Desert Adapted - Madagascar
Walking Kalanchoe or Kalanchoe Gremlin is an interesting perennial succulent that works perfectly in those difficult shady areas in our desert gardens. Native to central and southern Madagascar, it thrives in rocky dry soil. An evergreen plant in the Crassulaceae family. This plant has grey-green very thick fleshy leaves with purple margins. It produces 2-4 long stolons with baby plantlets at the end of long stems. These plantlets will root giving the plant its name Walking Kalanchoe. Flowers are small and tubular. As with most succulents, you want to make sure it is not in the direct sun here in our low desert. Morning sun and filtered shade is best. Under the canopy of a Mesquite or Palo Verde works perfectly. If the leaves are getting too much sun they will start to yellow or sunburn leaving a scar. Also, beware of too much water. Succulents store water in their thick leaves and grow in well-draining soil. This is why they are great companion plants in our desert gardens.
As a general rule of thumb, all Kalanchoes are poisonous. This one is no different. It is toxic to pets and should be kept out of reach of children.
Growing Plants in the Desert — Important Information
The information presented here is, to the best of my knowledge, accurate and based on my research from reliable sources, observations I have made of plants growing in my, and other gardens I have visited, and observations of the plants in their native habitats. I would appreciate your feedback and experience to help me educate others!
Cacti: In my experience, cacti are much happier in the filtered shade here in the low desert of the Coachella Valley. Colors are more vibrant and they bloom more profusely, especially the non-native varieties. If you pay attention to how our native barrel and beavertail opuntia grow in the wild, it is frequently tucked in the rocks under creosote or another shrub.
Light Requirements: I have found that in our desert (Sonoran/Colorado) “full sun” plants can take and appreciate the late afternoon filtered sun, especially in the hot summer months.