Dudleya edulis (Fingertips Succulent)

Dudleya edulis

Dudleya edulis, also known as the fingertips succulent, San Diego dudleya, or mission lettuce, is an easy to grow, a beautiful succulent that can be used as either a ground cover or as a container plant.

Growing to be 1-2’ in height and width, the fingertips succulent form rosettes of dark green, oval-shaped leaves with wavy edges. In the summer, the fingertips succulent produces small yellow flowers with red tips at the top of tall, skinny stalks that can reach up to 3’ tall.

The fingertips succulent doesn’t look like much when you first see it, however, these tiny plants are surprisingly resilient and easy to care for once you understand what they need in order to thrive.

Dudleya edulis has delicate little leaves that take on bright pink or orange hues in the sun. With proper care, you can keep this beautiful plant alive and healthy for years to come!

Origin and distribution

Dudleya edulis is a native of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, where it grows in the wild on cliffs and rocky hillsides. The plant is especially common in California, where it is often known as mission lettuce or San Diego dudleya.

Dudleya edulis is a member of the Crassulaceae family, which includes more than 1,000 species of succulent plants. Its scientific name comes from English naturalist Edward Wortley Dyer who first described it scientifically in 1839.

The San Diego county fair has been awarding a Mission Lettuce award since 1950 to commemorate its popularity there.

The flowers are small and pinkish-white with petals that point outward, giving them an unusual bell shape.

Dudleya edulis propagation

Dudleya edulis

Dudleya edulis, or Fingertips as they are commonly known, are a type of succulent native to San Diego. They are easily propagated from cuttings taken from the mother plant. To do this, simply cut a stem with a sharp knife just below a leaf node and allow it to callous over for a few days before potting in well-draining soil.

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Water only when the soil is completely dry to avoid rot. The leaves can be trimmed back occasionally if desired, but never during the winter months. These plants can be grown outside year round but will go dormant during the colder months of late fall and winter. It may also benefit you to put them on your window sill so that they get more sunlight and heat.

San Diego dudleya prefers full sun to partial shade with an occasional watering every other week or so depending on the climate where you live. In Southern California, one might find that it needs water every week or two depending on rainfall levels.

Dudleya edulis care information

Dudleya edulis

Dudleya edulis, or Fingertips succulent, is a beautiful plant native to San Diego. They are easy to care for and make great houseplants! Here are a few tips to keep your Dudleya edulis healthy and happy

Light requirement

Dudleya thrives in bright, direct sunlight but can tolerate some shade. If you live in an area with hot summers, provide some afternoon shade to prevent the leaves from burning. If your plant is grown indoors, place it near a sunny window. Indoor plants need more water than outdoor plants because they do not get rain or dew.

Soil/potting mix

San Diego dudleya prefers a well-draining soil or potting mix. If your potting mix is too dense, add some perlite or pumice to lighten it up. This succulent is tolerant of a wide range of soils, as long as it can drain excess water quickly and does not stay wet for extended periods of time. Too much moisture will cause the leaves to rot and turn black.

Watering

Allow the soil to dry out completely before watering your Dudleya edulis. When you do water, make sure to drench the soil and then allow it to drain completely. You can fertilize your plant every other month using a succulent fertilizer. These plants are drought tolerant, so be careful not to overwater. They do well in full sun or partial shade.

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Fertilizer

Dudleya edulis, or fingertips, are a type of succulent that’s easy to care for. They don’t need much fertilizer, but you can give them a light feeding every few weeks during the growing season.

You can use a cactus and succulent fertilizer, or a general-purpose fertilizer diluted to half strength. Be sure to water thoroughly after fertilizing to prevent root burn.

Temperature

Dudleya edulis are native to the coast of California and Baja Mexico and prefer a cool, maritime climate. They will tolerate some degree of heat, but prolonged exposure to temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit can cause the tips of the leaves to turn brown and may eventually kill the plant.

If you live in an area with hot summers, it’s best to grow Dudleya edulis in a shady spot or protect them from the afternoon sun.

