How To Plant Living Stones

There are only a few additional crucial duties involved in taking care of these tiny houseplants, besides being aware of their watering requirements.

  • They should be planted in sand-based potting soil with great drainage. The best soil for lithops is a cactus mix with extra perlite or pumice added. The plant will rot if the soil is very wet. Water in excess might be fatal.
  • The old leaves shrink and dry once the new ones appear. If you choose, you can use a pair of needle-nose pruners to cut them off the plant or remove them in another way. If not, they will gradually disappear on their own.
  • Lithops need a lot of light; the ideal amount is 5 or 6 hours of direct sunlight every day. Ideal windows face south. Every few days, rotate the pot a quarter turn to maintain even growth.
  • Since lithops plants should be kept dry and dormant during the summer heat, if you have a collection of them outside during the summer, place them in a sunny area beneath the eaves of the house or under another cover to protect them from exposure to rainwater. Only when the leaves pucker in the summertime does water lithophy occur. Even then, only use a little water (1 or 2 tablespoons).
  • Lithops don’t require fertilization because they are used to live in “lean” soils with low nutrients.

Where should living stones be planted?

If pollinators are present or you’re willing to manually pollinate the plants using a little paintbrush, Lithops blossoms mature into a seed capsule. For effective cross-pollination, make sure to transfer pollen from one plant to another. It takes the lithops seed 8 to 9 months to mature completely inside the capsule. Pick the capsule up and crack it apart with a hard instrument to release the seed when it is dry but before it cracks open (don’t worry, you won’t harm the seeds inside). Although living stone plants grown from seeds are very easy to germinate, they take several years to reach a flowering maturity.

Make use of a cactus-specific potting mix while planting lithops seeds. Sand should be used to very lightly cover the seeds, and frequent misting with a pump-style mister should be used to maintain moisture. It’s important to prevent the soil’s surface from drying out. Keep a transparent plastic wrap over the pot until the lithops seeds start to sprout, which could take several months.

When growing lithops from seed, you’ll occasionally find fascinating natural hybrids with unusual color patterns that are often distinct from their parents. When the tiny plants are a few months old, divide and pot them.

How are living rocks grown?

Living stones must be hydrated according to a seasonal cycle that simulates the amount of rainfall they would experience in their natural environment. When the plant is dormant in the winter, avoid watering it. Then, as soon as the new leaves start to emerge in the spring, water whenever the soil becomes just a little bit moist.

How do living stones germinate?

A south- or east-facing windowsill is the best location for lithops, as they require a sunny place with at least five hours of direct sunlight each day. Keep in mind that if winter temperatures drop drastically, you might need to remove your lithops from your windowsill.

How to plant lithops

Online purchases of lithops could arrive bare-root, requiring you to plant them yourself. Lithops require a compost that is extremely free-draining, like a cactus compost. To ensure that the compost dries out fast, choose a terracotta container because it is more porous than a plastic or glazed one. You can plant them alone or in groupings.

Propagating lithops

Lithops can be multiplied by seed or division, albeit both methods need a lot of work. Lithops must mature into a cluster over a number of years before being divided. Make sure each component of the plant still has a functional taproot before carefully removing it from the pot and cutting through the roots. Each division should be repotted into a pot that is deep enough to allow the taproot to expand without being compressed.

Prepare a pot with free-draining cactus compost and extra grit to grow lithops from seed. Give the compost some water and let it drain. Cover the area with a thin layer of sand or vermiculite after scattering lithops seeds over it. Until germination takes place, keep somewhat wet; after that, gradually cut down on watering.

How to water lithops

Lithops have a very specific growth cycle, hence they require extremely specific watering. At first, this might appear difficult, but once you get the feel of it, it’s simple.

The development of the new leaves should be taken into account when watering lithops. Each year, Lithops produce new leaves that appear between the two elder leaves before progressively shriveling up (pictured). The watering schedule is determined by the development of these new leaves. The old leaves may not shrivel up properly if you water too soon after the new ones have appeared.

