Dudleya (2004)

PhotoBy Roy Kasten (February 2004)

I think I have a good variety of plants, but one I do not have (but would like) is Dudleya.

Dudleya is a genus of about 40 species from southwestern USA and Baja California in Mexico. It was at one point included in the genus Cotyledon and then moved to Echeveria. Finally it has its own genus, named after the Stanford professor William Dudley.

Dudleyas are succulent rosettes. Most species build a thick stem as they age that can eventually become a 2-foot-long trunk. Older plants’ heads can be cut in the fall. After letting a cutting dry for three days to make sure the cut is healing, replant in a well-drained mix. Cuttings taken in late spring and summer are seldom successful.

Dudleyas need full sun in coastal areas, and light shade is welcome away from the coast. Even with the best care, many can not take the Arizona heat, where only Dudleya saxosa and D. arizonica are recommended.

Dudleyas are winter growers. They come out of dormancy in late fall and do most of their growth in late winter, corresponding to a wetter period in their natural habitat. Some of the species are intolerant of summer water. Water them regularly in winter and use diluted fertilizer.

Dudleyas bloom in the spring. Most species will take some frost. They are grown from seeds or division.