- Fertilizer is rarely, if ever, necessary for lithops. However, if you are in a soilless environment, you should think about applying a very tiny amount of diluted fertilizer once a year. Your Lithops may be too young if it failed to bloom the previous year. Usually, they start blooming after three years. To promote flowering, add a modest amount of fertilizer in the spring.
- Instead of planting your Lithops level with the soil, raise them about a half-inch above it. Then, cram colorful stones of varying sizes and shapes into the remaining space in the container. This results in a distinctively Lithops look. It closely resembles their natural environment while highlighting their excellent natural concealment.
- These plants have a clearly defined seasonal cycle, although depending on their past, various individuals may be in different locations. Be cautious when treating all of your Lithops the same if you receive them from several sources until you are convinced that their cycles are synchronized (or close to it). Make sure your care is not damaging each plant by keeping a close eye on it. They ought to be be on the same page after a few seasons!
- Lithops don’t go well with other plants because of their radically dissimilar watering requirements. Always plant them alone or in groups with other plants of the same species.
What can I use to plant Lithops?
For all save the hottest zones, growing live stones in pots is preferred. Cactus mix or potting soil with added sand are required for lithops.
Before adding moisture, the potting medium must dry, and the pot must be placed in as much light as possible. For optimal light entry, place the plant in a southern-facing window.
Division or seed can be used for propagation, while seed-grown plants take a long time to take root and several years to resemble their parent plants. Both seeds and seedlings are available from succulent nurseries and online. Even large-scale nurseries frequently stock mature plants.
Can Lithops be grown alongside cacti?
In addition to the above-mentioned watering plan, you can also tell if your Lithops needs water by closely examining how it is doing. It’s time to give the plant a great drink if you notice that it begins to pucker or wrinkle, appears to be sinking deeper into the pot, or feels softer than usual when you give it a little squeeze.
The ideal soil to plant Lithops in is cactus mix or quick-draining potting soil. To aid in soil drainage, grittier materials like sand, pebbles, or other might be added.
5. Needs for Fertilizing
Lithops don’t typically require fertilization to flourish. However, you can help this plant blossom by feeding it right before its typical flowering period.
To accomplish this, simply feed your Living Stones a little quantity of cactus fertilizer that is high in potassium and low in nitrogen during the spring. Additionally, avoid putting fertilizer directly on the plant’s leaves since this could burn or harm it.
Lithops should only be replanted, like all other plants, if there are issues (soggy soil, for example) or if the plants have outgrown their container. Repot the plants only once the growing season begins if you decide to do so (usually around the month of May). Before any re-potting is done, Lithops’ roots must be properly established (at least two years).
Can I combine multiple succulents in one planting?
Recently, I’ve received several inquiries from folks wondering how much room should exist between the succulents in their arrangement. The reply is, “It depends.” Succulents are perfectly capable of being planted quite near to one another.
Succulents grow more slowly when planted closely together, helping the arrangement to better maintain its original layout. When they are close together, watering them can be more difficult. But this is a really fantastic approach to plant your succulents, particularly if you’re creating the arrangement as a present or for an event.
A nice illustration of succulents that are firmly packed together is this clam shell planter at Waterwise Botanicals.
Succulents are generally slow growers, but if you give them a bit extra room to spread out, they’ll grow a little faster and eventually fill the space. If you want your plants to grow larger or reproduce more readily on their own, this is a fantastic alternative. I suggest using this slightly dispersed strategy if you are just getting started with succulents.
It is simpler to water the succulents correctly when there is room between the plants. The soil will dry up more quickly due to the improved air flow. We are aware that succulents thrive in rapidly draining soil!
Remember that you don’t want the succulents to be too close together or in a pot that is much bigger than they are.
Succulents will prioritize generating roots over growing larger if they are given too much room. A good distance between plants, in my opinion, is between 1/2 and 1.
Which succulents and cacti can be grown together in a garden?
The majority of cacti and succulents need a lot of light. They are appropriate for the sunniest areas of your house. You will be giving them what they enjoy if you construct some shelves across a sunny window. To ensure that every side of the plant receives an equal amount of sunny exposure, you should turn the plants frequently.
Every garden center has a fantastic selection of succulents and cacti that you can grow indoors. Some cacti are offered as seasonal or gift plants in department stores, such as the Schlumbergera x buckleyi (Christmas cactus), a species that grows in forests. Because it takes years for this to happen, it is better to purchase cacti that are currently in bloom. You should inspect them to ensure that there are no signs of rot or parts that are shriveled or dried, and that they are sound overall. When you bring them home, make sure they are not exposed to drafts and that they are the perfect size for their pot.
