Living Stone

Lithops spp.

Pebble Plant, Stone Plant

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A genus of about 40 species. 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. The plants come in a variety of patterns and colours and produce colourful, daisy-like blooms. They are subterranean in their growth habit and often the top leaves are only just visible above the soil.

Planning

Difficulty

Moderate

Flowering time

Summer, Autumn

Fruiting time

Autumn, Winter

Harvesting

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

Propagation

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

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!

Pot plant

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

Attractive leaves

Special features

Origin

Africa, South Africa

Natural climate

Dry temperate areas.

Environment

Light

Full Sun

Soil moisture

Dry

Soil type

Loam, Sand

Soil PH preference

Neutral

Frost hardiness

Tender

Uses

Medicinal

Some species have medicinal value.

Edible

Some species are eaten.

Personality

Family

Aizoaceae

Flower colour

White, Yellow, Orange

Scent

None

Problems

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

Credits

profile iconLithops
by Ian Oliver, Karoo Desert National Botanical Gardens, July 2005 (Copyright South African National Biodiversity Institute, South Africa)

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