Where To Buy Lithops In Canada

Lithops are little, intriguing plants native to southern Africa that are rather simple to grow inside. William John Burchell made the initial discovery of the Lithops in 1811 while on a botanical expedition in southern Africa. He came uncovered a strange-looking brown stone with a fracture running across its surface while exploring the Northern Cape Province, not far from the town of Prieska. This odd-looking stone proved out to be a succulent plant upon closer investigation. Due to their resemblance to stones, these members of the Mesembryanthemaceae (Aizoaceae) plant family were given the names lithos and opsis. Because they resemble tiny hoofprints, these plants are called locally by the Afrikaans names beeskloutjie (cattle hoof), skaappootjie (sheep hoof), or perdeklou (horse’s hoof). Even for those with a trained eye and years of experience, it can be challenging to spot Lithops in their native habitats in Namibia and South Africa because they have evolved to blend in so well with their surroundings—looking exactly like the sand and stones they live among in shape, size, and color.

Lithops are found in dry locations in colonies that are widely spaced apart and poorly populated. The word has both a singular and a plural form. In regions where Lithops are found, there is often less than 20 millimeters of rain per year, with the majority falling in the spring and fall. A few species rely on mist or fog as their primary supply of moisture, and some are found in regions with an average annual rainfall of four or less. They can grow on quartz grit or gravely flats, stony ridges and hills of sand, decomposed granite, quartzite, shale, schist, and limestone, as well as in many different types of environments. The Nama Karoo and succulent Karoo are home to the vast majority of Lithops species, which are particularly prevalent along the Orange River basin in the Northern Cape, which spans between Namibia and western South Africa.

Due to their ability to store water, virtually the entire plant of lithops is devoted to this purpose, they may survive in these dry places. Each plant is made up of two succulent leaves that have been fused together to form an inverted cone (although some species will produce multi-headed plants). The separation between the two leaves is represented by the fissure at the plant’s top. The taproot unites abruptly at the base of the leaves; there is no stem. The plants can go months without rain because to their large, water-storing leaves. They shrivel and shrink below the soil level during dry spells (nearly always).

These tiny succulents, which have almost no stems, are partially underground. In their natural habitat, plants only reach heights of 1/2 to 1 and widths of 1 to 3 inches, growing flush with the ground. The effects of the strong heat and sunlight where they live are reduced by remaining small and maintaining a low profile. However, this also creates a challenge in illuminating the leaf cells’ subterranean chlorophyll, which is used for photosynthetic activity. Wide leaf tips have windowed cells that allow light to enter the interior of the leaf, where it is diffused before reaching the chlorophyll, which is dispersed throughout the interior leaf edges, in order to resolve this paradox.

There are at least 37 species of Lithops, and more than 145 different variants have been identified. Although they all appear relatively similar to one another, they differ largely in terms of body shape, patterns, color, and texture. They are available in several soft shades of gray, brown, rust, green, and pink. The patterns of dots, lines, or patches on the upper surface, which aid in their ability to replicate their surroundings, vary considerably. Where the markings occur, there can also be dimples or indentations. The windows may completely enclose most of the leaf surfaces or the marks may densely cover the leaf surface.

The majority of Lithops bloom in the late fall and early winter, giving out numerous-petaled daisy-like yellow, pale orange, or white blooms. On sunny days, the blooms bloom in the afternoon and close again in the late afternoon. The crack between the leaves is where the flowers appear. There are perfumed flowers. Depending on the species and circumstances, they can be anywhere between 1/2 to 11/2 inches in size.

Because lithops are self-sterile, pollination is required to create seed. The hydrochastic 4–8 chambered fruiting capsule, which protects the seed, only opens when moistened, revealing the tiny seeds. In the natural world, raindrops splash out seeds up to a few feet or up to an inch from the parent plant. Any seeds still inside the capsule are protected until the following rain when the capsule closes after drying.

