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Dudleya pulverulenta

About Chalk Dudleya (Dudleya pulverulenta) Chalk Dudleya is a succulent plant known by the common names chalk lettuce and chalk liveforever. It is in the Subgenus Dudleya in which the flowers are tubular and pollination is primarily by hummingbirds or bumblebees. This dudleya is native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, where it is found in rocky areas in coastal and inland mountains and desert foothills.It grows a rosette of wide, flat fleshy leaves of pale green which age to a pinkish papery texture in the drier summer months. In the winter and spring, it produces a number of tall erect pinkish white stems, which support often thousands of pointy, rosy-red flowers.. Hummingbirds are very attracted to these flowers. The epidermis of the plant is covered with a dense coating of chalky, powdery wax. Its pale green or white nodding or erect flower clusters bear many pinkish flowers. The plant tolerates full sun exposure or part shade. It is susceptible to aphid infestations which result in flower and rosette deformities. It openly hybridizes with several other species. Plant appears to have very good cold tolerance when mature and has survived temperatures of 18 degrees F in a local garden with no ill effects. Higher temperatures are also tolerated well by Dudleya with the white waxy coatings, especially Dudleya brittonii. Plants were accidentally subjected to 115 degrees F in a closed greenhouse with limited damage to older plants and serious damage to younger plants that seem to suffer from root rot shortly after the overheating episodes. Plants are very rapid recolonizers as evidenced by proliferation on roadcuts shortly after development. A much hardier plant for the garden environment than the more commonly available Dudleya brittoni. References: Dudleya and Hassenthaus Handbook, Paul Thompson 1993.

Chalk Dudleyas are easy to grow when situated properly. Plant at a 45 to 90 degree angle into rocky slopes or rock walls. If the plant is planted pointing straight up, it tends to fill with water and die. For best results, give this plant full sun if on north, east or west facing slopes, and partial shade if on a south facing slope. Surround with rocks if they aren't already there. It prefers to be drought-stressed in the summer months, and go partially summer dormant, often with only a tiny greenish white area in the middle of the rosette appearing to be alive, and with the outer leaves turning subtle shades of white, tan, pink and purple. If you want your plants to look a little less drought-stressed, Chalk dudleyas tolerate occasional summer water (1x per month). A beautiful plant.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb, Succulent

Max. Height
0.33 - 1 ft (0.1 - 0.3 m)

Max. Width
1 ft (0.3 m)


None, Slight

Growth Rate

Summer Deciduous

40-60 fleshy, succulent leaves in a basal rosette, with white powdery coating that may serve to prevent water loss and sunburn

Flower Color
Orange, Pink, Red

Flowering Season
Spring, Summer

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Steep rocky slopes and rocky walls in chaparral or coastal sage scrub

Part Shade, Sun

Elevation ?
3' - 6112'

Annual Precip. ?
4.6" - 32.7"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 2.84"

Coldest Month ?
39.3° F - 57.7° F

Hottest Month ?
66.0° F - 85.0° F

Humidity ?
0.47 vpd - 35.99 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerant of a variety of garden soils as long as rocks are added and some slope is provided

Soil Texture
Loamy Sand, Sandy Clay, Sandy Clay Loam, Sandy Loam

Soil PH
5.0 - 8.0

Fast, Medium

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 20° F

Sunset Zones ?
14, 15, 16, 17*, 18, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Companion Plants
Chamise, California Encelia, California Buckwheat, Pink Honeysuckle, Wild Hyacinth, Oaks, native grasses, Yucca spp, various cactus species

Wildlife Attracted

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Very Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Organic with Rocks

Pruning should be limited to removing spent stalks

Propagation ?
Propagation by seed is difficult as the seed is very fine and dust-like.  For propagating by seed: No treatment.

Common uses
Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens, Hummingbird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Botanical Names
Dudleya pulverulenta ssp. pulverulenta

Common Names
Chalk Lettuce, Chalk Liveforever

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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