Bryophyllum delagoense, Chandelier Plant, is a tall-growing Madacasgan succulent with an unusual architectural form. It has long tubular leaves that are mottled in an attractive camouflage-like pattern and carry tiny plantlets arranged in a fan-shape at the end of each leaf. Each of these plantlets can grow into a new plant. It has spectacular orange flowers although it does not bloom reliably as so much of its energy is focused on vegetative reproduction. When it does flower it is monocarpic and the plant dies back although as with many monocarpic succulents it will usually send up new offsets from the roots. However because of its prolific ability to create new plantlets this is a plant that you will never be in short supply of.
In tropical countries this reproductive capacity has made it an unwanted weed but in UK conditions it is cut back by the frost and needs to be brought indoors for the winter. This is one of those situations where our cold weather is actually helpful, killing off any unwanted plantlets that have fallen off and taken root. Nontheless care should be taken not to introduce Bryophyllum delagoense outside of the confines of the garden into the British environment particularly in warm coastal areas in the Southwest. In such a moderate ecosystem it could potentially survive the winter and spread. As it is also toxic to livestock care should be always be taken to grow it responsibly.
Grown sensibly, its strange unearthly presence in a xeric garden during the summer months is a great talking point and always attracts attention. It makes an ideal planting combination with the South African desert plants, in particular: Aloe striatula, Aloe aristata, Crassula sarcocaulis and Delosperma nubigenum. Brought inside and kept dry over winter it makes a great plant for the conservatory where it looks good in a large terracotta planter.
|Synonyms||Bryophyllum tubiflorum, Bryophyllum verticillatum, Kalanchoe delagoensis, Kalanchoe tuberosa, Kalanchoe tubiflora, Kalanchoe verticillata|
|Cultivation||Full sun. It will also do well in shade. Good drainage, Gravelly, sandy soil|
|Hardiness||Tender. It will take a degree or two of frost but should be brought indoors for the winter|
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