Lithops Lithops (living Stones) - Care, Flowering, Reproduction, Transplant

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Lithops Lithops (living Stones) - Care, Flowering, Reproduction, Transplant
Lithops Lithops (living Stones) - Care, Flowering, Reproduction, Transplant
Video: Lithops Lithops (living Stones) - Care, Flowering, Reproduction, Transplant
Video: Living Stones : How I take care of my Lithops 🍑💕 2023, February

Aizoon family. Homeland South Africa. In nature, there are more than 60 species.


  • Lithops - care and cultivation
  • Life cycle of lithops
  • Soil and transplant of lithops
  • Reproduction of lithops

Lithops in nature live on rocky and desert areas, merging with the surrounding landscape, sometimes completely immersed in sand or stones, this determines the peculiarities of their structure. The body of each plant consists of one or more pairs of swollen fleshy, almost fused at the base of the leaves, oppositely attached without a petiole to the root, they do not have a stem as such. The severe lack of water in the desert requires that young plants "save" on plant tissue and are limited to only two leaves and a root system. The leaves are thick, capable of storing enough water for the plant to survive during a month of dry season.


In the hollow between the leaves, there are meristem cells, from which flowers and new leaves are formed. From the sides they are gray-green, from above they are lighter - partially or completely translucent leaf windows. Often the leaves are entirely below the surface of the soil and only leaf windows remain in the light - it is through them that the processes of gas exchange and photosynthesis take place. Lithops' mimicry: their shape, size and color make them look like small stones in their natural habitat, and the name "living stones" is fully justified. However, among these succulents there is a huge variety in size and color, the shape of the leaf gap; the size and color of flowers. Here are some common household types:

  • Lithops beautiful Lithops bella - forms a group of several pairs of identical "stone" leaves, up to 3 cm high and up to 2.5 in diameter. The color of the leaves is brownish-yellow. The flowers are white, sometimes with a slight aroma.
  • Lithops divided by Lithops divergens - forms a group of several pairs of leaves, not of the same size from 1 to 3 cm in height. The gap between a pair of leaves is deep. The leaves are green, on the upper, slightly sloping surface with large gray-green spots. The flowers are yellow.
  • Lithops salicola Lithops salicola - forms a whole campaign of several pairs of gray leaves, about 2-2.5 cm in height and the same diameter. The gap between a pair of leaves is not deep. The upper surface is almost flat, olive green with dark green spots. The flowers are white.
living stones
living stones

Lithops pseudo-truncated Lithops pseudotruncatella - forms a small group of several pairs of leaves, not the same size from 1 to 3 cm in height and from 1 to 3 cm in diameter. The gap between a pair of leaves is deep. Leaves are gray, brownish or pinkish. On the upper, practically flat upper surface, there is a linear or dotted dark pattern. The flowers are bright yellow

Lithops contain toxic substances and pose a danger to young children, who are still at the age when they pull everything in their mouth to try.

By the way, in addition to the genus Lithops, plants of the closely related genus Pleiospilos Pleiospilos have a similar appearance of living stones. They differ in the hemispherical shape of the leaves, as if swollen, and in addition, they form vegetative shoots from the root system, therefore one plant can consist of several shoots, lithops do not form such shoots. Pleiospilos is called living granite.

Lithops - care and cultivation

Temperature: During the period of active growth from February-March to autumn, the usual room temperature. In winter, the rest period is at a temperature of 10-12 ° C, at least 8 ° C, with a dry content. Growing lithops from May to September in the fresh air hardens the plants, makes them stronger and promotes better flowering.

lithops from seeds
lithops from seeds

Lighting: Lithops require 4 or 5 hours of direct sunlight in the morning, and partial shade in the afternoon. Flowers open in the afternoon when the light starts to dim. Ideal for growing a south or southeast window. Some species require very light shade at noon, which can be done with a thin veil or mosquito net. Shading is also necessary for lithops, who did not receive enough light for some time (in winter), and the sudden spring sun can cause burns. At the same time, if there is no sun for 5-6 days, living stones begin to lose weight and stretch, the lateral part of the leaves acquires a darker shade, the plants may die. Lamps for lighting are suitable fluorescent or LED. They should be placed no further than 10 cm from the plants, and seedlings at a distance of 5-7 cm.

