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PlantFiles: Felt Plant, Felt Bush, Velvet Leaf Kalanchoe
Kalanchoe beharensis

Family: Crassulaceae (krass-yoo-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Kalanchoe (kal-un-KOH-ee) (Info)
Species: beharensis (be-HAIR-en-sis) (Info)

Synonym:Kalanchoe van-tieghemii

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

19 members have or want this plant for trade.

Cactus and Succulents

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Winter

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
This plant is suitable for growing indoors

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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16 positives
2 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive davebartell On Jun 5, 2014, davebartell from Los Gatos, CA wrote:

Terrific plant in terms of distinct look and simplicity of care. It has grown to 5 feet and appears awkward (long stem, too tall for its location). Can I cut the stem and repot? Will it reroot as other succulent-like plants do?

Positive Lonecolt On Apr 27, 2014, Lonecolt from Los Angeles, CA wrote:

This plant does NOT propogate by seeding and does NOT develop plantlets on its leaf margins, so those stating that this plant is invasive are sadly mistaken. They must have a different type of Kalanchoe. This plant must be propagated by stem or leaf cuttings.

Neutral dalerekus2 On Oct 9, 2013, dalerekus2 from San Diego, CA wrote:

I believe 10TPz is referring to Abutilon theophrasti and not Kalanchoe beharensis which does not have either hollow stems or heart-shaped leaves. Cheers . . .

Positive camrichdesign On Mar 18, 2012, camrichdesign from Scottsdale, AZ wrote:

Here in Scottsdale this plant does great. Purchased it in a one gallon container, and it is 5' tall and 3' wide after just 3 years. It does require filtered sun in the hottest part of the summer otherwise the leaves can burn.

Neutral parismom On Mar 11, 2012, parismom from Hopewell, NJ wrote:

hi! i've been growing this little charmer in my sunny window and it's doing all the thingsyou've all commented on before, sending off little plants, etc. within this thread, there was one negative comment and some general commentary on how it "takes over" we are in new jersey, zone 6 and i hesitate to plant it if i'm going to be chasing it all over the yard, as i've done with a small variety of sedum, which is threatening to devour my house :-) any further thoughts would be appreciated. thanks!

Positive LAGardengirl On May 6, 2011, LAGardengirl from Los Angeles, CA wrote:

I've been growing a fang in a pot on my north facing balcony for about 4 years and it has just kept getting taller & taller until, at the end of winter it sprang a flower spike from the only central stem in the pot. After the flowers died I cut off the top of the spike. Does anyone know if it's like bromeliads and some aloe whereby, after flowering, the plant begins to die?

Positive Coupe On Mar 8, 2011, Coupe from Tujunga, CA wrote:

I have never seen any offshoots of any of these plants. My way to grow more is to break off a leaf, put in in a dark, dry area and a small plant grows from the end of the stem, where you break it off. They sure don't flower often, and since it's from Madacascar, I can believe it would grow in tropical areas. My experience is it likes mostly shade. When frost hits, I've had some 'melt', looks like a deflated balloon. There are some at Disneyland, inside "Bugs Life" where they are pretty good size, and are arranged like hedges. There are also some along the tram route.

Positive Porphyrostachys On Jul 6, 2010, Porphyrostachys from Portland, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have to sort of chuckle about the post about K. beharensis being an invasive plant. I WISH it was an invasive plant here in Arizona. It's probably one of my most favorite succulent plants and I can only dream about them just coming up everywhere! I'd be completely happy with a K. beharensis jungle!
Dreaming aside, K. beharensis can be grown here in the Phoenix area, but needs a 'safe place' away from the blistering afternoon sun and also a warm place when the frosts come. An eastern exposure near the home is probably most wise if you want to ground the plant out, otherwise a pot on wheels works too. A heavy frost like what was had in 2007 will knock a tall K. beharensis out entirely, though the smaller hybrids and forms like 'Oak Leaf' will, surprisingly, come back from the roots if they've been established in the ground for a number of years!
You can also get creative and build a shade house for your more tender succulents here that you cover in plastic in winter and keep a heater going. It allows you to bed out plants that you normally couldn't and still keep them happy.

Negative 10TPz On May 15, 2010, 10TPz from Decatur, GA wrote:

You do not want this plant in your garden! It has been outlawed as a noxious plant because of its profuse seeding capacity that can seed surrounding fields for 50 years, even after the seed has passed through the digestive tract of an animal. Velvet Leaf shoots up very quickly, flaunting huge, heartshaped leaves on fuzzy, hollow stems. Unfortunatey, it drains the soil of nutrients, to the disadvantage of food crops and family gardens. My family has joked for years about the tenacity of this plant. We have sawn it to the ground, ground up the roots; last year, a "pro" launched an attack on it with poisons--and not only has it come up in the usual spot, it has sprung new growth 5 ft. away. I admire the Velvet Leaf that someone left behind for me, but when a Georgian tells you that there's a plant that can outdo Kudzu, you should sit up and listen.

Positive wormfood On Jun 11, 2009, wormfood from Lecanto, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I grow all of mine from leaves. Lay the leaf on top of the soil in shaded area and do not water. That's it. Leave it alone. Don't water it until the mother leaf is dried up and no longer feeding it.

