Lithops 3 Golder Rules Of Cultivating

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Lithops Are Amazing Rock Resembling Plants

Easy-care lithops need very little water, lots of sun. Lithops are the best when there is no room on the windowsill for anything but the tiniest of plants. They are so incredibly minuscule that you have to look closely to find them.

Simple to grow, lithops nevertheless live by strict rules. Lithops, or “living stones,” are succulents from the driest regions of Africa. These unique plants have adapted grudgingly to western world cultivation but are very unforgiving about excess moisture.

Many had tried growing lithops at great expense only to be disappointed in the extreme when the plants did not adapt to the type of care they received.

How to Grow and Care for Lithops

There are only a few rules to make lithops survive happily. The primary rule is never to water them in winter — ever!

I know that when these tiny plants — the size and shape of small pebbles — are given no water, they can fade up alarmingly. However, if they are to remain alive, adherence to Rule No.1 must be strictly obeyed.

It is not uncommon to give lithops water only twice a year. They can survive up to two years without any water at all. When you do water, do it by the tablespoon, not by the cupful. Most growers will send information on watering and care with the sale of lithops.

Rule No. 2 is not as tough; these plants must have a sunny window or supplemental light. If there is no natural light fluorescent lights can be used to augment the light requirements.

Lighting is not as critical in the winter months between November and March, but the lighting becomes more critical after that. As new growth is observed, move the plants to the highest light possible.

Rule No. 3 is the simplest; fresh air must be provided for lithops to feel well. When humidity is high, this can become a real problem for lithops. If you lack access to the warm, frost-free outdoors, a fan will do the trick.

Just set the fan to low and keep it a moderate distance from the plants. Keep in mind that the fan will also dry out the air in the house. Do not try to compensate by adding moisture; this only defeats the purpose.

Propagation And Repotting

Lithops tend to have a fissure that appears to be splitting the plant in half. However, these are its leaves. From the crack, new plants and daisy-like flowers emerge.

In February, new plants will begin to emerge from this opening. Once these begin to show new growth, they should be given as much light as possible and no water until the old body shrivels and dries completely. The dry skin should shrink into the soil gradually and disappear.

When repotting lithops, the plants require at least an eight-centimeter (three-inch) depth, planted in a clay pot. Cactus soil is adequate. The roots should be below the soil, and grit should be applied to the top to support the plant’s body.

Even after you do everything right, there are the odd ones that don’t make it. Do not get discouraged.

There are excellent websites and posting boards available for lithops.

There are so many different species of lithops out there that most people feel compelled to add new ones each year.

You may want to try growing them from seed as this procedure can get you into collecting more economically. Lithops are more challenging than other plants but are well worth the effort.

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