Following flowering, the plant enters a dormant stage during which at least one new body grows. As the new leaves emerge in the spring, the plants begin to reabsorb the old ones. Eventually, the crack between the old leaves is where the new body emerges. The new leaves’ fissure forms at a roughly 90-degree angle to the existing fissure. The old leaves eventually decompose into a dry, papery sheath on the side of the new body. At this point, a lot of plants will also divide to create many leaf pairs, which will eventually cause a single body to resemble a little cluster.

Lithops are common novelty houseplants because they can survive in low humidity, require little maintenance and water, and are reasonably simple to grow. These plants don’t require much space due to their modest size and sluggish, compact growth. Lithops live for 40 to 50 years on average. A plant can easily be kept in the same pot for ten or twenty years. Lithops are not harmful to people or animals. (Some references even mention African youngsters consuming these plants to relieve their thirst.) In cultivation, their health is reliant on adequate bright light, effective soil drainage, and appropriate watering.

Although a greenhouse is recommended, lithops can be grown effectively on a sunny windowsill where they get about 4 to 5 hours of direct sunlight in the morning and some shade in the afternoon. The optimum site is typically a southern window, while an unobstructed eastern exposure is a fine alternative. A plant will start to grow elongated and skinny, lean to one side to get more light, lose color and turn greenish, and eventually die if better circumstances are not provided. However, take care when transferring a plant suddenly to a brighter location. It could suffer deadly injuries from sunburn.

Similar to cactus, lithops demand well-drained soil. Use specialized cactus potting soil or add sharp sand, perlite, decomposed granite, or other grit to standard houseplant potting soil to help with drainage. These plants require a larger container than their apparent size would suggest because of their enormous root systems. To provide the roots enough room to expand, pots with drain holes and a depth of 3 to 5 inches are advised. Instead of having the plant’s top directly on the soil’s surface as it would in nature, place it just a little bit above it. For a more natural appearance, several growers topdress the plant with gravel or surround it with stones. Lithops go through a yearly cycle of growth, and it’s important to water them just when necessary and let the soil dry up at other times. The main factor contributing to early death is overwatering. They decay or grow new bodies at the incorrect time of year when there is too much water present. They grow stunted if there is little water. Depending on how rapidly the potting media dries out, you need to water more frequently. Generally speaking, water the plant and let it air dry fully (probably 1-2 weeks). After that, wait a few more days before watering once more. If unsure, don’t! The optimum time to water is in the morning because this allows the extra water to drain and the top soil layers to dry off pretty fast. Here are some general watering recommendations (however species may affect them slightly):

  • from late spring to summer, water.
  • Stop watering the plant in the summer when it turns dormant. Only water until the top half inch of the soil is moist if the plant truly starts to shrivel. This will restore the plant’s firm appearance.
  • Watering should be resumed in late summer or early fall when plants begin to develop and bloom again. When the slit between the leaves starts to open up in anticipation of flowering, that is the first indication of growth.
  • Lithops need to be completely dry during the winter and spring. Stop watering the plant so that the old leaf pair can dry out and make way for the new pair. The new body should be discernible by early April. Once the remains of the previous body have totally dried out and shriveled, watering can be resumed. The plant won’t grow properly if water is given too soon since the old “leaves” will want to continue to grow. Keep in mind that when the new leaves are developing, the old ones should completely dry out.

Fertilize Use a low nitrogen, high potassium kind of lithops. Lithops can withstand extremely high temperatures provided there is sufficient abundance of fresh air. Don’t ever let the plants freeze.

Today, specialty succulent nurseries sell seeds, plants, and a wide variety of cultivars. They sprout from seeds swiftly, and under ideal circumstances, they can be anticipated to flower in 3 to 4 years. The seeds should be sown on sandy soil during the summer and covered with a very thin layer of fine sand. Water the small seeds sparingly to avoid moving them. Keep the contents damp but not soggy and place the container in a warm, sunny location. In a few weeks, the first seeds should begin to sprout (but germination may be spread out over a long period of time, with stragglers taking as long as a year). Once the seedlings are growing quickly, watering should be reduced such that the upper 1/4 of the medium dries out and the lower 1/4 remains moist. Water sparingly during this time because too much watering could dampen off the seedlings. Start allowing the plants totally dry out for a few days between waterings when they are 2 to 3 months old, and then gradually extend the drying period. When the baby plants are around a year old, they can be transplanted. Another way to multiply lithops is to divide a multiheaded plant. Lift the plant, make a clean incision through the roots, and then quickly replant it. University of Wisconsin-Madison student Susan Mahr

Could Lithops endure the winter?