Lithops who survived a cloudy winter should be taught to the spring sun gradually if they grow on the southern window. On the east and west windows, they do not face sunburn from habit, and the north window is generally not suitable for growing "living stones".

How to Water Lithops: Never let water get on the leaves and into the hollow between them. You can make the upper drainage from small pebbles, so that the lower part of the lithops leaves and the upper part of the roots are in the stones, and not in the ground. Watering from a pallet will not completely protect you from excess moisture, since the soil may become too saturated with water. For novice lovers of "live stones", watering from a sump can be too risky: if you pour a little water, it will not reach the roots, if a lot - the likelihood of flooding increases.

Watering Lithops in cycles: The main and most important factor that must be considered in caring for these succulents. Lithops have a specific annual growth cycle. Moisture is only necessary at certain stages of the cycle, and it is equally important to keep the soil dry during dormancy and hibernation.

Lithops are perennial plants that grow a new pair of leaves each year. Active growth - from the end of winter, and in late spring or early summer, living stones begin to hibernate. With colder nights approaching and day length shrinking, lithops are ready to bloom. After it is over, the old leaves will release new ones. Their slow growth continues throughout the winter. Those. this is not a state of complete dormancy, as in many cold wintering plants (cacti and other succulents), but a very slow growing season.

Life cycle of lithops

Phase 1

With the beginning of summer, lithops stop growing and go into a dormant state - in their natural habitat, this is necessary for the sake of survival, in order to rest during a long period of intense heat. At this time, there is practically no rain, the plants use the water that they have accumulated and stored during the growing season. They are not watered, but if the leaves begin to wrinkle, then you can water it once very sparingly and carefully - pour enough water to moisten only the top 1 cm of soil, no more. If watered as usual, the roots and leaves quickly rot and the plant dies. From the beginning of August, instead of watering, you can start spraying lithops in the morning with very fine water dust, imitating the dew that falls in the desert after cold nights. The amount of moisture isso that the plants are completely dry after half an hour and the remains of water in the gap between the leaves are strictly unacceptable - if it does not rot, it will cause a burn in the sun!

Phase 2

From about mid-August, we begin watering, gradually increasing it. The usual watering regime for lithops should be abundant, but rare, with drying. The fact is that these succulents have a taproot that goes deep into the ground, and precipitation is abundant in the desert, spilling the soil well. But after watering, the next time the soil should dry out thoroughly. Moreover, dry out quite quickly, and this is achieved by drawing up the correct soil. A period of abundant moisture stimulates new growth in living stones. It manifests itself in the fact that the gap between the leaves begins to increase, diverge to the sides and a bud appears from it. True, lithops bloom only at the age of three, sometimes five years. With the end of flowering, the old leaves completely disperse, and a new pair of leaves appears. They grow and thickenon one root at a certain moment there are two pairs of leaves. Old - serve as a source of nutrients and water for new growth. With the end of flowering, regular watering is reduced again so that the plants smoothly move to the winter dormant period.

Phase 3

This period at home is a forced one, since there is always not enough light during the winter months. In nature, plants in this phase are also in a period of slow growth. The process of changing leaves is called molting - it is very characteristic, as if the old skin is from a lizard, old leaves are peeling off new ones, but not in a month or two, but practically throughout the entire autumn and winter. New leaves grow and pour slowly, gradually shrivel, giving off moisture to the old ones. The temperature during this period is optimal about 10-12 ° C and watering stops completely. Dew does not fall during this period, so you can forget about moisturizing. Since the growing season and the processes of photosynthesis in winter continue, the plants need very good lighting, if you do not have a south window, you should connect lamps.

