The Mother of Millions and Mother of Thousands — a thousand differences, a million similarities. Or vice versa?
Both succulents hail from the same family and genus and feature attractive foliage. Because of their similar name and origins, they are often confused with each other. We’ll show you how to distinguish between the two!
#1: MoM Leaves are Broader and Wider than MoT
The major difference between Mother of Millions and Mother of Thousands is in their leaves.
Mother of Thousands has broader and wider leaves than Mother of Millions. Additionally, Mother of Thousand’s leaves are tear-shaped, while Mother of Millions’ are thin, resembling the shape of a boat.
MoT’s foliage has an alternating pattern of leaves growing in pairs. This helps them receive maximum sunlight. On the other hand, MoM’s leaves grow from a single node on the stem. You can find up to six leaves on each stem.
#2: MoM plantlets grow at tips of the leaves while MoT plantlets grow all along leaves’ edges
The next difference is in the position of plantlets. Mother of Thousands has plantlets growing all along its edges, while Mother of Millions has plantlets growing only at the tips of its leaves. Look closely, and you’ll see it! The presence of plantlets at the ends also gives MoM the name ‘Chandelier Plant’.
#3: Appearance of Flowers and when they bloom
Mother of Thousands grows beautiful pink and pink-grey flowers mainly in the spring season. These occur in bunches, creating a statement of their own.
Mother of Millions grows orange-red flowers that appear at the top of one of its stems. They have sleek, elongated shapes and face downwards. Flowers grow on Mother of Millions only during the winter season.
Both MoM and MoT do not flower frequently. But when they do in their respective seasons, the blossoms are stunning.
#4: Mother of Thousands cannot Propagate through Seeds
Mother of Thousands does not have seeds, so it cannot propagate through them. Instead, MoT naturally propagates through its plantlets.
A young MoT has minute bulbils along its leaves’ edges. These later grow into plantlets (baby plants). When these shed off and fall to the ground, they rapidly develop into new plants.
On the other hand, Mother of Millions propagates through both seeds and plantlets. Natural propagation through plantlets occurs in the same way as Mother of Thousands.
#1: They both have plantlets and both are considered invasive
Mother of Thousands and Mother of Millions both have beautiful, unusual appearances. You can find tiny plantlets (small plants) growing all along the leaves’ edges of MoT, while MoM has plantlets on the tips of leaves.
The presence of plantlets is also where the two plants get their names. Plantlets are actual mini versions of the plants; they grow and photosynthesize even while attached! As soon as these plantlets shed and touch the ground, they can grow into new plants. They are rapid growers, making them difficult to get rid of.
They are often called ‘invasive species’ because they grow easily and rapidly, and tend to crowd out neighbouring plants.
#2: They have the Same Origins
Mother of Millions and Mother of Thousands also have the same origins, family, and genus.
Both plants originate from Madagascar and belong to the Stonecrops family (the Crassulaceae family).
The scientific name for MoM is Kalanchoe Delagoensis, while MoT is Kalanchoe Daigremontiana.
MoM is also called by the names Christmas Bells and Chandelier’s Plant. On the other hand, MoT is also known as Mexican Hat Plant and Alligator Plant.
#3: They need Similar Care
Having the same origins means that Mother of Thousands and Mother of Millions thrive in similar conditions. They are both overwhelmingly low-maintenance.
Water, Light and Temperature Requirements
Both MoM and MoT do not require frequent watering. This is because they are both succulent plants and have the ability to store water within their stems and leaves.
Your Kalanchoes will appreciate 8 to 10 hours of direct sunlight every day. Place them on a windowsill that enjoys bright light and make sure no curtain or object is obstructing them from direct light. Filtered light can cause the plant to weaken.
Both plants tolerate almost any climate. The best temperature range that MoM and MoT thrive in are between 60 °F and 85 °F (15 °C and 30 °C). They do well in spells of heat but may begin to wilt if temperatures drop too low (especially around the freezing point).
Soil and Toxicity
Considering soil types, Mother of Millions and Mother of Thousands do well in a loose, well-draining, and sandy potting mix. However, they can grow in almost any type of soil. In fact, these plants can grow in infertile areas where other plants can’t thrive.
Before you bring these easy succulents into your house or garden, bear in mind that both are toxic to animals and humans when ingested. This is due to the presence of bufadienolides which causes heart failure.
All plant parts are poisonous, with toxins concentrated especially in their flowers. If you keep pets or have children around, keep the plants in areas that they cannot access.
Frequently Asked Questions
How big does a Mother of Millions get?
Typically, Mother of Millions grows between 20 and 28 inches (50 cm and 71 cm) tall. However, under optimal conditions, it is known to grow as tall as 3 feet (91 cm). Its leaves grow between 2 and 5 inches (5 cm and 12 cm).
How long do Kalanchoe plants live?
Left to their own devices, Kalanchoe plants live for up to 6 years.
Why do Kalanchoe leaves curl?
Kalanchoe leaves can curl for a number of reasons, including underwatering and overwatering. To fix this problem, monitor the soil’s moisture levels and be sure to water the plant when it needs a drink. If water isn’t the problem, you may be providing too much direct sunlight or low humidity levels.
Too much fertiliser can also cause curling leaves in Kalanchoes.
How fast do Mother of Millions and Mother of Thousands grow?
Mother of Millions can grow into a mature plant in under a year, while Mother of Thousands can take 2 to 5 years to fully mature.
If you wish to control the growth of MoM and MoT to prevent them from overtaking your garden, you can spray them with herbicides. This helps slow down their rapid growth at any time of the year.
It is also helpful to remember that under the Biosecurity Act of 2014, Mother of Millions was classified as a category three restricted invasive plant in Australia. This is because it proliferates and prevents native revegetation. It must not be sold or given away in Victoria, Queensland, and other areas. Even releasing it into the environment is considered illegal.
Can Mother of Millions grow outdoors?
Yes, Mother of Millions thrives outdoors. This is because it requires a good 10 hours of direct sunlight daily. If you are keeping your plant indoors, ensure it receives enough direct sunlight by placing it right next to a South-facing window.
Varieties and Similar plants
Kalanchoe ‘Pink Butterflies’
Kalanchoe Pink Butterflies is a hybrid between Kalanchoe Daigremontiana (MoT) and Kalanchoe Delagoensis (MoM). Like the Mother of Millions, its leaves are thin and boat-shaped, but like the Mother of Thousands, its plantlets run along the entire edges of its leaves. The Kalanchoe Pink Butterflies’ plantlets are pink as they lack chlorophyll – this means that unlike MoT and MoM, the Pink Butterfly cannot propagate through its plantlets.
Also belonging to the family of Crassulaceae, this plant is also known as ‘Palm Beachbells’ and ‘Donkey Ears’. It features bronze-green leaves with a white top layer. The plantlets develop along the leaf margin, and the plant is generally low-maintenance.
Another species of Kalanchoes, Kalanchoe laetiverens, is a very unusual succulent. The edges of its blue-green leaves are lined with plantlets, giving it a dainty appearance. This plant is also native to Madagascar and is similarly easy to care for.
Other Dry-weather Plants
Most houseplants like Monsteras and Philodendrons love high humidity. Others, like Lavender prefer low levels of humidity.
If you’re on a succulent kick, other succulent-like plants (but not TRUE succulents) that we love are the Hoya Curtisii and the Hoya Linearis. If you prefer a variegated Hoya with a splash of color, try the Hoya Krimson Queen. We also like the oval leaves of the Peperomia Hope!
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.