In contrast to most succulents, lithops begin to grow in the fall. Give your lithops a good watering during this time since it coincides with seasonal rains in the wild (early September). Around this time, flowers begin to bloom; keep an eye out for the fissure to open and the bud to emerge. For lithops to flower, they must be at least three years old.

With the new pair of leaves growing inside the old, lithops continue to grow throughout the winter and into the next spring. However, it’s crucial to avoid watering in the winter. The soil should be extremely dry since the new pair of leaves actually grows by taking water from the old pair.

The new leaves emerge in the spring as the old leaves begin to shrink. When the old pair of leaves has fully withered, begin watering once more. Water sparingly, letting the compost dry up in between applications.

Summertime, often the hottest time of year in their native southern African climate, is when lithops go dormant. Then, in early September, when growth resumes, give them a big drink. Avoid watering them during this period.

Growing lithops: problem solving

The primary issue with growing lithops is overwatering or watering at the incorrect time of year. The plants’ markings may also fade in the absence of light. The red spider mite can be a nuisance in greenhouses and conservatories.

When growing living stones from seed, how long does it take?

Since lithops seed resembles dust, seeding needs deft hands; alternatively, the seed can be mixed with silver sand for simpler handling. The optimal seasons to start are fall and spring, and it’s recommended to use a heated propagator or heat mat to keep the seeds’ germination temperature at a constant 20°C. Press the seed into the surface without covering it—seeds need light to germinate—and prepare a mixture of ready-dampened fine grit or sand and high-quality cactus compost that is split in half. Place the seeds in a plastic bag or under a transparent plastic top; after two to three weeks, or whenever the seeds sprout, remove the container. 12–18 months after sowing, leave in place until they are ready for pricking out.

How frequently do I need to water a living stone?

Between May and July, when living stone plants are actively growing, water them every two to three weeks or when the soil becomes dry. At each watering, soak the soil until water begins to drain from the bottom of the container. Wait until the earth is completely dry before watering again.

Do living stones grow new ones?

Why are living stones lithops succulents called? A: Lithops succulents resemble stones in appearance but are actually a living, breathing plant.

Do Lithops succulents reproduce? A: When lithops succulents divide into two “stones,” or plants, they will naturally grow more.

How can I determine if my lithops are on their last legs? A: Succulents are robust, enduring plants that can withstand extreme heat; yet, cultivating them in a domestic setting can be difficult, particularly if you reside in an unfavorable region.

The two worst killers of succulents are excessive watering and insufficient sunlight. A surplus of water can lead to rotting. Succulents called lithops prefer not to be overwatered.

The following warning indicators indicate that your plant is failing:

  • Yellowing
  • leafy mushrooms
  • Wilting
  • Shriveling
  • Sunburn
  • broken leaves

When your lithops plant splits, should you water it? A: You should stop watering your lithops plant as soon as you observe it splitting. This is so that the new plant can grow properly, which requires absorbing all of the moisture from the old plant’s leaves. A splitting plant can be kept hydrated and full by being watered, which will eventually stop the splitting.

A: Can lithops be grown inside? Yes, lithops are a distinctive addition to your home, and they can flourish if they are grown in a sunny area of the building.

Are lithops uncommon? A: Lithops have very slow growth. Their seeds may take up to a year to germinate, and it might be difficult to propagate this plant. Lithops plants are uncommon as a result of the interaction of these characteristics; after all, they resemble flowering stones that emerge from the soil surface!

Why are my lithops getting wrinkled? A: If lithops are submerged or are exposed to excessive or insufficient sunshine, they may wrinkle. If you see that your lithops plant is beginning to wrinkle, you should relocate it to a new spot in your house or yard and alter your watering routine.

Does my lithops plant require pruning? A: Lithops don’t require pruning, but you should refer to a lithops pruning guide to determine what needs to be done if you think your plant is looking untidy. Lithops resemble stones, hence the plant keeps quite compact.

