How To Care for a Lithops
Lithops are also known as living stones or pebble plants. These are succulents that have extremely slow growth and rarely reach up to 1-inch above the soil. Usually, they only have a single pair of leaves, which resembles stones more than leaves with a small gap (fissure) separating them. On top of their leaves, epidermal windows (small holes) are also present.
Below you'll get to know more about how you can care for a lithops!
Lithops/living stones in their native environment are well adapted to tolerate harsh light exposure. Thus, the ideal way to grow them is to provide good 4-5 hours of bright light, and partial shade would be best in the afternoon. Although lithops are sun lovers, extreme heat can harm their foliage and lead to sunburn. It's important to locate this plant in a less sunny spot.
Lithops (desert succulents) can tolerate temperature ranges from 90°F to 100°F. However, they mostly grow and thrive happily when provided temperatures up to 65°F to 80°F.
Lithops can store water in their leaves for months. Watering them at a time other than they need can kill them. In summer, this plant grows actively, and you should water them once every two weeks. You can tell if your plant wants water by observing its health. If you see lithops starts to pucker or wrinkle, it's time to provide them with a nice drink.
It is ideal for your lithops to grow in fast-draining soil or cactus mix. Pebbles, sand, or any other gritty material can also be added for better soil drainage.
Generally, lithops don’t need fertilisation to grow. However, you can feed them before their usual thriving season to encourage flowers growth. During the springtime, fertilise these living stones with a heavily diluted cactus feed with high potassium and low nitrogen. Also, don't apply fertiliser directly to your plant's leaves as that can damage or burn them.
Lithops, generally like other plants, should be repotted only if there is any problem (soggy soil) or they outgrow their pot. However, if you need to report your plants anyway, repot when their growing season begins (usually in May). Before repotting your lithops, it’s important to ensure that their roots are completely developed for at least two years.
Overwatering can bring no good to your lithops as it attracts various pests such as mealybugs, spider mites, scale insects, thrips, aphids, slugs, snails, and root-knot nematodes. Additionally, small animals and mice can also attempt to eat these plants for their water content. Wash your plant's leaves with soap or rub them gently with neem oil to remove these pests.
Lithops are non-toxic to pets and humans. Some reports suggest that African children eat lithops to quench their thirst. However, they can be poisonous if they have been sprayed with some chemicals such as pesticides. So it's important to be cautious and spot this plant out of your pets and children's reach to stay safe.