Echeveria vs. Dudleya

Looking for Limpet Shell Lovely?  Select a Succulent!


Limpet ShellLimpet shell is one of two blues on Pantone’s palette of top 2016 colors. Slivers of the delicate aqua line the tops of clouds at sunset and can be found in the glisten of a smooth ocean. While LA naturally brings the rare, distinctive color elsewhere, it is a challenge to find in foliage.

Two drought tolerant succulents can bring the color down to earth in your garden. Echeveria elegans and Dudleya caespitosa each form tight rosettes of fleshy limpet shell leaves.  Both erupt with peach echo spikes trimmed with buttercup blooms.

This pair’s tradeoffs are subtle and show that asking “when” can be just as important as asking “how much?”



Killian2017_Snaps0111_EcheveriaLimpetShellWhen at home in its native range from Boliva and Peru through central Mexico, Echeveria blooms at the start of summer rainy seasons and goes dormant during dry winters.

While drought tolerant, in LA Echeveria needs supplemental water to survive our hot, dry summers.  It then rebels against abundant water in winter. This subtle disconnect in when Echeveria wants its water leads to challenges in LA gardens.

Unlike Echeveria,  California native Dudleya prefers to drink during LA’s water Happy Hour.

FormLA2016_Carlson_Blooms_CoastDudleya&StrawberryVericalCommonly called Live Forever, Dudleya can thrive for up to 100 years when its relatively simple needs are met.  Even heartier than Echeveria, Dudleya will emerge from seemingly uninhabitable cliffs and sandy soils.

Evolved to match the seasons from Baja California to Oregon, Dudleya grows and blooms during wet winters.  It dislikes water during summer – a perfect match for our natural weather cycles!

Ready to bring easy-keeping Dudleya home? Find him at the Theodore Payne Foundation and Las Pilitas native plant nurseries.
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