California Dudleyas are easy to grow. Illegal wild collection can be disrupted via legal propagation. I propagate Dudleya with middle school science classes. If seventh-graders can grow these natives from seed, you can too.
|Home gardens are a good source of Dudleya seed. Collect whole flower clusters in the late summer. Dry and store in a paper bag. Many Dudleya varieties freely hybridize, so garden collections are a good source of unique types|
|Seeds are microscopic. Small brown crescents or football shaped ovals. Seeds do not need to be cleaned, but crush pods to release the seeds. Hundreds of seeds are found in every flower.|
|Broadcast seeds on the top surface of a “soiless mix”. I use the those ubiquitos landscape flats to seed individual varieties. I use stucco sand, perlite and vermiculite and a time release fertilizer. No composts or peatmoss at this stage.|
|Seeds have no dormancy and can be sown any month of the year. A single teaspoon of seed will germinate hundreds to thousands of tiny plantlets.|
|I germinate flats under a spun row cover inside a shade house. Plants are misted four times per day. via a battery operated hose timer and “mister” drip emitters. Flats are kept uniformily moist, but not soaked.
Expect germination in a week to 10 days.
|Plantlets are lifted twice. Pricked up with a pen- cil or the tip of knife. The crowded plantlets are spaced on a fresh flat (100-200 per flat), and later lifted to cells or 3 inch pots. Algae scum remains a risk, so continue to use a soiless sand-rich mix.|
|Dudleya will be ready for “potting up” to commercial sized containers in 4-6 months. Final soil mix can be a garden loam or cactus mix. Overly rich soil can yield overly frost-sensitve plants.
Light shading (50-60% shadecloth) improves color and tone of the first year plants.
|First year Dudleya lanceolata grown by Los Osos Middle School students ready for restoration planting.|