Dudleya brittonii, also known as the giant chalk dudleya, Britton’s liveforever, Britton’s live forever succulent, or just Britton’s dudleya, has been called many things over the years.
The chalk dudleya part of its name comes from the texture of its succulent leaves and stems, that’s right, it’s actually another succulent! But some people refer to it as giant Dudleya or Dudleya Brittonii when discussing this plant that can grow up to 3 feet tall!
The giant chalk dudleya belongs to the Crassulaceae family, which also includes plants like the jade plant and bonsai tree.
If you’re looking to brighten up your garden with some fun new succulents, consider the giant chalk dudleya (Dudleya brittonii). These tough and beautiful plants thrive in drought conditions and are easy to care for once you know what they need.
Origin and distribution
Dudleya brittonii is a succulent plant native to the Channel Islands off the coast of California. It is also known as Britton’s liveforever and Britton’s dudleya. The plant is found on all eight of the Channel Islands, and its range extends from Santa Cruz Island to San Miguel Island. The giant chalk dudleya grows in both sandy and rocky areas and can be found in both sun and shade.
In its natural habitat, it thrives with occasional watering or rainfall. It will typically flower in the spring and summer, with flowers that are purple-pink or yellow-green in color.
It prefers soil that is well drained with some added organic material such as peat moss or sand mixed into it. During the winter months, it should be kept dry and watered only sparingly. If overwatered during this time, they can become susceptible to rot.
For this reason, they should not be planted outdoors in locations where there may not be enough winter rain or snowfall for proper growth when the seasons change again. Once these plants are fully established outside after about one year, watering may need to occur more frequently during the hotter parts of the summer season.
Dudleya brittonii propagation
Britton’s liveforever (Dudleya brittonii) can be propagated by seed or cuttings. To propagate by seed, sow the seeds in a well-drained soil mix and keep them moist until they germinate. Once established, divide the plants every 3 to 4 years to prevent overcrowding.
Britton’s dudleya can also be propagated by taking leafy stem cuttings that are at least 8 inches long with at least one node on each end of the cutting; plant the cutting in well-drained soil mix in an area with partial shade and provide some water during dry periods.
Leafy stem cuttings will take about 2 months to grow roots. In the meantime, mist them regularly and put them in high humidity areas such as under a clear plastic dome. Once rooted, transplant into individual pots using potting soil mixed with coarse sand for drainage.
Keep evenly moist but not wet – place pots near sunny windows or outside if daytime temperatures remain above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dudleya brittonii care information
Dudleya brittonii, as with all succulents, are very easy to care for and are drought tolerant. These plants are fairly slow growers so be patient!
These plants require full sun to partial shade, meaning they need at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. If you live in an area with hot summers, it’s best to provide some afternoon shade. During the winter, giant chalk dudleyas can tolerate more shade than they can during the summer.
A well-draining potting mix is essential for Dudleya brittonii. They need a light, airy mix that will hold moisture but not become soggy or waterlogged. A good mix for giant chalk dudleyas contains two parts of perlite or coarse sand to one part of potting soil.
You can also add a small amount of organic matter to the mix to help retain moisture. Be sure to use a pot with drainage holes to prevent the roots from sitting in water.
Water your Dudleya brittonii when the soil is dry to the touch. Give it a good soaking, then allow the excess water to drain away. Do not water again until the soil is dry to the touch.
During the winter, you can reduce watering to once every other week. Remember that light levels are lower in winter and your Dudleya will appreciate brighter light levels if possible. It is important to keep plants like this one evenly moist but not wet so be sure that there are no puddles of water on the surface of the potting mix or in the saucer under its pot.
Fertilizing your Dudleya brittonii (Giant Chalk Dudleya) is important to maintain its health and encourage growth. The best time to fertilize is in the spring and summer when the plant is actively growing.
Use a balanced fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Apply the fertilizer according to the package directions, and be sure to water deeply after application.
Dudleya brittonii does best in cool to moderate temperatures. It can tolerate some sun, but too much sun will cause the leaves to scorch. If the temperature gets too hot, the plant will go into dormancy. The ideal temperature range for this plant is 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Too low of a temperature will prevent it from flowering and getting pollinated. Too high of a temperature will cause the plant to turn brown and wilted.
Dudleya brittonii enjoys high humidity and will often be found in shady, moist areas. They can, however, adapt to drier conditions and will do just fine in a pot with well-draining soil.
If you live in a dry climate, it’s best to plant your Dudleya in a pot so you can control the amount of water it gets. When watering your Dudleya, make sure to do it at the base of the plant so the leaves don’t get wet and rot.
The ideal humidity range is 60%-80%. You can also mist them regularly or set up a humidifier nearby. Keep an eye on your plants as they may need more water if the humidity drops below 60%. Too much moisture may also cause mold or fungus, so watch out for that too!
When pruning your giant chalk dudleya, be sure to remove any dead or diseased leaves, stems, and flowers. Cut back the plant by one-third to one-half its total height. After pruning, water the plant deeply and apply a balanced fertilizer. Be careful not to overfertilize as this can kill your plant.
When to repot
Repotting dudleya brittonii is typically done every two to three years, or when the plant becomes rootbound. To check if your plant needs to be repotted, gently remove it from its pot and inspect the roots.
If they are tightly wound around the bottom of the pot or protruding from the drainage holes, it’s time for a new home. Place the plant in a clean container with fresh potting soil.
Make sure that there is enough room between the top of the soil and the lip of the container to accommodate future growth.
Plants in the genus Dudleya are typically winter deciduous, meaning they lose their leaves during the colder months. This is a natural process that helps the plant conserve water and energy.
However, if you live in an area with prolonged cold weather, you may want to give your dudleya brittonii some extra protection. Place a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to insulate it from the cold.
You can also move your plant indoors for the winter. Dormant plants need less water than plants that are actively growing, so only use tepid water when watering them.
Leave them outdoors when the weather warms up in springtime; they will resume growth quickly.
Dudleya brittonii flower & fragrance
The flowers of Dudleya brittonii are small and white, borne in clusters on slender stems. They are not particularly showy or fragrant, but they are an important source of nectar for bees and other pollinators. The plant has a strong, distinctive smell that some people find unpleasant.
Dudleya brittonii is a fast-growing succulent that can reach up to 2 feet tall. It grows best in bright, indirect light, and does not need much water or fertilizer. The leaves will turn yellow or brown if the plant is too dry or receiving too much sun, so it’s important to keep an eye on them!
The sap of Dudleya brittonii is reported to be toxic to humans and animals if ingested. Symptoms of toxicity include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you suspect your pet has ingested this plant, please contact your veterinarian immediately. This plant is also known to cause skin irritation in some people.
If you experience any burning, itching, or redness after coming into contact with this plant, wash the affected area with soap and water and seek medical attention if necessary.
USDA hardiness zones
Dudleya brittonii thrives best in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11. In other climates, it can be grown as a houseplant.
Pests and diseases
Although they are relatively easy to grow, Dudleya brittonii can be susceptible to mealybugs and other pests. To prevent infestation, it’s important to regularly check your plants and quarantine any new arrivals.
If you do notice pests, you can usually get rid of them with a strong spray of water or by using insecticidal soap. Diseases are less common in Dudleyas, but they can sometimes contract fungal diseases like powdery mildew.
The best way to protect your plant is by keeping the soil moist at all times and avoiding overhead watering. In severe cases, you may need to treat the plant with a fungicide according to package instructions.