Living Stones

Botanical Name: Lithops species

Living Stones are flowering succulents that blend into their native environment because they grow in a stemless clump resembling small stones.

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Their fleshy, swollen leaves are often green, gray or brown with mottled markings. They split across the top with big, daisy-like flowers emerging in fall. The flowers may be bright yellow or white, depending on the species.

Once the flowers fade, the leaves will shrivel and a new pair of leaves will push up through the split to replace them.

Green Thumb Tip

Be careful not to overwater lithops and provide good drainage.

This succulent stores moisture and nutrients in its leaves and its roots will rot if kept too wet.

Lithops may not bloom for the first 2-3 years, so be patient. It is a long-lived plant and is fascinating to watch through its growth cycle.

Give your living stone plant plenty of light. A sunny windowsill is an ideal spot for it. Repotting lithops is only necessary every 5 years or so, when the plants become crowded in the pot. Use a pot 6 in (15 cm) deep because this plant grows long taproots.

Living Stones Care Tips

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Origin: South Africa

Height: About 2 inches (5 cm)

Light: Bright light with 4 hours of direct sun a day in summer.

Water: Keep soil barely moist from spring through fall, allowing the top half of the soil to dry out between waterings. Do not water after the flowers have faded and the leaves begin to shrivel. Resume watering the following spring.

Humidity: Average to low

Temperature: Average room temperatures 60-75°F/16-24°C

Soil: Cactus potting mix

Fertilizer: Feed once in spring and once in fall with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half.

Propagation: Seeds, or divide clumps in early summer.

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L. pseudotruncatella

Buying Tip

Many varieties are available. You'll find each living stone plant for sale by its species name: Lithops karasmontana has mottled brown markings with white flowers, L. marmorata is grayish-brown with white flowers and L. aucampiae is brown with reddish-brown markings and yellow flowers.

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Display Idea

Grow 2 or 3 species in the same pot. Surround them with pebbles for decoration.