If you’ve ever been hiking in the hills surrounding Los Angeles, you’ve probably seen Canyon Dudleya growing in the crevices of sheer, rocky cliffs. One of only a few succulents truly native to this part of Southern California, Canyon Dudleya undergoes a striking transformation depending on what time of year it is. In the winter and spring, its spiky leaves are plump, green and fleshy. In late spring, it sends up tall, thin stalks from its squat rosettes, each bearing clusters of bell-shaped, orange-yellow, waxy flowers beloved by hummingbirds. In the summer, the plant goes fully dormant without supplemental water, shriveling up to almost nothing, but it quickly resuscitates after a good storm or two in the fall.
Propagated from seed gathered in the LANPS garden, our Canyon Dudleyas come in 4” pots, perfect for planting in containers (in which case they will need periodic watering over the summer) or popping into the narrow spaces in between rocks. It’s happiest in dappled light to part sun and prefers a little afternoon shade. Like all Dudleyas, excellent drainage is a must. Canyon Dudleya will gradually multiply and looks quite at home when planted with some of its natural companions in the wild, such as Southern Bush Monkeyflower (Diplacus longiflorus) and Cardinal Catchfly (Silene laciniata).
Obsessive Botanist Alert: It has come to my attention that our Dudleya cymosa may indeed be Dudleya cymosa ssp. pumila or some weird-ass variation thereof. (It might even include a dash of Dudleya lanceolata!) Apparently, Dudleyas hybridize like crazy, rendering their precise identification a challenge even for serious Dudleya nerds. Who knew?