Lithops are unusual succulent plants that are only found in southern Africa. They are sometimes known as living stones or pebble plants. These tiny plants have a rock-like appearance. They thrive in arid environments with little rain and typically go for long periods of time without being irrigated. When there hasn’t been rain in a while, lithops in a desert store and consume dew or mist water to stay alive.

The camouflage is another factor that helps lithops survive. These live stones resemble two leaves connected together with a little opening for further leaves and flowers (if it has one). There are several tiny “holes” or “gaps” on top of the leaves. These are known as epidermal windows. These windows’ various hues and designs enable the lithops to use more sunlight to generate energy through photosynthesis.

These designs and hues also aid in creating camouflage so that the rocks can blend in with surrounding boulders and conceal from local animals that can consume lithops. Lithops, often known as living stones, have just two leaves. In order to avoid becoming burnt, they frequently stay low to the ground, sometimes even below the dirt. All of this is necessary in order to exist, whether in arid, dry environments or in hot climates without wasting too much water.

The first lithops were found in 1811 and taken to Europe and then America nearly a century later. People adore these plants because they are small, adorable, and highly distinctive—not to mention easy to maintain. So let’s begin learning about living stones, also known as lithops, and how to plant, tend to, water, and even multiply them! The use of lithops for terrariums will then be covered.

What is the ideal temperature for lithops (living stones)?

In order to keep the lithops warm indoors after purchase, you should choose the ideal location for them. As we’ve already stated, lithops prefer warm weather. The temperature in their habitats can occasionally reach 50 Celsius (122 Fahrenheit)!

In the winter (January to March), they do best at temperatures of 12 to 15 degrees Celsius (53-59 Fahrenheit). The minimum ideal temperature, however, is a low of 8 Celsius (47 F), if you are unable to provide them with this temperature. Don’t water them at all in the winter, and make sure the air is dry. Any high temperature throughout the summer should be OK, but try to keep it at least at 25 °C (77 F). In tropical and warm regions, everything will be different (we will cover that in next questions).

Where should I keep my lithops?

Keep your lithops in a location that is very well illuminated. The plant should receive a few hours of direct sunlight each day, and the temperature should be ideal. If you choose to leave it outside, be careful to cover it from the rain so that it doesn’t get overwatered or watered when it shouldn’t be. Lithops can also be kept in a greenhouse, but not one with a lot of humidity or where there won’t be any direct sunshine. One of the best locations for direct sunshine for a few hours every day can be on the southern side of your home, next to the window. In the absence of direct sunlight, indirect light also performs best.

Lithops leaves are dry. When should I remove lithops’ (living stone’s) leaves?

Leaves on lithops shouldn’t be removed until they are completely dry and beginning to fall off. It is time to take them out when they begin to resemble dry crusts or shells. A new pair of leaves ought to have formed by then. In the winter (November or December), new leaves frequently begin to grow and are finished by spring. You should let them dry fully because lithops utilise the water contained in the old leaves to grow new ones. To remove them, use tweezers, wait until the first signs of spring.

How much direct sun do lithops need?

If you can, try giving your lithops three hours per day of direct sunlight. The plant should then be removed and placed in the shade to prevent burning. If there was minimal direct sunshine during the winter, gradually increase sunlight exposure in the spring. Your lithops will get sunburns and scars if you don’t. The sudden influx of sunlight after a period of low sunlight in the winter could burn your plant and possibly kill it. Take your time and progressively extend the daylight hours. To get there, daily add 10 minutes.

What are life cycles of lithops? And what do they mean?

