Kalanchoe delagoensis x daigremontiana “Pink Butterflies”

The entire name wouldn’t even fit in the post title: Kalanchoe delagoensis x daigremontiana ‘Pink Butterflies.’
How fitting that a hybrid with a parent commonly known as ‘Mother of Thousands’ would have a name involving syllables of thousands.
I’ve had this succulent packed amongst other pots on a tall plant stand, a snail-free zone, and thought its recent growth and coloring merited a more prominent place in the revolving summer containers display. The leaves look stitched together by hand, don’t they?


Many years ago I brought home one of the parents, Kalanchoe daigremontiana, from a nursery, delighted with its bizarre intricacies of leaf. I admit the nursery owner even warned me: “You do know its common name is Mother of Thousands, right?

So I get lots of extra plants. Win/win!


Um, no, lose/lose. The profligate K. daigremontiana propagated itself into every crevice, pot, micromillimeter of soil, each ruffly leaflet a potential plantlet, a busybody of a plant insinuating itself into everyone else’s affairs. The crowns of agaves were the worst, since weeding around these plants is not just onerous, but painful.

I ditched that K. daigremontiana in short order, though still deal with its descendants. But this new hybrid was so fabulous it was worth the risk of living in an understory of ‘Pink Butterflies.’

Yet the gods of hybridizing have smiled upon us with this bespoke, seemingly custom-made succulent. ‘Pink Butterflies’ has lost the ability to rain down its progeny on our gardens and will have to be propagated via cuttings. From Succulent Gardening; The Art of Nature:

“‘Pink Butterflies’ still produces copious quantities of tiny pink butterfly-like plantlets on its leaves but something in the mutation to a variegate form has taken away the ability for them to root. Sometimes a couple might take, but in general, no. It can still be propagated from cuttings just fine.”

So this hybrid seems to have thwarted the Go Forth And Multiply impulses of its parent plants. ‘Pink Butterflies’ is a variegated sport of a hybrid known as ‘Houghton’s Hybrid.’ I’ve been searching for information on the intriguing Mr. A.D. Houghton, but could find little online other than he lived and worked in San Fernando, California and was probably deceased by 1940. My Hortus III confirmed this date with a single entry: Arthur Duvernoix Houghton 1870-1938. His full name brought up a few more online entries, including a reference to his monograph on begonias and his book The Cactus Book, copy currently unavailable. Another title to watch out for at thrift shops and flea markets.


My plant comes from Terra Sol Garden Center in Santa Barbara, California.

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46 Responses to Kalanchoe delagoensis x daigremontiana “Pink Butterflies”

  1. Ok, I definitely need a cutting of that. Gorgeous! When then time is right of course. 🙂

  2. Pam/Digging says:

    Yes, you’ll have us all asking for cuttings! Pink Butterflies is a beauty! Like you, I tried mother of thousands but wimped out after the first season and I was pulling out oodles of seedlings. I still see a few popping up to this day.

  3. Kathy says:

    I bought MOM last fall at the Ruth Bancroft plant sale, but have kept her carefully segregated in a pot, and she spent all winter inside. I challenge her to propagate in the dust bunnies.

  4. Matti says:

    OMG, I just saw that you got yours from Terra Sol Sunshine…that is where we got ours too on our road trip down south to LA. Crazy. I love that plant of yours…looks gorgeous. Matti

  5. Denise says:

    Dustin & Pam, yes, cuttings all around!
    Kathy, this one should not be growing up through your floorboards. I miss RB’s garden!

  6. Kristie says:

    Hello. I recently bought a Pink Butterflies plant and I’m wondering if you know what the best care is? The leaves seem to be a bit droopy and I’m worried it’s not doing well. I have it inside by a window that receives only a touch of direct light. Most if the time the light is indirect. Also, when I got it last week, I left it outside under a chair but it did rain. Maybe too much water?? Thanks so much for your time.
    PS I live in Santa Barbara; to give you an idea of the weather.

