Lithops question

rina_February 20, 2013

The flower is long gone, but dryed-up leftovers still there. Should they be removed?
Is it possible to get seeds from these at home?


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Hi Rina,

No need to bother the flower. They're quite firmly attached until they dry out. You can easily make seeds at home. All you need is a cheap, small paintbrush (or a finger, or your eyebrows) to trade the pollen back and forth. The two on top both look like forms of L. gracilidelineata. If they both bloom together you can make lots of good, healthy seeds. You can also hybridize them if you have no other choice but in my experience, it creates weak, mostly empty pods about 80% of the time. If you do though, keep track of what you crossed, you'll thank yourself 5 years later.

I recognize that soil and pot. Desert Images gets plants from the same grower. They're always 2 or 3 mixed species in a small, brittle, red plastic pot. They're always pure and interesting species even if unlabeled, not like the generic grey mongrels Altman puts out. Nevertheless, those are healthy for now but that soil, you'll see, is like orchid mix. You could dunk that pot every other day and nothing would happen. It's a good time for re-potting. One thing I've come to realize recently is that the condition of Lithops doesn't improve at all when kept in the original pot. I've been doing lots of re-potting that I've put off for a long time, thinking the plants were safe in their tiny, shallow pots. The truth is, their condition begins deteriorating the minute you bring them home. If you buy a Lithops and it's plump and healthy, there's never a better time to re-pot. I've been playing catch-up which involves a lot more rejuvenation and recovery time.
If you repot, just completely remove those extra leaves from the one on the right. You can easily correct the imbalance that way. It looks like it's about to split again, 3:1 ratio = bad.
I've been repotting all my Lithops into 4" pots. They need that depth to be healthy.
Say hi to Jaco.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 9:41PM
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and Hi Jaco -

Thank you for such a detailed answer.
I bought this in early June 2012, didn't repot since I was 'scared' to kill them. There was just one bud & it bloomed witin a week after I brought it home.

I am surprised it's still in good shape since the original soil is unsuitable.
Do you suggest to repot into gritty mix?
Is the one I circled in red correct one you suggest to remove outside leaves of? They are realy plump, would I just pull them off? (I remeber reading that they should have only 2 pairs of leaves). Should that be done now or wait until new leaves visible? - right now I can't see any.
Should they be potted separately into 4" pot?
Do you leave them 'callus' for a while before potting?

Hope you don't mind so many questions - I am going to search on GW since I remember you posting about lithops before.
Only ID when I bought them was Lithops hookeri.


This post was edited by rina_ on Thu, Feb 21, 13 at 16:59

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 4:54PM
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Oh, good. Yeah, I thought the brown one might be hookeri. Yes, you can plant all 3 of them in the same 4" pot, evenly spaced. When you separate them, I recommend the flat setting on the hose to wash away the soil until the plants release from one another. Sometimes the taproots can be wrapped around or wedged together so be careful. Don't worry about damaging fine roots. You can remove those leaves and trim (pinch) the fine roots at this point and then let it heal for a day or two before potting.
The soil I use is like super sifted gritty mix with the bigger chunks graded out and with a few fine components added in; a little vermiculite, a little coco peat and enough coarse washed sand to compose about 30% of the final mix. I just found a good "all purpose sand" at Lowe's. Nil was right, play sand is too fine. This is my newly formulated that mimics Steven Hammer's soil mix.
Soil discussions honestly make me feel like my head will burst. Here's a photo I took last night for a different thread.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 6:39PM
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Thanks Ryan, and I read the other thread too.
I appreciate time you take to answer.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 11:50PM
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Laura Robichaud

Jaco is adorable! I'll bet my dachshund would eat my lithops if he got a chance.

Thanks for all the information. Still reading about lithops. I'm going to have to repot sometime soon so I'm reading everything I can here.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 10:38AM
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After repotting following Ryan's tips (watering very seldom, just a little 'spritz'), and separating, this is how they look now:
(I didn't remove outside leaves - wanted to see how 'they do it' themselves ;-) but I'll next time).
There are 3 in the pot on right side, little guy is hiding.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 5:44AM
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Forgot to mention that soil is also as Ryan (Thank you again, Ryan) suggested, topdressing gravel to keep them more stable.
Another shot of the same:


    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 5:47AM
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Great job, Rina! You kept them alive, that's phase 1. They're obviously plump and happy. You might want to assist the second head on your werneri by just breaking it open. Sometimes the small ones can't break out and the old skin will become a prison.

Now, if you can, try acclimating them into brighter light. See if you can get them to grow a little more compact by their next split. The brighter light will assist in absorption of old leaves and also give a signal to the new leaves to grow more compact.

Remember, the dormancy for Lithops is only during the hottest part of summer, hasn't happened yet for me. It only lasts about 2 weeks here but can be around 6 weeks in very hot climates. If you're growing indoors it will also be very short for you. You'll know it's over when they show some sign of change, usually a bloating from the new leaves causing pressure within. That's when you can give them a good drink.

You may even get some blooms this summer:)

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 1:15PM
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Thank you for further tips, will follow.


    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 11:20PM
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