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A sprawling succulent plant with rambling stems and distinctive cylindrical foliage. Leaves can range from blue-gray to pale-green in color and grow to 4-5 in. long with pointed tips.

This species occurs in South Africa's Cape region where a number of subspecies have been selected for ornamental use. Two subspecies grow well in California and are planted for their striking foliage color and texture in rock gardens, containers and as ground covers. They do best in full sun, with good drainage and low moisture. One cultivar, S. t. ssp. cylindricus, Narrow-leaf chalksticks, is a rambling plant, 18-30 in. high and 4-5 ft. wide. Thin yellow-green cylindrical leaves are translucent and grow 3-5 in. long. A lower growing cultivar, S. t. ssp. mandraliscae, Blue finger, has bright glaucous-blue leaves that are 3-4 in. long and grow on succulent stems 12-18 in. high and several feet wide; small white flowers on branched stems appear in summer. Both cultivars survive temperatures to 15°F.

Water Needs

Blue finger is well adapted to all parts of the Inland Empire in sunny exposures with normal winter rains and low amounts of summer irrigation. The chart shown below provides a recommended baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several months indicated by an asterisk (*) when winter rains often provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates Blue finger can grow with varying amounts of water; little supplemental water is needed during summer following the flowering cycle.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 1

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Ground cover, Succulent
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Spreading, Sprawling
Growth Rate: Slow, Moderate
Height: 12 in. - 18 in.
Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft., can slowly spread further
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Blue gray
Flower Color: White
Flower Season: Summer
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil
Exposure Adaptations: Wind, Heat, Frost, Drought, All day sun, Partial sun
Function: Slopes, Rock gardens, Residential spaces, Raised planters, Near pools and water features, Mass planting, Grouped, Foliage accent plant, Container plant, Commercial spaces, Civic spaces, Borders, Banks


If desired, prune for size control or for cuttings, ideally in spring (D).



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