What Are Dudleya Plants?
Dudleya plants are succulents with long leaves. They have small flowers which are white or pinkish red in color. Their stems may reach up to 1 meter (3 feet) tall and their roots may extend over several meters (yards). There are many varieties of these plants. Some dwarf, some bushlike, some creeping, and others growing upright like a shrub. These plants are native to Africa and Asia.
The Dudleya plant family includes more than 50 species of succulents, all from different parts of the world. Most Dudleyas are tropical, but there are a few that live in temperate zones such as Australia and New Zealand.
The genus name Dudleya comes from the English word “dun” meaning hillside and “fauna,” referring to the numerous flowers found on these plants.
How Do You Grow Dudleya Plants?
There are two ways to grow Dudleya plants. One way is to simply buy one of the thousands of Dudleya plants available at garden centers and nurseries. Another method is to grow your own Dudleya plants from seedlings. Seedling cultivation requires less time and effort than buying a new plant every year! Here’s how it works:
Buy a bunch of seeds from a nursery or online store. Plant them out in pots where they will get plenty of light and air circulation.
Place them in a sunny spot, but don’t put them in direct sunlight or they will burn! Wait for them to sprout, water them, and then give them some time. You should see little green shoots pop out of the ground in no time at all!
This is a simple process that takes very little effort. It can also save you money if you don’t want to buy new plants every year!
What Do They Need To Grow?
As with all desert plants, dudleyas need a little bit of water to thrive. You can’t overwater them though, otherwise their leaves will rot! Just like cacti, dudleya plants can go for months without any water and still look fine. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that the soil is dry for at least the top few inches before you water it again.
These succulents prefer hot temperatures and full sun year-round. They cannot survive the cold, so it’s best to keep them inside in colder climates!
Dudleya plants can grow quite large if they are healthy and have enough room to do so. If you want a smaller plant, prune it back often.
This will prevent it from getting “leggy” (tall and skinny) and keep it from getting too big for its pot.
What Do They Look Like?
Dudleya plants can take several different forms, depending on the species. They all have a stem (which grows from a fleshy root), long grass-like leaves, and small flowers. Most of their stems are covered in little spines as an added defense mechanism. The color of their flowers can range from white to red to yellow.
Most dudleyas also have a very distinctive and interesting seed pod. It is flat, thin, and papery in texture.
The shape of the seed pod varies between species.
Some dudleya species are short and bushy, while others grow as tall as human beings! The leaves can also be long and narrow or short and wide, depending on the species.
What Can You Do With a Dudleya Plant?
Dudleya are quite beautiful plants to keep around the house or office. They make excellent living room or bedroom decorations and can really jazz up a drab workspace. If you have any outdoor space, such as a porch or patio, they also do well outdoors and look great among other potted plants.
There are so many things you can do with dudleya plants! Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
Give one (or several) to a significant other, child, parent, or friend as a gift!
Add them to a garden that needs color. They look great against green foliage.
Use them in outdoor planters and flowerpots. Just make sure they don’t get too much sun.
Add them to your office space to relieve stress. (They’re also really good for air quality!
According to NASA, dudleya can clear xylene and toluene from the air. These chemicals are commonly found in paints, varnishes, gasoline, and printing ink.)
Dudleya may be a little hard to come by if you don’t know where to look, but if you have a green thumb and a little patience, these plants are well worth the effort!
Every once in a while, your dudleya will get too big for its current pot. If this happens, you’ll need to repot it.
This is quite simple to do and only takes a few minutes. The best time to do it is in the spring or summer (early enough so that it doesn’t get root-bound again).
To repot your dudleya, follow these steps:
Remove the plant from its pot. Using a knife or scissors, cut away the old soil that is clinging to the roots.
You’ll want to cut off as much of it as you can since this old soil might be holding vital nutrients and moisture that the plant needs to survive. Get a new pot that is the same size (or just a little bit bigger). Fill the new pot with soil that does not contain offseason nutrients. You can get cheap soil from just about anywhere (dollar store, home goods store, etc). Spread out the roots so that they are completely covered by the soil. Firm the soil so that there are no air pockets. Water the plant slowly and thoroughly using a watering can or hose.
Once you are done, place your plant in a location where it will receive as much natural light as possible. You’ll want to keep it here until the growing season is over.
When fall and winter come around, your dudleya will go dormant. This means it will lose most of its leaves and stop growing completely.
It needs as much light as possible during the growing season so that it can grow enough to survive the winter. Without enough light, it will slowly begin to lose chlorophyll. It might also begin to turn brown as well. This won’t hurt the plant, but it won’t look very good either.
During the winter months, you can move your dudleya to a shadier location. Low light is fine, just no direct sunlight!
