering with probably next to zero maintenance.

But one of the main reasons the K. Luciae plant can suffer from root rot is overwatering. As the plant requires a lot of suns, you cannot consider this an indoor plant. Better to keep it in a rock garden rather than keeping it indoors because less watering, in this case, can ensure green leaves from this succulent plant.

kalanchoe luciae flower; kalanchoe thyrsiflora care; kalanchoe thyrsiflora flower

Basic characteristics

The usual size of a K. Luciae is between 1-2 feet in length and 2-3 feet in width. The leaves are succulent and paddle-shaped. Dry and well-drained soil is required for planting these plants. That’s why they are native to certain regions of South Africa where there is dry and well-drained soil.

The leaves usually remain fleshy green during the year, But during late winter, the leaves start gaining red-wine colour in the tips creating a better look for the plant itself. As it’s a cactus, it doesn’t require much water. So, overwatering can result in root rot and other problems.

The plant is drought tolerant. The most suitable hardiness zones for the plants are within 9-12, where there is intense sunlight, cooler winter months, and excellent soil drainage.

Kalanchoe Thyrsiflora

Thyrsiflora from the Crassulaceae family is one of the common flapjack plants with tubular flowers. The baby plants don’t usually bloom. It takes 4 to 5 years of care and glowing for this beautiful plant to turn into mature plants that can have a flower stalk and bloom into a beautiful flower when it is bloom time. 

The usual bloom time for the flower is between April and May. The color of the flower is darker yellow with a hint of red at the tips. It’s showy and fragrant. The plant is extremely drought-tolerant, and the plant can sustain winter temperatures up to 25-degrees F. 

All it needs is well-draining soil with less moisture. Light shade can work for the plant’s growth, but it’s better to keep them in certain areas with enough sunlight.

Basic characteristics

The usual size of a K. thyrsiflora is between 1-2.5 feet in height, and0.75-1.5 feet in width. The leaves are paddle-shaped and very succulent. The flowering of this plant depends on how well the plant has grown. The minimum duration of certain flowering is between 4 to 5 years.

The plants can sustain nicely in weather that might not suit many plants, but this one can easily sustain in late winter weather. During winter, the plant’s green leaves start showing other colors, which substantially increases the beauty of the plant.

Growing Paddle Plants

Before learning how to grow this plant, you should know a few things about it. The mother plant doesn’t bear any flowers until the age of 4-5 years, and it dies right after the flower blooms. After that, the dead mother plants need to be removed.

But the mother plant dies while leaving an offset from where leaf cuttings can take birth and grow with leaf cuttings. The usual temperature for planting these plants is 60-degrees F.

Best soil type

The kalanchoe luciae care regime or kalanchoe thyrsiflora care regime requires selecting a proper soil type. For growing Kalanchoe luciae soil needs to be completely dry and with very low or medium moisture.

As well-drained soils are preferred, the sand ratio of the soil should be 2/3rd. Thus, the soil will have enough water draining.

Sun requirement

As kalanchoes are cacti, they require a lot of suns. Nevertheless, they can grow in the shade too. But if you keep any Kalanchoe in the shade, you would see that the growth of the leaves is stretched, narrow and long in such a way that the tree is trying to reach out to places where there is direct sunlight.

Keeping the plant in shadow reduces the chances of the red-wine color shades in the winter. So, the plant will grow but will not have the ideal growth if kept in the shade.


The plant’s watering is simple yet has to be done like this. Check if the soil is dry within 2-3″ under the plant. If so, the soil needs watering; other than that, no watering. Letting water stay under the plant will result in root rot. So, make sure you hardly water the plant, only when it needs the water.

Planting regime

Plant propagation using paddles planting leaves or leaf cuttings in the spring or summer is the easiest technique to reproduce kalanchoe. Set aside the leaves or cuttings for a few days or until the cut end forms a callus. Offsets that develop on the side of a mature paddle plant can also be removed.

Plant the leaves or offsets in a tiny pot filled with cactus and succulent potting mix that has been slightly watered. Make sure the potting mix is uniformly wet but not saturated. Paddle plant propagation works best in bright, indirect sunshine. You may treat the plant as a mature plant once it has established itself and produces healthy new growth.


1. Can kalanchoe survive winter?

The lowest temperature a kalanchoe plant or a paddle plant can survive is 45-degrees F. Anything lower than that would kill the plant.

2. Are Crassula and Kalanchoe the same?

No, these plants are different but belong to the same family class.

3. How to water a paddle plant?

The plant needs to be watered when the top 2-3″ of the plant’s soil is completely dry. Experts suggest that “underwatering” is the way to go with paddle plants.

4. How to fertilize a paddle plant?

The usual regime is to fertilize once every two months. The best thing is to lay off from fertilizing in the winter entirely.

Before You Go

We have seen the features, differences, and growing needs of two beautiful succulents, Kalanchoe Luciae Vs Thyrsiflora. Nothing now can stop you from trying them out in your flower garden.

Other succulents with the same elegance that you can consider include Selenicereus Anthonyanus and  Epiphyllum. Here is an article on the two: Selenicereus Anthonyanus Vs Epiphyllum Anguliger

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Robert Silver

Robert Silver is a writer, speaker and certified master gardener who has been sharing his landscaping experiences through personal blogs. Taking it to the next level, Robert Silver has come up with this progardeningblog.com to shine a light on new planters and experts, discussing plants, landscape projects and much more. He has published numerous research articles on horticulture that have helped many people attain fruitful outcomes.