Chocolate Soldier Plant: Growing A Chocolate Soldier Kalanchoe

Chocolate Soldier Kalanchoe Succulent Plants
chocolate soldier
(Image credit: Joe Mabel)

Chocolate soldier succulents, a variety of Kalanchoe, are elegant and often perfect, fuzzy leafed plants that most everyone tries to grow at some point during their succulent experience. If you’re not familiar with them by this name, you may be asking what is a chocolate soldier plant? You may know them by other common names, such as panda plant, white lady, velvet leaf kalanchoe, or plush plant, among several others.

The botanical name by which you can truly identify this plant is Kalanchoe tomentosa 'Chocolate Soldier.' The plant grows in a loose rosette with mostly oval shaped leaves. These are an attractive pale to medium green, edged in brown stitching, hence the name of chocolate soldier. The paleness varies with lighting, as do the color of the stitches (borders) on the leaves.

How to Grow Chocolate Soldier Succulents

Growing a chocolate soldier is simple once you’ve learned the conditions it prefers and how to water the specimen. Begin by planting the chocolate soldier plant in a well-draining, sandy or gritty succulent soil, amended with pumice, perlite, or coir.

Locate the plant in morning sun, partial or filtered is preferable. The chocolate soldier kalanchoe does not need as much sun as many other succulent plants. If the plant has been inside, acclimate it gradually to outdoor sun. If you wish to keep it inside, the chocolate soldier kalanchoe is adaptable to a bright light or artificial light situation.

Hairs growing on the leaves of this fuzzy specimen limit transpiration. As with other succulent plants, the leaves store water on which the plant can exist for months, especially in winter. Limit watering of the chocolate soldier in all seasons, but especially in winter when it is likely dormant. When you water the plant, water thoroughly, not allowing it to sit in a saucer of water afterward. Do not water again until the plant shows a need, such as leaves that are no longer firm to a gentle squeeze. Firmness of leaves on a succulent plant indicates they are filled with water.

Grow this plant indoors as a houseplant, outside in the ground, when possible, or in an outdoor container. You’ll be glad to own this elegant specimen.

Becca Badgett

Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.