Both the mother of millions and the mother of thousands are varieties of Kalanchoe. Kalanchoe plants are generally succulents with fleshy leaves and prodigious blooms compared to the rest of the succulents and cacti.
These two plants in particular are confused by numerous people because they are so different. However when you compare the mother of millions vs mother of thousands, there are a few key differences.
Mother of Thousands (Kalanchoe Daigremontiana)
The mother of thousands plant is also known as the alligator plant and the Mexican hat plant. This plant grows plantlets, which are small new starter plants, along the edges of their tear shaped leaves. The leaves grow in pairs going up the stem and the stems grow up to 36” long.
Plantlets from the mother of thousands are so invasive that some gardeners consider this plant a weed. Since each leaf produces so many plantlets, and the plant was designed to grow in such poor conditions, thousands of plants will grow from just one of them.
The mother of thousands plant will grow in incredibly poor conditions. It does not need fertilizer and the soil only needs to have proper drainage. While it grows best in bright, indirect sunlight, the mother of thousands can grow pretty much anywhere.
Mother of Millions (Kalanchoe Delagoensis)
The mother of millions plant is also known as the devil’s backbone or the chandelier plant. This plant grows plantlets from the ends of its fleshy leaves. The leaves radiate in groups from a single node on the stem.
Similar to the mother of thousands, the mother of millions was adapted to survive incredibly poor conditions. Because of this, and the number of plantlets produced by a single leaf, this is also considered an invasive weed by many gardeners.
The mother of millions prefers sunny areas with drier soil and little fertilizer. As long as the mother of millions does not get too wet, it can survive.
Similarities Between the Mother of Thousands vs Mother of Millions
Both the mother of thousands and the mother of millions come from Madagascar originally. Their origins as tropical succulents means that they are more flexible on sunlight than most. They will tolerate partial sun to full sun and can tolerate short period of direct sunlight as well as indirect sunlight.
Each of the two plant varieties will also tolerate a mild frost for a short period of time. Though they will both prefer warmer temperatures. Both the mother of thousands and mother of millions will appreciate a rocky, well-drained soil to keep them from staying too wet for too long.
Each of the plants grows a prolific amount of plantlets on the edges of their leaves. The plant propagates when these plantlets fall on soil around the mother plant and take root. Since the plants are adapted to poor soil, the plantlets take root readily and reproduce rapidly.
Like most kalanchoe varieties, the mother of millions and the mother of thousands will flower quite well. Of course, when they are kept as indoor plants it is more difficult to get them to produce blooms. But when they do, the flowers are red or orange and they develop from a central, hanging flower stalk.
Both the mother of millions and the mother of thousands are toxic to animals that eat it. They should be left out of reach of any children or pets in the household. If they are eaten, both kalanchoe varieties will produce mild to moderate gastrointestinal distress in the form of vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea.
Both plants are susceptible to being overwatered and to mealybugs. Keep an eye out for overwatering by looking for mushy parts of the plant and prevent it by watering the soil and not getting the leaves wet. Look for mealybugs by watching for white specks in the bottom, center of the plant.
Differences Between Mother of Millions vs Mother of Thousands
There are really only a couple of key differences between the mother of millions vs mother of thousands. However, you should be able to spot the differences if you look at a mature plant for just a few minutes.
Plantlets grow in large quantities on the edges of leaves on both plants. On the mother of thousands plant, the plantlets are located along the entire edge of each leaf. This gives each leaf a rough appearance along the edge.
In the mother of millions plant, the plantlets are only at the tips of the leaf. This means that each leaf is smooth at the base and rough at the tip.
Leaf Growth Habits
Leaves on the mother of thousands plant tend to grow in pairs up the stem of the plant as a whole. In difference, the leaves on a mother of millions plant tend to look more like aloe where they radiate up the central stem.
While these two plants have significant similarities, there are a few differences that will be easy to identify if you take a look at them. Because of their adaptations, both can be considered an invasive weed by some.
However, they are also both simple to grow for the beginning gardener. Their fun propagation style and their occasional blooms make them well worth the effort to grow them.