Your lithops go through phases of growth. Winter (from January to March) is a time of rest when plants’ leaves grow and require no water. The trick is to not water them at all since lithops utilise the water they accumulated before winter. The following season is growth (April to June), a time when plants grow and require water. Then comes the flower-blooming season, which lasts from July to October and occurs at the tail end of autumn. The only thing to keep in mind is that fresh lithops won’t have flowers until they have grown for three to four years. Old leaves begin to dry out and new ones begin to emerge over the months of November to December.

If you grow your lithops in a tropical or hot climate, everything may be different. The cycle for lithops may alter if your climate has a very hot summer and a cool winter. The main distinction is that lithops won’t need any watering in the summer because they are dormant throughout that season (much like in their natural habitat). Then, the growing season will begin in the fall and go until April. They require more water at this time.

When and how often should I water lithops (living stones)?

When watering lithops, use caution. There is a good possibility that your lithops’ roots may rot and the plant will die if you overwater it. Unfortunately, that is one of the most common errors made by novice keepers. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you should never water your lithops in the winter. Lithops use all the water they have accumulated over the course of the preceding months in order to live in the winter and spring. When their leaves begin to dry out and transform into papery shells, you will be able to observe this in action. You shouldn’t remove these leaves until they are completely dry; then, you may begin watering your lithops about once every two weeks. This should happen around April, when the leaves are beginning to grow. Shells can be taken off using tweezers.

The best method is to mist the ground surrounding the plant itself, avoiding getting water in the spaces between the leaves or on top of them. By doing this, you can prevent their epidermal windows from opening, preventing them from receiving much sunlight.

Utilizing a spray mister pump, which evenly mists water all around the plant, is one of the additional ways to water your lithops. It is especially helpful if you have multiple plants that you keep throughout your home on various shelves or locations. Never water your lithops in the winter since they use water that has been stored.

You should water your living stones by taking the pot and dipping it into the warm water when the lithops are growing, which is in the middle of spring or from April to June (optional). If spraying, begin with a little mist and gradually increase the watering. Additionally, ensure sure the soil dries quickly and thoroughly and doesn’t retain any moisture. Soil must be entirely dry before watering lithops once more. The plant will rot without water. By feeling the soil and watering your lithops at the appropriate season, you may determine whether they need water.

Are there any diseases or pests that can hit lithops?

Yes. You need to exercise caution since certain pests, like gnats, spider mites, and certain fungi, can harm your living stones. If you find any signs of something (such as scars, blotches, or vermin), use insecticide to get rid of them.

Which soil should I use for my lithops (living stones)?

Clay soil, quartz sand, and gardening pumice should be mixed in equal amounts to provide the ideal soil for lithops. Pebbles can also be used to cover the soil’s surface. Lithops fertilizers should have extremely little nitrogen.

As cacti are also succulents, you can purchase ready-made cacti soil and mix with sand in a 2:1 ratio. Stones or pebbles can be added on top as well.

Where should I plant my lithops?

In a small dish that is approximately 5-6 inches (12.5-15 cm) high, place your lithops. Drainage holes must be present in the dish. On top of lithops that have been planted, you should also add some rocks and coarse sand. You may notice your lithops camouflaging by putting rocks close by.

Are lithops toxic? Can you eat lithops?

Despite not being poisonous, lithops should not be consumed. If you’re using an insecticide that contains toxic ingredients, this is very risky.

How to propagate lithops?

Cuttings are a viable method of lithops propagation. Only if your original lithops produces two heads, each of which produces a new pair of leaves, may you elect to use cuttings. After that, this tiny bud will develop into a new lithops plant and contain a fresh set of leaves. If you don’t have this choice, lithops can be multiplied using seeds. The seeds must be germination. You can either purchase the seeds or pollinate the blossoms to obtain the seeds.

When two plants are pollinated when they are both in bloom, the result is seeds that must subsequently be sown. You can alternatively buy already germination-ready seeds and do it yourself. Typically, the procedure takes 15 days. Also keep in mind that lithops won’t bloom for around 3 years after you plant new ones from the seeds.