Dudley pulverulenta “Chalk Dudley”, “Chalk Lettuce”, “Chalk Live Forever”
The silver-white, fleshy leaves of Dudleya pulverulenta makes it one of most elegant succulents around. It is native to California, southwestern United States and northern Mexico and can be found in its natural habitat growing in steep rocky areas, or tucked among the rocks along the ocean bluffs. This long-lived succulent forms a beautiful rosette that grows up to 2 feet across at maturity. The 1 ½ foot tall flower stems are topped with clusters of red blooms that are irresistible to the local hummingbird population.
The surface of the leaves are coated with a white chalky, epicuticular wax. When water droplets hit the surface of the leaves, this “wax” is attracted to the water and incases the droplets. This waxy coating on the water droplets slows down evaporation from the surface of the leaves. The “wax” that does run off also coats the surface of the soil surrounding the base of the plant, thus slowing down the evaporation of water, and retaining moisture in the soil.
When planting Dudleya pulverulenta in your garden it’s best to try to mimic its natural habitat as much as possible. Provide it with half to full day sun and well-drained soil. Plant it in an area with other drought-tolerant perennials, among rocks and boulders. Note: Be sure to plant the rosette at an angle so that water will easily drain off and not pool in the crown of the plant. (Pooled water can cause the plant to rot).
This easy to grow succulent thrives on neglect and prefers very little summer water. (The exception would be if planted in containers, then give it an occasional drink of water.) Unfortunately these beautiful plants are not rabbit or deer proof. If either of these critters come around they will eat the leaves down to nubs, causing irreparable damage to the rosette.
We are growing Dudleya pulverulenta in 1 gallon containers. Check out our website www.clearwatercolor.com to see photos of these and many other plants we are growing.