Dudleya caespitosa (Haw.) Britton & Rose
Sea Lettuce, Sand Lettuce, Coast Dudleya, Coastal Dudleya, Bluff Lettuce
Cotyledon caespitosa, Cotyledon helleri, Cotyledon linguiformis, Cotyledon reflexa, Dudleya cotyledon, Dudleya helleri, Echeveria caespitosa, Echeveria californica, Echeveria cotyledon, Echeveria helleri, Sedum cotyledon
Dudleya caespitosa is a succulent plant that forms rosettes of fleshy, green or greyish-green, usually oblong to oblanceolate leaves. The rosettes grow up to 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter. Flowers are bright yellow, rarely red or orange with pointed petals. The inflorescence may hold 10 or 15 flowers on each of several branches.
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.
This species is endemic to California, where it grows along the coastline in the state's southern half.
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