Positive suzypreston On May 28, 2009, suzypreston from Melbourne
Australia wrote:

My most beloved plant! Here in Melbourne, it happily survives gale strength winds, 40 plus heat, and blazing sun. Autumn rain brings on a huge flush of growth, and it is presently 2 metres tall- ( and very straight, no twistyness as mentioned in other notes) Morning sun shines through leaves, showing beautiful veining. Soft cinnamon-brown fuzz... Also setting to bloom for first time in 8 years now, in the autumn. Seems happy with cool wet winters (properly drained) and dry burning summers. I have propagated one by pulling a broken leaf off at base and laying on sandy mix, but it's taken all summer to end up with a pea sized set of leafs at base of stem. Also, found a tiny set of roots growing from the edge of a hole that formed where a leaf was severely sun-burnt, and I've potted it up. If you have a frost -free winter and awater-restricted summer, plant it, and fall in love !

Positive Tontokick On Feb 25, 2009, Tontokick from Oklahoma City, OK wrote:

Mine is a very impressive plant that stands out from other plants grown in a pot, a true speciman. About the fastest growing succulent I've come across, maybe grows a little too big for limited indoor space. I have to have it inside Dec. thru Feb. I'm battling mealybug, however. I've sprayed it with neem oil and used a systemic insect control on the roots. I have three or four other good starts, so I'm tempted to discard the parent plant which is about four feet tall.

Positive BayAreaTropics On Jan 20, 2009, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

Surprisngly hardy plant taking near freezing temps very well. Also handles our cool bay area wet winters also . I'm not sure why it isn't seen much if at all outdoors here. The newer selections seem to have decidedly brown leafs where the type has only a hint.
If you want a contrast to the usual shapes and forms of xeric plants-this has it.

Positive tmccullo On Nov 24, 2007, tmccullo from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

We have had ours two years now and keep it in a pot. It is about 2.5 feet tall and produces new leaves about once a month. We water it lightly about once a week and keep it outside in the sun all but December thru February. This is one of the most unusual plants we have. I have noticed that in full sun the leaves do turn a more brown color and indoors it gets more of a gree.

Positive Equilibrium On Feb 26, 2005, Equilibrium wrote:

Woody succulent shrub native to Madagascar. Nice specimen plant for zones 10b-11. Prefers full sun but can tolerate some shade. Soil should be dry to moist so you might want to consider allowing the soil to thoroughly dry between waterings as over watering can destroy the plant otherwise it can thrive on neglect. This plant is propagated by removing the small offsets from the base of the main plant as well as from stem cuttings.

Positive trophy On Feb 22, 2004, trophy wrote:

Is this commonly known as a "Madagascan Felt Bush"?
I bought a mature bush (8') described such as this from a specialist nursery which imported the bush from Madagasca around 1970. I have only been able to propagate from felt leaves when they were ringed by tiny flowers about 1/2" in diameter and this happened only once prior to the bush dying. Attempts to grow from leaf stems or leaves since has been unsuccessful.
I have only four bushes existing in pots ( now about 15 years old )from the initial propagation when flowers bloomed on a few leaves.

Positive palmbob On Oct 18, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is a relatively fast growing Kalanchoe with large, fuzzy leaves that eventually grows into a small bonsai-like tree in So Cal. Its stems become twisted, gnarled and have an uneven texture created by the missing leaf bases as they fall off. The plant develops huge, folded, thick, fuzzy, irregularly shaped succulent leaves that vary from a dull green, to silvery or coppery. I think this is one of the more fascinating Kalanchoes and is a great specimen for a xeriscape garden.

Positive Happenstance On Sep 20, 2003, Happenstance from Northern California, CA wrote:

The Velvet Leaf Kalanchoe will grow in most any condition. Full sun to full shade. Shade will keep it mostly gray/green, while full sun will bring out the cinnamon colored brown "velvet" that it is known for. Survives on little or no water or regular water from irrigation systems. Fallen leaves will root and produce new plants, complicated and sometimes convoluted inflorescence.

Positive DougC On Feb 22, 2003, DougC from Los Angeles, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I have grown Kalanchoe beharensis outdoors for many years. I live in Sunset Zone 21, and the evening temperatures rarely fall below 8C (48F). My K. beharensis is now roughly 4.5 ft.

This genus need lots of room to grow, and very easy to replant from stem cuttings. I haven't tried to propagate from leaf cuttings, but sure it can be done. Important point, these succulents are native of tropical Africa, they cannot tolerate freezing tempertures. As for soil, I have mine in a very large clay pot, the soil mixture I use is "Miracle-Grow", mixed with pumice and several parts of cactus mix. They do need a porous/well draining soil. Misting is fine from time to time. If I learn anymore, will pass it along.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Mesa, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Scottsdale, Arizona
Canoga Park, California
Carlsbad, California
Clayton, California
Hayward, California
Huntington Park, California
Los Angeles, California (2 reports)
Los Gatos, California
Mountain View, California
North Highlands, California
Perris, California
Reseda, California
San Diego, California
San Leandro, California
Simi Valley, California
Tujunga, California
Upland, California
Bartow, Florida
Big Pine Key, Florida
Deerfield Beach, Florida
Delray Beach, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Lecanto, Florida
Miami, Florida
Naples, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Umatilla, Florida
Venice, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Winter Haven, Florida
Albany, Georgia
Las Vegas, Nevada
Lambertville, New Jersey
Houston, Texas

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