The alligator plant deserves a place in a plant zoo on the basis of its name alone but another name, mother of thousands, gives a better idea of the uniqueness and desirableness of this plant. The thick, green, 8″ long leaves of this succulent have small spoon-shaped structures on the margins that produce small plantlets. These plantlets form roots, drop from the leaves, and grow into new plants! The main attraction of the plant are the leaves with its myriad of plantlets but occasionally clusters of grayish pink to orange, tubular flowers may appear. Native to Madagascar, this short-lived perennial is also known as devil’s backbone and Mexican hat plant. It is heat and drought tolerant and very easy to grow but is frost sensitive and must be grown as a houseplant in most of the US. Bright light and a deep watering about every 2 weeks is all it needs to be happy but it can be put in the garden during the summer. It is poisonous to humans and pets. Photo Credit Wikimedia Commons

Type: Short lived succulent perennial

Height: 3’3″

Bloom Color: Grayish pink to orange

Bloom Time: Periodically, but rarely

Light: Indirect bright light to partial shade

Soil: Gritty, sandy, very well drained such as commercial cactus mix

Hardiness: Zones 9-11

Photo Credit Wikispecies

By Karen