  7. Denise says:

    Kristie, indoors in indirect light will be challenging conditions. And droopy leaves can definitely be caused by too much water! Outside in half-day sun, maybe shade from strong afternoon sun, would be ideal if you can manage it! And let it dry out between watering. These are tough plants, but they do need some sunshine.

  8. Kristie says:

    Thank you! It’s outside now!

  9. Well, I was mentally formulating a comment begging you for some of those little leaf plantlets until I read that they won’t root. Well, if you have any cuttings to spare after the previous requests I’d love to be added to the waiting list! Maybe I can go steal a cutting of that black lotus at Annie’s for you in exchange. 🙂

  10. Megan says:

    We picked up ‘Pink Ribbons’ at Terra Sol this winter, but none of the “Mother of 1000’s” I’ve ever planted outside seem to thrive, or freak out to the point they become obnoxious. I have to admit I’m a little jealous, I love their flowers. Had never even seen any until we took our trip down south. Maybe it’s a little too chilly up here for them? Kelly, we still have ours if you want a chunk! It’s in a pot inside getting all leggy and stuff.

  11. Denise says:

    Kelly, sounds like a deal. There’s no cutting material on mine yet, just the central stalk.
    Megan, that’s weird. The seedlings make a carpet here. Maybe they do want more heat.

  12. Janet Lee says:

    Just got my first plant and two old leaves dropped and are now looking as good as the plant. Don’t think you need cuttings, just leave a couple leaves on the dirt and they should grow.

  13. Katie says:

    Wow thanks for the advice. I bought this plant at Walmart on a whim and it’s almost a foot tall and getting top-heavy so I’ve tried to replant the little pink guys. Well obviously I now know this is pointless because they don’t grow 😛 thanks again and I will work on planting a cutting

  14. El Stevensen says:

    One of my “butterflies grew to 3 feet and the other 2 plants to 2′. The pretty pink petals droped off and the leaves as well; I was left with a beautiful pink crown at the top that lasted for a month. The crown now appears to be dead; but I see tiny new pink growth on the stems. Does anybody know if these plants regenerate; or once the crown is dead do I just let the plant go?

  15. KimP says:

    “Pink butterfly” type kalanchoe plants do very well in Texas! If you cut the crown off, the remaining plant will start branching at the top. You can remove a few of the lower leaves off the crown, dip the cut into rooting powder and plant it – it should grow. And yes, most of the leaves I have tried planting do very well. These are great plants for those involved in gardening clubs – especially if you do trades with other gardeners, because (at least for us) they do make lots of babies very easily.

  16. Giuseppe says:

    I am very interested for an exchange! I am for the research of K. ‘Pink Butterflies’ !!!! it’s wonderfull !!

  17. Betty Andersen says:

    Is the PINK BUTTERFLIES, plant cat friendly, in other words
    safe around pets.?

  18. Kremer says:

    It is possible to buy this plant for Germany?
    Thank you for yor kind answer

  19. Jeon Sunny says:

    What a Beautiful ‘Pink butterfly’ ~!
    I have a similar one, Kalanchoe daigremontiana, I love it ^^

    Please visit my website below:

    Can i use your photo ‘Pink butterfly’ on my web.
    It’s to explain some Kalanchoe daigremontiana plants.
    Please just leave message om my web(http://blog.naver.com/dayugee/90179849481) if you don’t want it.
    I will be happy if you allow me to use your photos.

    Have a nice day

  20. Evita says:

    I have 3 Pink Butterflies I bought a year ago at Descanso Gardens CA. These are outdoor plants in sun and rain? My plants have beautiful Butterflies all summer long and still look good. But the plants have grown very tall over 4 feet. My question, can I cut the plants down without damaging the plant?
    Thank you

  21. ANNE SWEENEY says:


  22. Jan says:

    Does anyone know where I can find one of these plants?

  23. Evdokia Vasiliadou says:

    Can we find this perfect plant in Europe???

  24. sharon f. says:

    this are for sale on etsy!