How to Repot Lithops “Living Stones”

Known as “alive stones,” “living rocks,” and “blooming stones,” lithops are mimicry plants. In order to avoid being eaten by animals during periods of drought in their native habitat of southern Africa, these strange succulent plants have evolved to resemble stones and rocks. In part motivated by the book Toad Cottages and Shooting Stars, I recently presented one to my nephew in the hope that the plant would inspire something in him. I was phoned and told the plant had fallen out of the pot before he could receive it. I was given the job of repotting the Lithops plant because I’m the family’s resident expert on indoor plants.

Yes, what you see here are the plant’s leaves, and this is actually a plant. Lithops must carry out photosynthesis on a small piece of the plant’s top that is exposed above earth as they grow mostly submerged.

They are from a dry region, so For such tiny plants, lithops have taproots that are relatively lengthy. In addition to helping plants get more firmly rooted in the ground, taproots also aid in allowing moisture to reach lower in the surrounding soil. When selecting a pot for your Lithops plants, use one that is deeper; 3-5 inches should be adequate depth. Keep in mind that Lithops are native to regions with little rainfall, where they store moisture in their leaves.

You should choose a quick-draining, grittier soil mixture. I’m using a bonsai mixture because I think succulent plants go well with it. For a succulent like Lithops, I believe commercial cactus and succulent potting mixtures include too much organic material. To make room for the taproot and tapered body of the plant, poke a hole in the dirt with your finger after nearly filling the pot to the brim.

You’re done when you insert the Lithops into the hole made by your finger and compact the earth around the plant. Lithops are quite simple to pot, or in this case, repot. At this time, save watering your Lithops for when they really need it. When you try to simulate how Lithops would develop in the natural by scattering stones and pebbles of all sizes among your plant, you can really understand the mimicry of the species.

Living stone plants are the perfect succulents for growing on windowsills where they may be admired because of their little size, peculiar forms, and clumping behavior as they age. Lithops require full sunlight, which means they need at least six hours every day of direct sunlight. In the summer, I would keep one in an east-facing window where it receives some daily direct sunlight. Moving them to the south-facing window in the winter reduces the risk of them burning and provides additional light. When new leaves are forming on your Lithops from winter to spring, avoid watering them. The live rock plant is currently utilizing the moisture that is stored in the aging leaves that will be replaced. When the plant is extremely dry in the summer and fall, watering is done. As in the instance of my Argyroderma delaetii, living stone plants that receive too much water split. A word of warning: if you become hooked on cultivating live stones, you can also get hooked on rock hunting.

How far should Lithops plants be buried?

  • Plant your Lithops in shallow dish planters that are 3 to 5 inches deep to accommodate their tap roots and display them. Add a finishing touch with gravel or stones that imitate the plants.
  • Terrariums shouldn’t be used to grow Lithops since the humidity there is too high for these natives of dry climates.
  • Old, deteriorating leaves should not be removed because the plant is still collecting moisture from them. They will ultimately separate on their own.
  • Lithops should never freeze.

Can Lithops seeds be grown easily?

Learn to raise lithops; they will not let you down. As long as a few simple guidelines are followed, these intriguing “living stone” plants have adapted to life in captivity quite well.

They are among the succulent house plants that have successfully adapted to growing indoors.

Although they can be grown quite easily, these xerophytes can be picky about their soil, temperature, time of day, and watering requirements.

It won’t take you long to develop a passion with cultivating them once you understand the fundamental requirements.

In a climate-controlled setting, such a greenhouse, lithops thrive in shallow containers.

See how these amazing plants change with the seasons

Since they won’t need it all day, they should be shielded from the sun starting at noon.

They will favor a bright, filtered light source, such as those found under grow lights, behind sheer curtains, or beneath shade cloth.

When you do water them, give them a good soaking so the earth is totally soaked. After that, let the soil totally dry out.