Dudleya pulverulenta (Nutt.) Britton & Rose
Chalk Dudleya, Chalk Lettuce, Chalk Liveforever,
Cotyledon pulverulenta, Dudleya pulverulenta subsp. pulverulenta, Echeveria pulverulenta,
This species is native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. It occurs in rocky cliffs, canyons, and slopes at elevations up to 4,920 feet (1,500 m).
Dudleya pulverulenta is a succulent plant with a thick caudex topped densely covered with old leaves and a large rosette of chalky white leaves at the end. The caudex is up to 3.6 inches (9 cm) in diameter, at first erect, becoming decumbent with age. The rosette is up to 2 feet (60 cm) in diameter, usually with 40 to 60 leaves. Leaves are oblong, pointed, usually broadest in the base or the upper 1/3, up to 12 inches (30 cm) long, and up to 5.2 inches (13 cm) wide. They have a thick, powdery coating of natural wax. Flowers are deep red and appear in clusters on up to 3.3 foot (1 m) long stalks in winter to early spring. All parts of the inflorescence are also covered in chalky wax.
USDA hardiness zones 8a to 11b: from 10 °F (−12.2 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Most of the habitats Dudleyas occupy become dry in summer. Therefore, it is important to cut off water to Dudleyas in your garden during 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 re-established. Species that naturally grow on ocean bluffs are also salt-spray tolerant.
Dudleyas have their share of disease and pest problems. However, 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.
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