  25. Frans says:

    1: they are for sale on ebay in europe regularly(just bought one)

    2: they do regenerate from plantlets, but only the green ones when they have good growing conditions

  26. mia k. says:

    Lovely. would love to trade your pink butterflies for my philodendron pink princess 6 inch cutting or plumeria intense rainbow 8 inch cutting. email me if you’re interested. thanks

  27. Élbia says:

    Does anyone know a website that can send seeds to Brazil?

  28. Denise says:

    Elbia, unfortunately I don’t believe the pink form will not come true from seeds. I no longer grow this plant. It is successfully propagated from stem cuttings — here’s the last post: http://agrowingobsession.com/?p=36266

  29. Naomi Crossnoe says:

    Beautiful! Great job on research and maybe a drawing for cuttings!

  30. Denise says:

    that’s a brilliant idea, Naomi!

  31. Kristin mena says:

    I have a very similar plant growing in my garden and I’ve seen it growing wild in the brush areas along with cactus. But I’m in South Texas ( near mexico). It’s a dull green with grayish flowers. Not very pretty. Wish it was colorful like that one

  32. Karan K says:

    Kim P. I know this is 4 years later, but thank you for the directions for managing the plant. Hopefully Evita read your post.

  33. Lupe says:

    I just got mine at Orchard Supply in Capitola, Ca.

  34. Sho Rowe says:

    Been looking for this pink butterfly for long time,never seen them at local nursery, would it be possible for you to sell me few babies..please please.

  35. debra says:

    Well, I swept the baby seedlings of the porch of my sister in law in Eldorado Arkansas. I put them in an envelope and bought them to Michigan. I never knew the name until now. My plant is all green. I put the seedlings in a pot and spritz with with water.

  36. Mona senter says:

    If anyone has any extra pink butterfly, I would love a start! I lost my baby girl in. 2014 and she loved butterflies. Thank you so much.

  37. Patricia Simonis says:

    No where did I see you address whether one can cut off tops as they are getting top heavy.

    If so what happens?

    My leaves are also droopy since I brought it home.

    and only gets filtered sun.

    I also learned that I must transfer to a pot twice it size? I s this correct

    Thank you.

  38. Ron Pitelka says:

    I was able to find a ‘Pink Butterfly Kalanchoe’ here in Thailand; however, the plantlets are not as vivid pink as the photos posted here. Does anyone have a suggestion as to how to increase the color? I was told that lots of sun would help; however, I haven’t noticed much of a change. Thanks

  39. Ron Pitelka says:

    How can I communicate with some of the people that have posted messages on this site?

  40. Marie says:

    I have one that’s growing so tall at about a yard stick or taller. Does it get any more taller than it is now?

  41. Denise says:

    Marie, I found these stats: 24-36 inches tall and spreads to about 12 inches wide, from a local nursery in Pasadena, The Cactus Center (http://www.cactuscenter.com/kalanchoe-delagoensis-x-daigremontiana-aka-pink-butterflies/)

  42. Maria Sanchez says:

    I keep hearing about the mother of thousands well i have one n drops the babies but i never get any plants as u say they spred am i doing something wrong?

  43. Maria Sanchez says:

    I keep hearing about the mother of thousands well i have one n drops the babies but i never get any plants as u say they spred am i doing something wrong?sorry don’t remember the answer

  44. Sandra says:

    Hi…… I love in RHODE ISLAND and my mother of thousands is inside and the babies drop all over the place and they grow like CRAZY …… do you know where I could buy this pink one…… it would look great in my collection!!!!!!!!

  45. Bonnie says:

    A friend of mine gave me seeds off her plant,so I planted them and the plants are hip night to me there about 10 years old are making new baby’s ! I love plants! Love this one to. The top of one broke, I put it in the garden and now it another plant of its own!

  46. Lawrence says:

    Jean Sunny- The top 10 photos are actually a hybrid (Kalanchoe daigremontiana x K. crenate, possibly), known as Kalanchoe laetivirens. The middle two pictures are K. daigremontiana, and the pictures below that are the K. delagoensis x K. daigremontiana ‘Houghtonii’ (Pink Butterflies).

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