Growing Living Stones (Lithops) Indoors

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. Although some species may be bright green, red, pink, orange, blue-green or any combination.

They split across the top with big, daisy-like flowers emerging in fall. The flowers don't last long, but they add a burst of color to the natural stone shades; they 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.

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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.

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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.

Mix them up for an attractive display. Grow 2 or 3 species in the same pot. Or pot them up in matching containers to group together. Surround them with pebbles for decoration.

Lithops for Sale

Living Stones Care Tips

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Origin: South Africa

Height: About 2 inches (5 cm)

Light: Bright light with at least 4 hours of direct sun a day in summer. Put your Lithops plant on a sunny windowsill.

Water: 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. Aim to 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 room (around 40% relative humidity) or lower.

Temperature: Keep Lithops warm to hot in summer (70°-90°F/21°-32°C). Autumn through spring, cool to average (60°-70°F/16°-21°C). Go ahead and put it outdoors, if you want. Just bring it back inside when the temperature drops. It will tolerate a minimum temperature of 50°F/10°C. 

Soil: Cactus potting mix

Fertilizer: Feed once in spring and once in fall with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer, diluted by half.

Propagation: Seeds, or divide clumps in early summer. To sow seeds, sprinkle seeds on top of moistened potting mix and barely cover with additional mix. Use a container with drainage holes. Place container in a warm, sunny window. Mist with water occasionally; seedlings will appear in a few weeks.

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