Living stones or pebble plants are remarkable species. They look like small pebbles but they are actually succulents! This is the perfect plant that can bring diversity and uniqueness to your ‘greens collection’. Almost everyone at my place has a second look at these intriguing plants!
Unlike the rest of the plants that we have reviewed, these plants are very slow-growing. Their growth becomes stagnant during extremes of climates, whether hot or cold. The only time this plant is not dormant is during the spring.
Living stones or Lithops is native to Southern Africa and Namibia. This clever plant masks itself with the appearance of stones to avoid being eaten by animals! The slit between its leaves is called meristem and is the area where the flowers sprout. It takes shades of cream, grey, or brown that are similar to rocks and pebbles.
Here’s a video for you to visualize these peculiar-looking succulent plants.
Table of Contents
Meet The Living Stone Plant: Basic Knowledge And Origins
|Family Type||Ice plant family; Aizoacaea|
|Size||Up to 0.5-2 feet in height and width|
|Temperature||65-80 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Soil Consistency||Sandy and well-drained|
|Soil pH||Acidic, Alkaline, or neutral|
|Flower Color||White, Yellow, or Orange|
|Common Pests||Thrips, Mealybugs, Aphids|
Varieties Of The Living Stone Plants
This variety has a negligible stem length. Its leaves are paired like an inverted cone.
This one has fleshy leaves that are separated by a crack onto which the flower grows. This variety is a good choice for landscaping.
Juli has gorgeous pink to gray leaves.
Marmorata has marble-patterned leaves with hues of gray and green.
Lithops Optica Rubra
As the name suggests, this variety has an eye-like appearance. The Rubra cultivar gives off gorgeous red and purple colors.
Other species include:
- Lithops karasmontana
- Lithops olivacea
- Lithops pseudotruncatella
- Lithops salicola
- Lithops schwantesii
- Lithops dorotheae
- Lithops fulviceps
- Lithops verruculosa
- Lithops helmutii
- Lithops dinteri
- Lithops hookeri
How To Care For The Living Stone Plant
Living stone plants aren’t high-maintenance plants. However, it is detrimental for the survival of any plant to have basic necessities and adequate growing conditions. These plants are sun-loving and can survive spells of drought!
Mentioned below are a few essential elements for the successful growth of Lithops.
1. Sunlight Exposure
These plants need sunlight all year round or at least 6-7 hours of full sunlight exposure per day. Placing them beside sun-facing windows would do them well.
Lithops require sandy soil that is well-drained. Alternatively, you could use a potting mix formulated for a cactus (since they both are drought-tolerant plants).
Imagine and assess the rainfall pattern of Africa. That is exactly what this plant needs, a watering frequency that mimics the rainfall spells of Africa. Living stones mostly require water during the spring season, when they are growing. During the winter months or harsh summers, they go into a dormant state and hence do not require watering.
Excess water is harmful to the Lithops.
Like the African climate, these plants can survive well in higher temperatures as well. A temperature of 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for the Lithops.
5. Fertilizing Frequency
Since these plants are mostly in a dormant state, they can do well without any fertilizer.
Re-Potting The Living Stone Plant
Lithops has short stems but deep roots, which is why you should plant them in a pot that has a depth of 3-5 inches. To address the issue of drainage, you can use pots or containers with holes. Using clay pots would also allow excess water to evaporate.
These plants are very slow-growing and re-potting is rarely needed. However, if the pot becomes too congested, dig up the plant along with its roots carefully. Place it into another pot with some potting mix, preferably one that is formulated for a cactus.
Challenges And Solutions
Elongated Leaves Or Pale Colored Leaves
This indicates inadequate sunlight exposure. You might have to purchase a light source for your Lithops if your area does not offer enough sunlight.
Rotting Of Roots
This indicates a fungal infection. You must pluck out the infected portion of the plant to avoid the spread of infection.
This indicates over-watering which can be harmful to the survival of Lithops.
Ask Away: The FAQ Section
Lithops can not self-pollinate. These plants are sterile and thus require pollination.
Up to 40-50 years.
These plants have medicinal properties and are thus threatened. They are not yet extinct.