Succulents typically have thick, fleshy leaves, but they can also be fuzzy! And that’s just what the Chocolate Soldier has to offer: dark, fuzzy, spotted leaves that feel similar to velvet. The hairs on the Chocolate Soldier’s leaves prevent too much water from escaping, allowing the succulent to survive for long periods with minimal water. Even though the Chocolate Soldier is a succulent, it is best kept indoors rather than outside. Its leaves may be beautiful, but they are easily burned by direct exposure to the sun. But such a unique plant like the Chocolate Soldier deserves to be in your home anyway!
6 hours of bright, indirect sunlight per day. Direct sunlight may give it a slight sunburn, but it won’t dramatically harm these resilient desert plants.
Low water needs. Allow the soil to dry out thoroughly between waterings, especially in the winter months when the plant is dormant. Chocolate soldier plants may require more frequent watering in the hot summer months.
65° – 75°F
When you hear the name, Chocolate Soldier, you might think of a delicious treat in the shape of a soldier. Although that candy sounds tasty, the Chocolate Soldier is the name of a succulent plant that is a treat to have inside any home.
Succulents are known for being hardy plants that are easy to care for. The Chocolate Soldier plant is perfect for first-time plant parents or gardeners looking to expand their plant collection.
If you want to add a touch of nature to your home, or you want to start collecting succulents, the Chocolate Soldier is a must-have! Read on to learn more about this gorgeous succulent, care tips, and more!
What is a Chocolate Soldier Plant?
The Chocolate Soldier plant is a cultivar of the Kalanchoe Tomentosa succulent shrub. The Kalanchoe Tomentosa Chocolate Soldier plant is native to the African island of Madagascar. It is a flowering tropical succulent that belongs to the Kalanchoe genus, a member of the Crassulaceae family.
The Chocolate Soldier plant is just one of the many nicknames this plant has. It can be found in most plant stores online or in-person under one of the following names.
- Panda Plant
- Panda-Bear Plant
- Teddy Bear Cactus
- Velvet Leaf Kalanchoe
- Cocoon Plant
Whatever you decide to call it, this plant is a pleasant sight for the eyes. A loose rosette of light green colored leaves grows at the top end of a woody stem. The leaves are oval-shaped and covered with dense little white hairs called trichomes, which help this succulent retain water and reflect light in its dry natural habitat.
Chocolate Soldiers have chocolate brown tips on their leaves which give them a distinctive appearance. Although it rarely blooms as a houseplant, the Panda Plant can produce a tiny bell-shaped yellowish-green flower with dark brown edges.
Plant Care Tips
- Plant Size: The Chocolate Soldier plant is a small-sized plant that can grow up to two and a half feet tall and two feet wide. Each light green leaf ranges in one to three inches long. Due to its size, this succulent should be kept in a five-inch pot for proper space to encourage growth.
- Light: The Panda Plant does best when it is receiving bright indirect light from the sun. They can also handle sunlight but should be kept exposed for a prolonged amount of time. These plants can sustain leaf burn if kept too long in direct sunlight.
- How Often to Water: It is best to allow the soil to dry completely before giving Chocolate Soldier plants more fresh water. On average, this plant can be watered either weekly or biweekly but can handle a little water neglect if you accidentally forget to water it. Too much water can cause this plant to develop root rot, a fungal infection that can kill your plant if it is not addressed quickly.
- Safe Temperatures to Thrive In: The best temperature conditions for this plant are between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range coincides with the average room temperature in most homes. This plant does not require too much humidity and is fine with the humidity levels in most homes.
Why Choose a Chocolate Soldier Plant for Your Home?
Plants are more than just botanical ornaments used to decorate the interior of a home. They provide a long list of effects that benefit people.
Here are some of the beneficial effects Chocolate Soldier plants can provide you and your family.
Promotes Feeling of Self-Achievement
The feeling of achievement is one of the best feelings a person can experience. As the owner of the Panda Plant, you will feel accomplished seeing your succulent remain healthy and full of life.
Being able to care for something can also boost your confidence. Since Chocolate Soldier plant maintenance is easy, you can teach your children to care for this plant. Kids will feel accomplished knowing they are participating in the care of this plant.
Improve Air Quality
When preparing to send astronauts into space, scientists thought about improving the air quality inside a space station. The Kalanchoe Tomentosa Chocolate Soldier was one of the plants Russian Scientists sent to space to help keep air quality clean.
