Why Is My Paddle Plant Growing Sideways?

Updated: Dec. 13, 2022

Interested in adding paddle plant to your houseplant collection? Learn how to grow this succulent, including why it sometimes grows sideways.

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Ask the Experts: Paddle Plant Problems

14 Jennyfriedle2 Bbdj23Courtesy Jenny Friedle
This reader’s succulent is trailing onto the floor.

My paddle plant is doing well, but it grows sideways. How can I fix it?  —Birds & Blooms reader Jenny Friedle

Garden expert Melinda Myers says, “Paddle plants, also known as flapjacks, start as compact, low-growing plants but eventually produce long stems. The plant will stand tall in bright, sunny outdoor locations and trail in lower-light conditions such as yours. Enjoy the plant as-is, start a new cutting or trim it back. (Here’s how to tell if your plants need more sun).

To give it a trim, cut the stem to the point where smaller plants or offsets appear near the soil surface. You may also notice some offsets forming along the stem. Start new plants from individual leaves or offsets removed from the stem or from a leaf-stem cutting.”

Learn how to grow another popular succulent: zebra plant.

Paddle Plant Care

You might recognize this drought-tolerant plant by a few of its other names; flapjack succulent, desert cabbage or dog tongue, or its proper name, kalanchoe spp. The name ties to the plant’s leaves. If you look hard enough, they really do look like pancakes in a pile!

Paddle plant grows best in full sun and in well-draining soil. It’s a great choice for containers and requires little care. Gardeners in warmer climates may keep the plant outdoors all year long. In colder zones you can move it outdoors in summer. When temperatures dip below freezing gardeners will need to either bring it inside during the winter, or grow it as a houseplant. Paddle plant requires little water (especially in winter) and should not be fertilized if being overwintered as a houseplant.

Here’s how to care for kalanchoe, indoors or outdoors.

Where to Buy a Paddle Plant

Screen Shot 2022 12 13 At 1.34.22 Pm, paddle plantVia Merchant

If you’d like to add paddle plant to your garden or your houseplant collection, check your local garden center. You can find it at a variety of online retailers, including Etsy.

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