Dudleya edulis is a perennial succulent plant. It has several other common names such as ladyfingers, fingertips or the mission lettuce. As these names suggest, this plant has leaves that resemble the shape of fingers.
These leaves are green, fleshy and cylindrical and can grow up to 8 inches tall once they become mature. They usually grow in rosette clumps on the ground.
The flowers tend to bloom in summer on various branches that can grow up to 20 inches tall. The flowers are white and cream in color.
52 Types of Dudleya With Pictures
How To Care For Dudleya edulis
If the Dudleya edulis is growing in the coastal area, they thrive in sunny or bright areas; however, when grown inland, they prefer the shade. So, it is best to grow the plant in an area with partial shade because direct sunlight can damage the plant. Dudleya edulis plants do well in cool areas; however, they cannot withstand frost and too little light causes the leaves to become soft and stretchy.
Dudleya edulis plants do not require a lot of water and can thrive with minimal watering. In the summer months, these plants are dormant and so do not require any watering at all. You can begin watering the plant during fall when the plants grow and begin to bloom.
Always make sure to water the roots of the plant and not the leaves, as this can damage the plant. If the leaves of the Dudleya edulis are dull and not shiny or they are puckering or shrinking, it means they need watering. However, overwatering the plant can lead to root rot.
Dudleya edulis grows best in well-draining, sandy soil, because just like other succulents, Dudleya edulis has shallow roots and waterlogging in the soil can cause root rot. The plant is resistant to salt and so it can tolerate soil with high salt content. Choose a high-quality pre-bagged cactus soil or sandy soil mix specially made for succulents.
Dudleya edulis plants thrive in sunny but cool conditions. The plant grows well in USDA zones 5 to 11 and they don’t do very well in too hot and/or dry areas. Dudleya edulis commonly grows in coastal areas in the US, which offer the most suitable growing climate.
The plant does best in temperatures between 65ºF and 77ºF. If you live in an area that does not get a lot of cool breeze, then make sure to plant the Dudleya edulis in partial shade, away from the direct sunlight.
You should not apply any fertilizer to the Dudleya edulis in summer and winter. You can use an all-purpose liquid fertilizer or water-soluble fertilizer to fertilize the plant in the growing season, i.e., autumn or spring.
Once you apply the fertilizer, then you should water it so that the fertilizer is absorbed better by the plant. Avoid splashing the fertilizer on the leaves of the Dudleya edulis as this can hamper the plant’s growth.
Dudleya edulis are quite easy to transplant because they are quite hardy and durable plants and can tolerate a little manhandling. However, when you pick a new pot or if you’re moving the plant from a pot to somewhere outside, you must ensure that there is plenty of space for the roots of the Dudleya to spread out.
How To Propagate Dudleya edulis
Dudleya edulis propagates very easily from cuttings and develops roots very quickly. To propagate Dudleya edulis, first, gather the plant for propagation in spring when the temperature during the daytime is around 70°F and choose an offshoot or cutting that has healthy foliage but doesn’t have any flower buds from the parent plant. Remove the soil from the base of the plant’s stem and using a sharp knife, cut off the stalk.
Place the Dudleya edulis cutting in a warm and dry place, which is away from the direct sunlight and allow it to dry for 5-10 days or until the cut end becomes dry and hard and develops a whitish color.
Then, combine 1 part of cactus potting soil and 2 parts of perlite in a container and mix them well. In a 4” container, pack the mixture. Fill 2” of the mixture with water and press it down so that the moisture is distributed.
Poke a hole, which can fit the Dudleya edulis stalk easily and push the cutting into the hole. Then, push the potting mixture against the stem and spread a layer of sand around the cutting’s base.
This will help to control the moisture content and temperature. Place the pot in a warm and bright area away from the direct sun. When the plant begins to root, shield it from direct light and heat because they will cause the leaves to get dehydrated.
All through the rooting process, drizzle water on the potting mix, avoiding any splashing on the stem or leaves and also avoid overwatering. After two weeks, gently tug the base of the stem. If the cutting does not move, it means that it has taken root. You can then transplant the plant into a permanent pot or your garden using cactus potting soil in 4-6 weeks.