Air quality indoors is worse than outside. According to the U.S. Environment Protection Agency, exposure to indoor pollutants can cause unwanted side effects such as headaches and dizziness. Chocolate Soldier plants increase the humidity and absorb airborne pollutants inside homes.
Parents working from home can get work done, but with kids also at home, there could be plenty of distractions. Research has shown that being surrounded by plants can improve concentration and increase productivity.
Placing some Chocolate Soldier plants around your home can also help your kids focus on completing school assignments. You can keep these succulents at work to help you stay concentrated on work tasks.
Are Chocolate Soldier Plants Good Indoors & Outdoors?
Chocolate Soldier plants can be kept indoors, but with the proper maintenance can also be kept outside. The same care requirements used to keep this succulent as a houseplant can be applied when grown outdoors.
Whether you decide to keep it outside or indoors, keep this plant in a pot with drainage holes to prevent water from staying trapped in the soil. The water requirements for keeping this plant outside are the same as the water needs it requires indoors. You should keep your Chocolate Soldier from being overwatered if you reside in an area that experiences plenty of rainfall.
This plant enjoys bright light but you should keep it in a shaded area to avoid sun damage. One of the best ways to ensure your Chocolate Soldier plant thrives indoors and outdoors is by feeding it fertilizer during spring and summer.
If you keep your Panda Plant outside during colder weather where temperatures in some regions drop below 50 degrees, it can sustain frost damage. To avoid damaging the plant further, move it indoors overnight or throughout the winter. If you live somewhere dry and warm all year, you can keep your Chocolate Soldier outside.
Are Chocolate Soldier Plants Pet and Children Friendly?
Although the Kalanchoe Tomentosa Chocolate Soldier plant has a tasty-sounding name, it is toxic for pets and people. Any part of the plant is considered harmful if ingested.
The Panda Plant contains a chemical called bufadienolide cardiac glycosides which can cause unwanted side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea and may even affect heartbeat. In homes with pets and small children, it is best to place this plant somewhere paws and child-sized hands cannot reach it.
If you suspect that your child accidentally ingested part of the Panda Plant, contact the Poison Control Center hotline at (800) 222-1222 or visit your local hospital. If your dog or cat ate part of this plant and is displaying symptoms, contact the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435, or visit the closest animal hospital for further assistance.
Chocolate Soldier Plant Family Relatives
As a member of the Crassulaceae family, the Kalanchoe Tomemtosa Chocolate Soldier plant has many relatives with similar care requirements. Succulents are popular for being resilient plants with unique appearances.
Here are other succulents from the same family that you can include in your home.
- Paddle Plant (Kalanchoe thyrsiflora): This succulent is an award-winning plant that belongs to the Kalanchoe genus like the Panda Plant. It has evergreen leaves with wine-colored tips. The leaves grow in a rosette pattern and are about the same size as the Panda Plant.
- Jade Plant (Crassula ovata): The jade green-colored leaves of the Jade Plants have a smooth and shiny appearance. The flowers that bloom from the Jade Plant are star-shaped in shades of pink or white. Some people use this plant for practicing bonsai, and regard it as good fortune.
- Echeveria: Even though Echeveria succulents are slightly smaller than the Chocolate Soldier plant, they are just as hardy. The leaves on this plant are thick and also grow in a rosette pattern.
Plant Types That Are Similar to the Chocolate Soldier
It is not easy choosing which one to add to your home with hundreds of thousands of plants to choose from. Here are some plants that are similar to the Chocolate Soldier.
- Flamingo Flower Plants (Anthurium andraeanum): If you want to boost the air quality inside your house, then the Flamingo Flower plants are some of the best. They also come in various colors, such as purple, white, and pink, to further enhance the appearance of your home.
- Croton Plant (Codiaeum variegatum): Croton plants are popular because of their colorful foliage. The leaves have a unique pattern and contain shades of bright yellow, orange, and red.
- Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema): If you live somewhere that does not receive too much bright light, then the Chinese Evergreen is the perfect houseplant. They can grow up to five to six feet and have variegated leaves with green and silver hues.
Final Thoughts – Chocolate Soldier Plant
If you have an upcoming housewarming party for a friend or family member, consider gifting them a Chocolate Soldier plant. Not only is this succulent easy to care for, but it also can provide a person with benefits to their overall wellness.
If you enjoy this plant and would like to adopt more plants for your home, then check out Planted Pot! Not only do we carry beautiful houseplants, but we also have plant guides to help you become the ultimate plant parent!