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A picture of a Living Stones

Living Stones

Lithops spp.

Also known as

Pebble Plant, Stone Plant

Full Sun
Moderate care
Light watering
Tender

H2-H1a

RHS hardiness

1°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

3cm

Max

5cm

1cm

Min

1cm

Flowering

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images of Living Stones

Lithops species1000
Lithops francisci-IMG 0401
Lithops spp - JBM
Lithops julii 001 GotBot 2015

Living Stones Overview

Lithops is genus containing around 35 succulent species. They are subterranean in their growth habit and often the top leaves are only just visible above the soil. The stone-like appearance of these succulent plants helps them to avoid being eaten, by blending in with surrounding rocks, hence the common names Living Stones and Stone Plants. Grow in bright, full sun. They come in a variety of patterns and colours and produce bright, daisy-like blooms. Lithops have a distinct seasonal cycle which care should attempt to match to avoid mushy succulents and much disappointment. Don't treat them as any other succulent, watering should be completely stopped during the summer as they have a strong dormancy period during this time. They will experience rainfall in late spring-early summer and again in late summer-early autumn, these are the optimal growing periods for Lithops. preferring to be kept completely dry during the winter and main summer period. If they are looking particularly wrinkly, a very small amount of water can be given and they should soon plump up. Care should be taken to only water when they have thoroughly dried out and only when they are actively growing during spring and autumn. Lithops typically flower at the end of summer into autumn. Pot in an extremely well-draining mix, heavy on the grit, sand, rocks and perlite to increase drainage. It is best to repot just before or during one of the growing seasons in spring or autumn, prior to watering as watering after repotting can help establish their root systems. They may be repotted at other times of year, but it is then best not to water following repotting.

Common problems with Living Stones

Generally disease free unless overwatered. Remember to give them a dry season.

How to harvest Living Stones

Harvest brown seed capsules when ripe, in summer, keep seeds dry until planting.

How to propagate Living Stones

Seed

Sow seeds onto course river sand in autumn. Do not cover, but keep moist with overhead misting to prevent the seeds from drying out. Germination is rather quick, but only plant out after 1 year.

Division

Divide during warm weather in autumn or spring.

Special features of Living Stones

Drought resistant

During extreme droughts, the plants can pull themselves into the soil in such a way that they actually become semi-subterranean, protecting them from the harsh outside elements!

Attractive leaves

Attractive flowers

Pot plant

Popularly grown in containers, the potting medium is very important. It must be a coarse sandy mix that drains well.

Other uses of Living Stones

Medicinal

Some species have medicinal value.

Edible

Some species are eaten.

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