Kalanchoe, Alligator Plant, Devil's Backbone, Mexican Hat Plant, Mother of Thousands 'Jaws of Life'

Kalanchoe daigremontiana

Family: Crassulaceae (krass-yoo-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Kalanchoe (kal-un-KOH-ee) (Info)
Species: daigremontiana (day-ee-gree-mon-tee-AH-nuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Jaws of Life
Synonym:Bryophyllum daigremontianum


Cactus and Succulents

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Good Fall Color


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


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)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Magenta (pink-purple)


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:


Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

Plant is viviparous

Seed Collecting:

Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Tempe, Arizona

Arroyo Grande, California

Brea, California

Carlsbad, California

Long Beach, California

Madera, California

Oildale, California

Reseda, California

Apopka, Florida

Belleview, Florida

Bonita Springs, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

Eagle Lake, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Lake Worth, Florida

Lutz, Florida

Milton, Florida

New Port Richey, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Port Charlotte, Florida

Saint Augustine, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Yulee, Florida

Mount Sterling, Kentucky

Crowley, Louisiana

Gonzales, Louisiana

Saginaw, Michigan

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Lebanon, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Corpus Christi, Texas

Flower Mound, Texas

Geronimo, Texas

Houston, Texas

Huntington, Texas

Hutchins, Texas

La Joya, Texas

Lake Jackson, Texas

Liberty Hill, Texas

Los Ebanos, Texas

Mcallen, Texas

New Braunfels, Texas

Pipe Creek, Texas

Plano, Texas

Salineno, Texas

Smithville, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 7, 2012, wall from Saginaw, MI wrote:

when I was a kid growing up we had one of these plants. we liked it. I really don't remember what happened to the plant but I do know I want to get one to grow in my own house. I can't find one anywhere at the stores here in Saginaw ,Michigan. does anyone know where I can get one.


On Aug 5, 2012, divenany from Lebanon, TN wrote:

I have had this plant indoors (Lebanon, TN) for years. A co-worker gave me a small piece years ago. It has reached almost 8 ft. in height. The main trunk continues to sprout new "arms" and I have to use ribbons, etc. to keep them from falling. The flowers come rarely, and I can barely see them without standing on a ladder. I vaccuum the "babies" on the leaves occasionally because they fall to the floor. As expected, because of the height, I have to keep it standing in the corner of the room. Good conversation piece. I wouldn't dare put it outdoors because I understand it can become out of control.


On Feb 3, 2012, adam1983tt from Eagle Lake, FL wrote:

A clipping of this plant was given to me by a neighbor about two years ago. I was attracted to its height, its bright red teardrop flowers and its unique ability to be "trained." I was able to make it grow into a spiral by replacing an adjustable table over it every couple of days. A very handsome plant. However, IT IS VERY INVASIVE!! In only a few days, it had spread hundreds, maybe thousands of tiny sprouts across my side yard, completely taking over the area. It took many hours, over a few weeks, of pulling each and every one of those sprouts up to clear the ground of the invasion. I still want to possibly grow one or two in a planter for a decorative accent on my porch, but I am so afraid of it spreading again. I am not positive of this, but I would assume because of its invasive natur... read more


On Jun 3, 2010, kargar from Grand Valley,
Canada wrote:

I live up in chilly Canada and this plant is grown indoors. I received a baby from a friend. She didn't know what it was called other than Mexican Hat Plant. I had no idea at all how it would grow, but, I found out the hard way to remove the baby "fringe" before they dropped onto the soil in the pot. When the plant was about 6 to 8 inches tall I noticed that small stems where starting to grow up and up and up and up, you get my drift. I didn't know what was happening until buds formed and flowers opened, what a nice surprise. This was last fall, the flowers lasted forever, and it was so tall I decided to cut it back to it's original 6" it seemed like new leaves were forming, but to my surprise stems started to sprout again and to cut it short I have flowers again withing 6 months of ... read more


On Apr 27, 2009, flowerehj from Saint Cloud, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This plant has voluntarily shown up in my yard and has completely taken over. Trying to remove it, especially the babies, is a nightmare. I did enjoy the blooms, but at this price it's not worth it. If you enjoy a garden/area with nothing but this one type of flower, it might work for you. I have never watered it or anything- it will grow in the hottest conditions, in cracks, even on top of concrete if there's even the slightest bit of soil blown on top of it. The babies don't just fall straight down- somehow this plant has managed to get plants started as much as 8 yards away. Imagine this cycle repeating for a couple of years! It will be nothing but (mother of) thousands! So if you have it and enjoy it make sure you keep removing the little babies from the leaves.


On Mar 11, 2009, krissy_p from Pipe Creek, TX wrote:

I have always heard this plant called "mother of millions" which I think is more appropriate. First of all yes it does spread like crazy, but that can be a good thing, I have it on a corner of my property that none of my hoses can reach. It thrives with no care at all even in the drought season. I live in zone 8b and it lives through the winter, in fact it just bloomed in February.


On Mar 9, 2009, auntm001 from Belleview, FL wrote:

This plant grows like a weed EVERYWHERE in my yard. Wherever those little "babies" fall off they grow. I thought it was really pretty when I saw it in my friends yard and she gave me some of the "babies" and told me just to throw them on the ground where I wanted them. Now I can't get rid of them and the house behind me and in front of me can't get rid of them either. I've grown to hate this plant.


On Aug 23, 2008, btc129psu from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Although a realy interesting looking plant (especialy in flower!) it can be quite invasive. Here in parts of Houston it grows quite readily in broken up paved surfaces and sidewalks. I have even seen it take over parts of yards, outcompeting the grass and weeds and surviving regular mowing.


On Feb 16, 2007, DaleTheGardener from Tampa, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

This plant grows without care in most of Florida. Mature plants bloom in winter and then expire (die), but always leave behind offspring. They grow in any soil, sun to shade and can grow up to blooming size in a year. I call them a parking lot plant because they are tolerant of the conditions that planting strips have in parking areas. I am sending a photo of this kind of area.


On Oct 26, 2006, growth_is_good from Liberty Hill, TX wrote:

I took a small rooted transplant from a family members yard in San Antonio. Planted in early 2006. Seeds produced thousands. A thick stalk to this variety, growing sturdy in partial sun and shade near herb garden. Liberty Hill, TX

Have about 50 babies now.