Make sure the desert cactus you buy are placed in compost that has been well-drained. In the spring and summer, they need to be regularly irrigated with tepid water. However, during the winter, especially if they are in cool temperatures, the compost should be allowed to almost entirely dry. As a result, the cactus can hibernate.
Cacti should be fed around every three weeks when they are actively growing. For this, you can use tomato fertilizer that has been properly diluted. Additionally, desert cactus like wintertime temperatures of 50–55 F (10–13 C). Only when the roots completely fill the pot do desert cacti need to be repotted.
Cacti in the forest are significantly different. Typically, they produce lovely, dangling flowers at the tips of segmented stalks. These stems resemble chains of supple leaves. They have been bred to grow over trees, which is why they grow in this manner. Although they are accustomed to shade, they do require intense light. They require light, well-drained, lime-free compost that is also misted with lukewarm, gentle water. In 50 to 55 F, they can relax (10-13 C.). After the winter, give them a little water, feed them once a week with a little fertilizer, and put them in a room with greater temperatures.
There are at least 50 different plant families that can be categorized as succulents. In the summer, they should receive unlimited irrigation, but only when their compost starts to dry out. They can endure wintertime temperatures of about 50 F. (10 C.). Every few weeks during the summer, you should fertilize with a well-diluted fertilizer because they prefer fresh air to humidity.
Succulents, woodland cactus, and desert cacti can all coexist in the same garden. They provide beautiful presentations for your collection of indoor plants. Even if they don’t require much care, you still need to be aware of their likes and needs.
How can I grow my Lithops?
Lithops are adorable miniature succulents. Although it can live for decades, the living stone plant is extremely sensitive to the seasons of the year. A wonderful burst of bright color among the season’s oranges and reds can be found when numerous species flower in the fall.
After going through some of the most popular types, let’s take a closer look at the lithops succulent plant’s life cycle.
A pair of fleshy, succulent leaves that resemble stones and have a crack between them are typically all that can be seen while looking at a lithops above the ground. Most of the plant is located below the soil’s surface.
The leaf surfaces of these succulents include cells that resemble windows that let light penetrate deeply into the plant to support photosynthesis. The main taproot is crucial for the plant’s survival, but a network of smaller roots also aids in absorbing more nutrients as necessary.
Although some species flower in the spring or early summer, lithops typically flower in late autumn or early winter. Pushing up from the space between the two leaves will be a single blossom. Only plants older than 3 years (and occasionally even 5 years) will, however, bear flowers.
Lithops flowers resemble daisies and range in size from half an inch to an inch and a half, depending on the species. It can be white, pale yellow, or orange. Some are said to have a spicy-sweet fragrance.
The early afternoon is when these blooms open to let in sunshine and allow for pollination. The late afternoon, just before dusk, is when they close. Lithops are dependent on human or insect pollinators to produce seed because they are not self-pollinating.
The core of the lithops flower transforms into a seed capsule as it ages. Raindrops can cause seeds to bounce out of the capsule and land up to a foot distant from the parent plant after it opens. This capsule does not open until it has been moistened.
The lithops seed capsule will spontaneously seal when it dries up once more to save any leftover seeds. To simulate rain when trying to collect lithops seeds, drip water onto the seed capsule with a dropper until it reopens, then scoop out the tiny seeds.
The plant will become dormant after flowering is finished. It begins to develop a new body at this period. The new leaf pair will appear from the space between the old leaves as it starts to grow once more.
The plant will eventually move its nutrients and moisture from the old leaves to the new pair. Older leaves will become thinner. They can be removed to reveal the new plant body once they have dried to the point of becoming paper-thin and devoid of moisture.
By producing two leaf pairs rather than just one, lithops can increase in size and eventually grow into a clump of miniature plants.
Types of Lithops
At least 37 species and over 145 variants of lithops are thought to exist. Through hybridization, new varieties are frequently developed or bred.
Here are some of the most popular houseplant variations, however we won’t go over every potential lithops species today.
Lithops aucampiae, which bears Juanita Aucamp’s name, is a species that is native to South Africa. It can be grown in most sandy, incredibly well-draining soils, but it grows naturally in chert, quartzite, ironstone, and sandstone-based soils.
The majority of this type of living stone leans toward the red to red-brown color spectrum, and its flowers range in color from vivid to pale yellow. It is one of the species that can bear occasional wrong watering the best, which makes it very well-liked by gardeners.
