Photo copyright © 2021 Mariposa Native Plants
A small perennial herb, a succulent, that puts out an impressive array of flowers on red-orange stems from a gray-green basal rosette. It is one of the most popular native California succulents. (And that can be a problem, as we note below!) It grows very quickly, and it is also long-lived. But, to keep it healthy, one must pay close attention to its location in the landscape (it should be planted on a slope) and its watering requirements. Also commonly called 'Live Forever'.
C.dudleya is found in the foothills and mountains of the western Sierra Nevada, in the Coast Range from Sonoma County south to Orange County, and locally in the mountains east of San Diego. Its habitat climbs from sea level to over 10,000 ft. (3000m). Sun: full/part sun. Temperature: cold tolerant to -5°F (-20°C). Soil: should be well-drained. This plant prefers rocky slopes; your best option is to plant it in a rock ledge, and if that is not feasible, then ensure that it is situated in a very gravelly, sandy slope or flat. Soil acidity: pH from 6 to 8.
Fairly easy to care for once established. Moisture requirements for the Live Forever are very low. In fact, it should have no supplemental water once established. But, a specimen that is planted early in the year from a 1-gallon container should be given supplemental water (1 gallon, 4 liters) every two weeks for the first summer. Once the fall and winter rains arrive, stop watering Canyon Dudleya. In the second summer, it should have no supplemental water. Again, this plant needs to be planted on a slope, such as a rocky escarpment. If it gets too much water in the leaves while it is planted on a flat, it can get moldy and die. That's not living forever. It needs the slope in order to drain off excess leaf water.
Foothills (to 2500 feet), lower mountains (2500-3500 feet), middle mountains (3500-6000 feet), and high mountains (above 6000 feet).
Some websites indicate that this plant is deer resistant. However, in our own experience, Canyon Dudleyas have been gobbled up by some nocturnal herbivore--rabbits, perhaps. It would be prudent to surround your specimens with a rabbit/deer screen and to provide it with a gopher screen as well. If you are planting it into a rocky outcrop or ledge, and gophers do not burrow into this site, then you might be able to forego the gopher screen.
Very few pest problems with this plant. The main problem with Dudleya cymosa care is over-watering. A secondary problem in cultivating Canyon Dudleya is planting in soil that is too dense and too rich; keep the site rocky, sandy, well-drained, sloped, and lean.
The popularity of plants in the Dudleya genus has grown so much that poaching of native populations of the plant has become a serious problem. In a Spring 2021 article in Flora, the magazine of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS), Nick Jensen notes that poaching has become so bad that it actually threatens wild populations of the plant. The majority of the poached plants are exported and sold internationally to succulent collectors, often for thousands of dollars. CNPS has been active in restoring some of the rarer Dudleya species populations, especially species endemic to the coastal bluffs of California. Mariposa Native Plants does not collect Dudleya cymosa specimens from wild growth; we propagate the plants we sell both from seeds and by division of plants purchased from reputable wholesale nurseries in northern California.
#1 container, about 1 gallon; and #2 container, about 2 gallons.