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Dudleya caespitosa (Coast Dudleya)

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Scientific Name

Dudleya caespitosa (Haw.) Britton & Rose

Common Names

Sea Lettuce, Sand Lettuce, Coast Dudleya, Coastal Dudleya, Bluff Lettuce

Synonyms

Cotyledon caespitosa, Cotyledon helleri, Cotyledon linguiformis, Cotyledon reflexa, Dudleya cotyledon, Dudleya helleri, Echeveria caespitosa, Echeveria californica, Echeveria cotyledon, Echeveria helleri, Sedum cotyledon

Scientific Classification

Family: Crassulaceae
Subfamily: Sedoideae
Tribe: Sedeae
Subtribe: Sedinae
Genus: Dudleya

Description

Dudleya caespitosa is a succulent that forms rosettes, up to 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter, of fleshy, green or glaucous leaves. The stem is a caudex, erect, and grows up to 8 inches (20 cm) in height before branching into the inflorescence. Its color is variable, from green to red and yellow shades. The inflorescence may hold 10 or 15 flowers on each of several branches. Flowers are bright yellow, rarely red or orange with pointed petals.

Dudleya caespitosa - Sea Lettuce Coast Dudleya

Photo via flickriver.com

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 20 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Most of the myriad habitats Dudleyas occupy become dry in summer. Therefore, it is important to cut off water to Dudleyas in your garden during the summer. Plants grown in sandy soils or containers are exceptions. They will accept infrequent summer watering as long as the soil drains well. The onset of fall or winter rains reawakens Dudleyas from drought-induced dormancy. Their shriveled leaves plump up quickly, growth resumes, and flowering occurs during the next spring or summer. These plants are amazingly resilient. If a portion of a colony sloughs off a cliff face or is uprooted by a burrowing animal, it can persist for months until soil contact is reestablished. Species that naturally grow on ocean bluffs are also salt-spray tolerant.

Dudleyas have their share of disease and pest problems. If you can prevent Argentine Ants from introducing mealybugs or aphids to your Dudleyas, they will be healthier. Mealybugs nestle in the deep recesses of the leaves, and their feeding weakens the plants.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Dudleya.

Origin

It is endemic to California, where it grows along the coastline in the southern half of the state.

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