Humidity

Dudleya edulis, or fingertips, are a type of succulent that is native to Southern California. They are drought tolerant and can withstand long periods of dryness. However, they do require some humidity to thrive. During the summer months, you can mist your Dudleya weekly or place it on a pebble tray filled with water. If the air in your home is particularly dry, you may need to mist your plant daily.

The ideal humidity range is 60-80%. To measure this, use a hygrometer. Alternatively, if your home has central heating and air conditioning, set the thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 56 degrees Fahrenheit at night during winter months and 77 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 66 degrees Fahrenheit at night during summer months.

Pruning

When pruning your Dudleya edulis, be sure to use clean, sharp shears or scissors. Cut away any dead or dying leaves, as well as any that are significantly smaller than the others.

You can also remove any that are growing in an undesirable direction. As you prune, be sure to handle the plant carefully so as not to damage the healthy leaves. Watch for signs of overwatering and water only when the soil is dry on top and there is no visible moisture from below. Too much water will cause rotting roots and brown

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When to repot

The best time to repot your Dudleya edulis is in the spring after the plant has had a chance to rest. You’ll know it’s time to repot when you see roots coming out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.

Gently remove the plant from its pot and shake off any excess soil. Place the plant in a new pot that is only slightly larger than the old one, and fill it with a fresh succulent mix. Tamp down around the plant gently, then water well.

Dormancy/Winter rest

Dudleyas are best kept on the dry side during winter when they are mostly dormant. They can tolerate some light frost, but prolonged exposure to cold weather will damage the leaves. If you live in a cold climate, it’s best to grow your Dudleya indoors during the winter months.

You may also choose to place them outside for sunny periods if you have an enclosed porch or other protected areas where it doesn’t get too cold. If this is not possible, bring them inside and place them near a window that receives sunlight. To do so, be sure to keep the soil just barely moist–dryness stresses plants more than freezing temperatures. A humidifier can help if your indoor air is dry.

Other things you can do include watering infrequently; misting occasionally with a spray bottle; keeping the plant out of drafts from heating vents, windows, fireplaces, or doors; turning off lights overnight; using fewer houseplants; and trimming back any yellowed leaves to improve air circulation.

Dudleya edulis flower & fragrance

Dudleya edulis

The Dudleya edulis is a beautiful succulent that is native to California. It has long, slender leaves that are tipped with white flowers.

Growth rate

Dudleya edulis is a slow-growing succulent, so don’t expect it to fill in your garden overnight. With proper care, however, it can reach its full potential size of 12 inches tall and wide. When watering, be sure to allow the soil to dry out completely between watering to prevent root rot. Dudleya edulis is best suited for growing in full sun to partial shade.

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Toxicity

Although Dudleya edulis is not considered toxic to humans, it can be harmful to pets if ingested. All parts of the plant contain saponins, which are poisonous to dogs and cats. Symptoms of ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea, and drooling. If you suspect your pet has ingested any part of this plant, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

USDA hardiness zones

Dudleya Edulis thrives best in USDA hardiness zones 10-11, but can survive in zones 8-10. In colder climates, it is advisable to keep the plants indoors or under a roof where the temperature will not dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

If the plant becomes too cold, it may drop its leaves and go dormant for the winter. For a proper and easy way to water your Dudleya, you should use room temperature water at a rate of one gallon per week.

Pests and diseases

These succulents are generally pest and disease free. However, watch for mealybugs, aphids, and scale. These pests can be controlled with insecticidal soap or neem oil. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so make sure to allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings.

Dudleya edulis are also susceptible to fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and black spot. These can be controlled with fungicidal sprays or by increasing air circulation around the plants. The other concern is winter burn, which can occur when the plant’s foliage is exposed to cold temperatures and frost.

Winter burn leaves unsightly brown patches on the plant’s foliage that will eventually disappear in spring. To prevent this condition, you should cover your plant with a sheet of plastic or other material that won’t let any light through during harsh winters