SILVER DOLLAR PLANT/Dudleya brittonii
This beautiful silver rosette is closely-related to. It is a comparatively slow-growing plant, taking many years to reach a diameter of 25cm (10in). The plant is covered in a white powdery substance known as farina, which can be blown or washed off, but is continually replaced by the plant. This plant grows during late Winter and early Spring, at which time it will tend to lose some of its farina, revealing the grey-green leaves. As the year progresses, these will take up the silver colour again. This species tends to remain solitary, only old plants seem to branch; are also difficult to root.
The plant produces its long, straggly flower stems in late Spring, the small, pale yellow flowers being partially concealed by the large, silvery calyx. The flowers can be hand pollinated with a small brush and, with luck, they will set seed. A careful eye needs to be kept on the ripening pods, as when they open they will tend to shed their minute, pepper-like seeds. Seed has a very short life (perhaps six months) and should be sown when harvested. Germination can vary from a very low rate to quite high.
The Silver Dollar Plant is easy to grow and quite tolerant of low temperatures if kept fairly dry. Like most plants, it will benefit from good ventilation, but not draughts.
This plant requires a bright situation at all times. It will grow happily if placed in a South-facing window.
Water the Silver Dollar Plant well during the Summer, then allow theto dry before watering again. During the Autumn and Winter, this should be kept fairly dry, being given only enough water to prevent shrivelling. This plant will soon begin to rot if kept wet at lower temperatures.
Being a native of very arid areas, the Silver Dollar Plant will benefit from a dry atmosphere.
Dudleya should be fed every 2-3 weeks during the Spring and Summer. Use a cactus food or one recommended for tomatoes at about half strength.
The Silver Dollar Plant will do best in a well-drained compost containing about one third grit.
The old leaves on this plant dry out to leave papery remains attached to the stem. At least once each year in the Autumn, all the old dead leaves should be carefully cleaned away, as they provide wonderful nesting sites for insects. They also make a solid mat which can trap water and cause the plant to rot. Removing these old leaves allows theand stem to breathe, while any insect infestations can be treated. This plant should not be watered from above, as this will wash away the farina.