Phase 4

By the end of winter, the old pair of leaves completely squeezed themselves out for the sake of the life of the new ones, it turns into two translucent skins. New leaves should be succulent with a characteristic species color. Do not rip off or chuck off old leaves until they have completely wither. Watering is resumed when the old leaves become paper thin. Gradually, the amount of moisture increases and by the end of March, when there is a lot of sun, spring is in full swing, watering as usual (abundant with drying). By the end of May, watering decreases again. The annual cycle ends.

lithops flowering
lithops flowering

When grown at home in lithops, the development cycle does not always strictly correspond to the above plan, sometimes it shifts and flowering occurs not in autumn, but in the middle of summer, it also depends on weather conditions, and on how and how much the plants were supplemented in winter, possibly new ones the leaves will complete development faster.

Soil and transplant of lithops

It is necessary to transplant live stones into pots of such a height that the straightened roots fit completely, the width depends on the number of plants in one container, it is better to plant in a group at a distance of about 2 cm between specimens, while no more than 3-5 plants per pot - for such small groups easier to care for than when planted in large numbers. And according to the observations of flower growers, lithops grow worse as single plants in individual pots. Perhaps this is due to the temperature of the moist soil, it can be assumed that moist soil is colder in a small pot than in a wide bowl, and this is a significant factor. Lithops do not like hypothermia of the roots, especially in dampness - in nature, the surrounding stones and soil warm up well in a day and retain heat for a long time, and the soil dries out quickly.

By the way, drainage is not needed in clay pots. Sometimes lithops are planted in plastic cactus, which are deeper than required. In such, you need to pour a layer of drainage, for example, from pieces of foam or expanded clay. Soil for lithops: 1 part of light turf soil (or leafy soil from under birches and lindens), 1 part of coarse sand or very fine gravel (1-2 mm). If you are using store-bought cactus soil, then add 1 part gravel chips to 2 parts of it. Thus, the substrate for lithops is prepared as for cacti, only with a greater proportion of sand and gravel. Do not forget to disinfect the soil mixture before planting, for example, by keeping it on a baking sheet in a preheated oven for half an hour.

Lithops must be placed so that the rod root is completely straightened in height, does not bend or break; three quarters of the leaves remained above the soil level, the rest was covered with an upper drainage of coarse gravel or river or decorative stones 5-7 mm in size - i.e. voids, air pockets between the stone embankment are large.

If you bought a Dutch Lithops, then most likely it is planted in regular peatland, in which any tropical plants can be grown, but not succulents. Such soil is unevenly wetted, and after wetting it holds water for a long time, as a result, sooner or later, living stones rot. Therefore, they must be transplanted with a complete soil replacement. First, lithops must be thoroughly watered, the roots soaked - it is easier to free them from the ground when wet. Then carefully select the peat fibers using a wooden toothpick. After planting in fresh soil (straighten the roots vertically, do not tamp the earth) do not water for several days.

Top dressing: Lithops are not needed, provided that the plants are transplanted into fresh soil annually. If succulents have not been transplanted for more than two years, you can use fertilizer for cacti and then, in a dosage half the recommended dosage. And in general, fertilizers only harm.

lithops from seeds
lithops from seeds

Humidity: Lithops tolerate dry air well, and spraying can be used as humidification during the transition from dormancy to new growth.

Reproduction of lithops

The only way to reproduce is by seed in early spring. You can buy seeds from the store or get your own. Lithops are easily pollinated by hand: if there are two separate flowering plants, pollen is transferred from one flower to another with a brush. Ripening of fruits and ripening of seeds lasts about 9 months. The seeds are small, it is better to sow on the sand. Humidify with a spray bottle. At an average temperature of 25 ° C, fresh seeds of Lithops germinate well within 7-10 days. Seedlings grow slowly, true leaves appear only 4-6 months after germination.

The first year they are not touched, leaving in the same bowl where they were sown, and the next year after molting, they are dived into new soil (a mixture of universal soil and gravel chips or sand). The secret of healthy seedlings is growth in the first month in conditions of high air humidity (in a greenhouse with mandatory ventilation) and good lighting.

For illustrations used photographs of Alyonushka, Manga, Koziava, ritka, JuliJulia, andre11561

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