You can also keep it in a location where it won’t get any light at all, such as a basement or closet. Either way, make sure the temperature stays around 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you want to learn more about taking care of your dudleya, you should probably buy another book on the subject. This isn’t a book on plant biology!
Just remember that sunlight is vital for the plant to grow and survive, so make sure you don’t accidentally kill it.
As time goes on, your plant will eventually begin to lose its color. Eventually, the center of the flower will turn from green to a creamy yellow.
At this point, your plant has probably lost the battle against old age. It’s okay though, you can make sure that your dudleya lives on by propagating it. There are a few different ways to do this.
The first way is to take a flower that is starting to die and separate it from the main plant. Get a small pot and fill it with moist soil.
Take the dead flower and separate it from the main stem. Be careful when you do this so you don’t damage the plant! Once you have it in your hands, plant it in the pot. Over time, it should grow into a new dudleya plant.
The second way is to take a leaf and carefully cut out a healthy chunk of it. Make sure to get a piece that has roots as well as the part that is attached to the main plant.
Place this chunk into a pot with moist soil. It should grow just like the stem! This is a good way of propagating plants that have oddly shaped leaves.
Once again, your dudleya will go dormant during the winter, so don’t be alarmed if it looks like it has died. Come springtime, it should come back to life.
Once again, you’ll want to place it in a sunny window so it can get enough light to grow.
Congratulations! You just learned how to take care of a dudleya!
Now you can impress all your friends with your green thumb! Or you could just keep it for yourself. Whatever.
Wayne and his dudleya (Picture not mine)
Dudleya, A Plant for the Romantic at Heart
Dudleya is a genus of monotypic plant. The only surviving species in the genus is dudleya farinosa, a beautiful plant with a yellow center surrounded by white petals.
The plant got its name due to Robert P. Farinosa, the botanist who first described it.
Dudleya is commonly known as a live-forever, a name which comes from the fact that the plant is evergreen and tends to last throughout the entire year. It is also called a pincushion plant due to its shape and texture.
Dudleya is native to coastal regions of northern California and southern Oregon. It can be found on cliffs and rocky slopes from sea level to 800 meters in elevation.
It tends to prefer sandy or gravely soils, but it can also be found in serpentine soils.
Contrary to popular belief, dudleya is not able to survive without water. It’s often found in dry areas, but this is a matter of adaptation rather than preference.
It stores water in its thick leaves so that it can survive long dry periods.
Dudleya has a long history of being used in herbal medicine by the natives of its regions. The Serrano people used an infusion of dudleya to treat skin irritation, aching teeth, and stomach pain.
The Yokuts people used an infusion of dudleya to relieve chest pain.
In more recent times, dudleya has been studied for its anti-cancer and healing properties. It is non-toxic and has been used to treat skin cancer.
Dudleya is a very easy plant to take care of. All it needs is sun and well-draining soil.
Water when it starts to look a little droopy, and it should be good for years! Just don’t overwater it, as this can cause root rot. Fertilize it every once in a while, and it should do fine.
Dudleya can get limp in the winter. Just place it someplace with less sunlight during this time so that it doesn’t burn.
It will come back stronger than ever the next year!
Dudleya is an adorable little plant that is perfect for people who don’t have a green thumb. Its strange appearance makes it great for people who want something a little unique.
It’s a great gift for plant lovers and a perfect decoration for any home.
Snails and slugs will try to eat dudleya, so keep an eye out for them.
The person who first saw this plant might have been walking along the beach and noticed how its yellow petals were brightly colored despite the fact that there was no sun. Or they might have been hiking up a mountain and looked down and saw its strange shape.
Whatever the reason, they must have been incredibly inspired to give this plant its beautiful name.
Sources & references used in this article:
Rarity as a life‐history correlate in Dudleya (Crassulaceae) by AE Dorsey, P Wilson – American Journal of Botany, 2011 – Wiley Online Library
Succulent Container Gardens: Design Eye-catching Displays with 350 Easy-care Plants by DL Baldwin – 2010 – books.google.com
Planting Designs for Cactus & Succulents: Indoor and Outdoor Projects for Unique, Easy-Care Plants–in All Climates by S Asakawa, J Bagnasco, S Buchanan – 2014 – books.google.com
Succulents Simplified: Growing, Designing, and Crafting with 100 Easy-care Varieties by JR Brown – 1939 – Abbey garden Press
Hardy Succulents: Tough Plants for Every Climate by W Haage – 1963 – Dutton
Designing with succulents by DL Baldwin – 2013 – books.google.com
An Educational Display:” Succulent SAE Projects” by GM Kelaidis – 2012 – books.google.com
Practical Cactus and Succulent Book: How to Choose, Nurture, and Display 200 Cacti and Succulents by DL Baldwin – 2017 – books.google.com