mother of many thousands invasive

Is the Mother of Many Thousands Invasive?

I’m going to guess that you might have stumbled on this article while searching for mother of many thousands plant care. I’m here to stop you from making a huge mistake. For the love of all that is holy, DO NOT PLANT A MOTHER OF THOUSANDS PLANT.

I’m not kidding.

The mother of many thousands goes by a ton of different names: the Mexican hat plant, the devil’s backbone, the mother of many, and the alligator plant. The scientific name is Kalenchoe daigremontiana. Whatever you want to call it, it’s all means the same: trouble.

Is the mother of many thousands invasive?

Like you, I started off with the best of intentions. I love succulents and thought that a mother of thousands plant would be a cool addition to my collection. I liked how it reproduces itself into tiny little plants along the edges of its leaves. Cute. I found one at a local plant show and brought it home. I never thought to ask myself if the mother of many thousands is invasive or not. Big mistake.

At first, everything was good. I live in zone 9B, so I keep my succulents outside in containers. My mother of thousands seemed happy, and so was I. After a few months, it started popping up little copies of itself on the edges of its leaves. What a healthy little friend I’ve got here. Yay!

mother of many thousands care
Photo Credit: Longk48

I had an idea. I potted up one of my self-propagated mother of thousands and gave it to my mom for Mother’s Day. Clever, huh? She liked it and kept hers outside in a container, too.

After a few months, I started to find tiny mother of thousands plants here and there in my flower beds. I’d let some grow and I’d pull some up. No big deal. I’m used to plants propagating themselves and I’m usually stoked when it happens.

As time went on, I’d find more and more mother of thousands babies in places I didn’t want them. They’d hide under fallen leaves, self-root in the river rock I had in my cacti garden, find their way into containers of vegetable plants…it was getting annoying. Everywhere I turned, BAM – a new mother of thousands baby. If I didn’t get to them quick enough, those babies would make their own babies. It was a never-ending cycle.

My mom was having some health issues, so I went over to help her weed her flower bed one day. What I found horrified me. I thought I had a mother of thousands problem. Nope, not like hers. They were everywhere, including in the cracks of her sidewalk. It’d been a while since she could get out there to tidy things up and they completely took over. I pulled as much as I could, and eventually poured boiling water over the rest when I ran out of patience.

is mother of thousands invasive
Photo Credit: Marian Garcia

There’s totally a reason why these plants are called the mother of many thousands. I no longer purposefully keep them…but years later, I still find babies every time I weed my garden. I think I’ll have them until the end of time.

So, give it a real long think before you bring a mother of thousands into your collection. If you do, take my advice – keep it indoors.

First photo credit: Kata Tolgyesi

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