Dorothea Huyssteen’s discovery of this species, also from South Africa, led to its name. It is capable of thriving in other grit-filled soils in addition to feldspar, sheared quartz, and quartzite, where it naturally grows.
The leaves of this species are speckled with cream-colored speckles and have a brown or deeper green surface. Every year, it produces a yellow blossom.
Lithops fulviceps, which is native to Namibia, favors rocky terrain and chilly desert settings. Although it may survive on limestone slopes as well, it naturally prefers settings rich in quartzite.
The upper surfaces of the leaves are mottled in shades of orange, brown, green, and occasionally cream, with the sides of the leaves having a greyish-green or yellowish hue. When the leaves are not flowering, they make a tidy oval but when they divide to flower, they resemble kidney beans very much.
A different South African stone plant is lithops hookeri, which prefers quartzite and lava rock along with some limestone to grow on. With leaves that are about two inches broad at its widest point, it can get very big for a living stone plant. It often grows alone, but it can group into clusters of up to 10 leaf pairs.
Its leaves’ upper surfaces can have brownish, red, or pink tones, with hints of orange on occasion. The sides of the leaves frequently have an almost terracotta tone and are dull grey or greyish-brown. Typically, it has vivid yellow flowers.
Lithops karasmontana can mimic the grey and brown tones of nearby quartzite stones, or, in some variants, like var. laricheana, it can grow a vivid red-orange upper leaf. The sides are consistently a shade of brown with a hint of grey.
Although it is native to Namibia, its name refers to the Karas Mountains, which are also present in South Africa. It blossoms into a bloom that is bright white with a yellow center.
The lesliei living stone is the only lithops-type plant that can be found in its natural habitat, which can be found in Botswana and parts of South Africa. The species’ colour varies greatly, with the leaves having hues as diverse as rust or coffee to pale green.
It frequently blends with the color of the soil around it, making it hard to spot, and rarely rises more than a few millimeters above the soil’s surface, furthering its camouflaging abilities. In South Africa, the yellow-flowered plants are frequently gathered for their therapeutic properties.
Lithops localis is a species that can endure insufficient watering practices. The majority of its surface usually has a consistent shade of grey or green-grey. The flat tops of the leaves are speckled with a deeper grey color.
It grows frequently among rocks and shady bushes in the southern Karoo region of South Africa where it is native to hide from predatory animals. It often blooms in the fall because its native location experiences the majority of its rainfall in the summer.
One of the few species that is adapted to winter irrigation is the Namibian species Lithops optica, which lives in a location that receives winter rainfall. Lithops optica var. rubra, which is purplish-pink all over, is the most common variation of this plant.
The blooms with very thin petals are often white or yellow in color. The majority of the plants of the optica species tend to be grey to grey-brown in color and have a highly spherical form, with the exception of the vividly colorful Rubra variant.
The truncate living stone, which originates in southwest Africa, is particularly recognizable. Although the upper leaf surfaces are speckled with cream, olive green, and rust tones, the outside leaf walls have a tendency to be uniformly grey in color.
The truncate living stone is a robust and durable species of lithops, one of the few that is frequently attacked by mealybugs. It frequently survives for months in its natural habitat with no water at all, just absorbing moisture from the air around it.
This specific living stone plant has a colour that closely resembles off-white, grey, or tan rock. While some kinds are a solid cream tint, others are brown or grey with darker streaks that resemble stones.
This specific living stone is also found in Namibia, where it typically dwells in rocky or chilly desert environments.
The habitat that is rich in minerals is where the salt-dwelling living stone naturally occurs, hence its name. It can be found in both Namibia and South Africa, and it is tolerant of improper watering techniques to a certain extent.
The grey to grey-green leaves are more tolerant of dry, cool conditions than some, however they cannot withstand freezes. It blooms in the late summer to early fall with a vivid white or yellow blossom. The Royal Horticultural Society awarded this species the Award of Garden Merit.
This living stone, one of the more recognizable species, frequently develops noticeable red warts on its surface. The colorations of various cultivars can vary, ranging from a reddish to a gray-green tone with the red warting.
Other verruculosa species produce white or yellow blooms, while the “Rose of Texas variant” has flowers with a pink tint. It comes from South Africa.
The green-rock plant is remarkably homogeneous in color and has its origins in a very restricted area of South Africa’s Northern Cape. The main surface has a dark grey-green tone, and the sides are either pure grey, greyish-pink, or grey.
Lithops viridis, which produces yellow blooms with yellow or white centers, is frequently only found in culture in botanical gardens. The greener specimens are some of the most sought-after because of the way they appear to rise from the arid earth as pale green-gray nubs.