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Products > Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri
Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri - Donkey Ears

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  
Image of Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Crassulaceae (Stonecrops)
Origin: Madagascar
Evergreen: Yes
Red/Purple Foliage: Yes
Flower Color: Salmon
Bloomtime: Fall/Winter
Synonyms: [K. adolph-engleri, Bryophyllum gastonis-bonnieri]
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 30-32° F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri (Donkey Ears) – A fast growing succulent perennial or biennial from rocky areas of northwestern Madagascar that grows to 12 to 18 inches tall and wide with ovate-lanceolate leaves that can be enormous, from 12 to 20 inches long. The leaves are bronze-green covered with a waxy white covering to look overall gray-green and splotched with maroon-brown blotches – these leaves often have small plantlets developing along the leaf margin. The terminal inflorescence begins to rise in fall to grow to a 2 to 3 foot tall stalk that branches near the top with several clusters of pale peach-colored buds that darken and become the calyces holding the darker reddish-salmon petals with flared tips and yellow interior. The whole flowering process lasts nearly 2 months at which point the “mother plant” declines but the many plantlets on the leaves develop rapidly to bloom within 2 to 3 years. Great in a hanging baskets or as a specimen or mass planted in a dry garden. Plant in full sun to partial shade. We had a potted plant experience 33F without any damage but have not seen this plant's response to temperatures below freezing. Many list it as growing in zone 10 and 11 so people attempting to grow it in cooler climates may want to protect it from frost. Other common names for this plant include Giant Kalanchoe, Good Luck Leaf, Leaf of Life, Life Plant, Miracle Leaf, Palm Beachbells, Sprout Leaf Plant, Sprouting Leaf, Tree of Life. The name Kalanchoe is somewhat of a mystery - there is some thought that it comes from a phonetic transcription of the Chinese words 'Kalan Chauhuy' meaning "that which falls and grows", likely in reference to the plantlets that drop from many of the species but others believe it from the ancient Indian words 'kalanka' meaning "spot" or "rust" and 'chaya' meaning "glossy" in reference to the reddish glossy leaves of the Indian species K. laciniata. The specific epithet "gastonis-bonnieri" honors French botanist Dr. Gaston Bonnier (1853-1922). In a recent treatment of Crassulaceae by Dr. Bernard Descoings in “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants:Crassulaceae” (Eggli, Urs (Ed.), Springer 2003 Descoings notes that “There is no doubt that it [Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri] belongs to Sect. Bryophyllum, but some authors continue its erroneous placement in Sect. Kalanchoe”. The first time we saw this plant was as a flowering specimen table centerpiece at a New Year's Eve celebration. All in attendance were wowed by the plant and given plantlets off of the leaves. This plant had been grown off plantlets from a plant found growing at a Motel in Oaxaca, Mexico and had been growing well for many years in the Santa Barbara garden where the party was held. We grew this plant from 2009-10 and are rebuilding stock on it.  The information presented on this page is based on research that we have conducted about this plant in our library and from reliable online sources. We also consider observations we have made of it growing in the nursery's garden and in other gardens we have visited, as well how it performs in our nursery crops out in the field. We will incorporate comments that we receive from others as well and welcome getting feedback from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if they have knowledge of cultural information that would aid others in growing Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri.