Lithops, Hawthoria, Fenestraria, and Pleiospilos

bouldergrowerApril 17, 2014

I rode over to Home Depot and bought these four plants for $3.48 each...always wanted to try them as house plants. They were growing in the typical peat moss/perlite mix that was dry as a bone. I just put them in the Miracle Gro Cactus, Palm and Citrus potting soil I had on hand and will see how they grow.

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plantomaniac08(8)

I don't want to burst your bubble (I love your collection), but Lithops require watering at specific times of the year and can die if watered at the wrong times. I am not sure if this will be an issue for you, I just thought you might like to know.

Planto

1 Like    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 8:26PM
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bouldergrower

I have this in my Houseplant folder:
"Lithops Culture
Gradually place in full sun - protect from rain - in summer mist - but do not water (approximately June-September) In September when weather turns cooler, begin to water once every 2-3 weeks. Fill to brim. Plants will not begin to blossom. Continue watering until blossoms are fading then stop watering (approximately December-January).
Plants are cold hardy. After flowering, the leaves will split and new ones from inside will grow. Old leaves will shrivel completely. During this period NO WATER (approximately January to March).
When new leaves are grown and old leaves completely shriveled, begin to water again. Continue watering from March until June." but it sounds like it is for plants grown outside.

If It doesn't survive I am only out $3.48.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:33PM
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plantomaniac08(8)

The information is the same for indoors as well. Watering indoors or outdoors at the wrong time of year will kill them (rot). At least you are not out of much money if they don't make it.

Even some experts on this forum have killed a few trying to get their watering schedule just right.

I hope they survive for you though, they are interesting little plants.

Planto

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:45PM
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bouldergrower

These plant tags are interesting.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:46PM
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plantomaniac08(8)

They are... I wouldn't water a Lithops every time it dried out unless I wanted to kill it. ;)

Certain Haworthia species go dormant in the summer and their roots can rot if watered during the summer's hottest time of the year (they go dormant when it gets too hot and watering them while they're "asleep," well, they don't absorb any of that water and their roots end up rotting). They're better known to be winter growers. That being said, I don't know about your specific Haworthia, I believe most are summer dormant, but that would be something someone else would have to chime in on and tell you for sure if that specific one you have is a summer dormant/winter grower.

I will agree about the 'Baby Toes,' they hate wet feet (no pun intended lol). They can look nice and plump one day and collapse on you the next. I gave up on those, I don't need something so... "special." :P I'm more of a water when dry kinda gal.

Planto

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 7:50AM
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xerophyte_nyc(7)

Here's my prediction:

Fenestraria will be the first to go, and it will likely etiolate noticeably. +/- 12 months.

Lithops will probably be the next, but since it is a leslei variant it may tolerate poor conditions longer than other species. +/- 18 months

Pleiospilos will hang on for dear life and slowly wither away. Needs a deep pot. +/- 18 months

Haworthia stands the best chance since it is the only plant there not requiring good light, and can tolerate year-round watering...but it too will rot "unexpectedly" +/- 24 months because it needs a deep pot too.

FYI - Lithops, Fenestraria and Pleiospilos are absolutely NOT houseplants. They will not do well long term. Home Depot could be sued for false advertising. These plants will tolerate crappy conditions indoors for a while and if that's OK with you then by all means enjoy them.

If you want an objective way to determine if your plants are doing well, then see if they will bloom for you. Your Lithops should bloom in August/ September. The Fenestraria later in the fall along with the Pleiospilos (these can bloom late summer too). If you can get them to flower then the conditions are adequate.

x

1 Like    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 9:09AM
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Sundewd(9B)

Definitely pot them separately because they all have different requirements. I disagree with the above assessment as say the baby toes will be your best bet as they are the easiest to grow since they give the same signs of needing eater that haworthia, echeveria and crassula do. Once they,are wrinkly... Water. Start with wetting the aoil, wait a day... If they need more, hit again. The others are harder to understand. I kinda get lithops now but pleiospilos I have given up on completely. If I can manage to get then to do well, stupid birds like to eat them anyway and will remove massive chunks when I'm not looking.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 10:57AM
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bouldergrower

Last night I dug up the Lithops, cleaned off as much wet potting soil as I could, and replaced it in the 2.5 inch pot it came in with dry potting mix. It had a small, fine root system. With the rim of the little pot trimmed off, it is now back in the big pot so it can be removed if the other plants need watering and it doesn't.

As far as Home Depot is concerned, I suspect 90 percent of their "houseplants" from orchids to cacti last a year or less in the homes of their customers. Maintaining healthy house plants outside a greenhouse is a chore. They are cheap and easy to replace.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 11:04AM
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nomen_nudum

Will agree that the Haworthia as being most forgiven I think it will be in it's own pot and the only plant left after all others have been counted as a waste of YOUR money.

Now that you have a make shift idea or ability to remove the lithop from the pot to water the others it's safe to think your Lithops will now be the first.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 4:27PM
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kaktuskris(5)

If you want to be technical, there are no such things as 'houseplants,' are there? So does that mean we should not grow what pleases us in our houses or apartments?

If you have a sunny window at least, read up on the plant you want to grow, give it the best environment you are able to, and if the plant pleases you, that is all that matters.

Christopher

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 8:16PM
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kaktuskris(5)

Here is my HOUSEPLANT Haworthia, by the way.

Christopher

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 8:21PM
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plantomaniac08(8)

I am growing all my succulents indoors this year in a South window. The cacti will be outdoors on the South side patio.

In the right window, with the right soil, and the right watering, I believe it's possible to have a happy succulents indoors. In the end, I would like to hope the advice of people on here is meant to help ensure the successful growing of Cacti & Succulents. Not everyone has the luxury of growing outdoors. That being said, some cacti & succulents are more difficult to grow than others.

I just was warning the OP of watering Lithops at the wrong time of year as I wanted to help him/her ensure that they won't water it at the wrong time and end up with a dead plant. :)

Planto

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 9:01PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

My Pleiospilos spends 8 months of the year inside as a houseplant and the only thing that "withers away" are the old leaves as they are absorbed. ;-)

tj

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 9:54PM
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nomen_nudum

Anybody can enjoy any plant inside the place called home and enjoy them year round as well.

Myself I enjoy cool air blasting from the AC during the heat of summer many (every) of the not really house plants called succulents inside during six -seven months of bone chiling winter wont like what I like during summer.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 11:08PM
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plasmid

My lithops houseplant flowered last fall. It was very pretty. I keep it in a south window and try to forget about it. Good luck with your plants :) they look nice now. I was in Home Depot today and saw some terrible plants.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 8:12PM
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bouldergrower

This interesting little pleiospilos nelii flower opens late afternoon.

The old lithops leaves are gone so I guess there is no reason not to water everything once the potting mix is dry.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 7:51PM
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bouldergrower

These have been growing outside and get half a day of full, intense Colorado sun at 5000 ft elev. I worried about over watering and lost one lithop because of that. Now I drench the pot once a month.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 6:45PM
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DavidL.ca

Hey, most of your plants are still doing well! I think in this case that you leave all these plants together, just make sure you follow the "when in doubt, don't" motto and give them minimal watering. Sad that you lost a lithops, hopefully the other one can survive. Nice flowers!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 12:51PM
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kwie2011(8a/8b W. OR)

Beautiful! I'm so glad you're succeeding with these. You have beautiful blooms! They all look really great.

I wish we had a Home Depot here. I'd just kill to get my hands on some of those species. I don't have anything to trade for them here on Garden Web, and they're too expensive to buy online. Sad for me. :-( But I'm glad you found them, and you're doing so fantastically with them! Hooray!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 7:38PM
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bouldergrower

The Fenestraria had five flowers and now seems to have finally stopped blooming. It keeps spreading out and the Hawthoria seems to be developing quite a few offsets. I am going to repot these plants when I find a suitable rectangular container.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 7:03PM
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DavidL.ca

Wow, glad to see them doing so well! Give me a bit more faith in my baby's toes now xD. The split rock looks super healthy too. In fact, all the plants look like they're having a great time.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 7:07PM
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nomen_nudum

xerophyte_nyc Close but no cigar

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 7:33PM
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bouldergrower

I found a bonsai training pot on eBay that was just perfect.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 2:53PM
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bouldergrower

I guess to post multiple images they have to be in a Link.

Anyway, the potting medium was just barely moist and there were lots of fine roots showing.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 2:59PM
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bouldergrower

They all look healthy.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 3:00PM
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bouldergrower

The Hawthoria has fairly thick succulent roots.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 3:02PM
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kwie2011(8a/8b W. OR)

Someone else who knows more will likely post, but... I fear your lithops isn't going to do well in a shallow pot. I keep reading that their long taps roots don't do well curled up.

It might also be helpful to you to know Kalanchoe is a summer dormant genus; lithops is winter dormant, and I don't know about the other two. Google the genera and "dormancy," and you might find them.

Here is some information about the lithops life cycle and watering:

http://lithopsandthings.blogspot.com/2012/07/watering-lithops.html?m=1

And below is a page about how lithops grow:

Here is a link that might be useful: cultivating lithops

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 5:35PM
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bouldergrower

This bonsai pot is 3.5 inches deep. That is deeper than the nursery pot the lithop came in. The only tap root I saw was that of the hawthoria.

From what I have read since purchasing these plants in April, the lithop may or may not survive long anyway.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 8:09PM
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DavidL.ca

Nice repotting job. I also thought of putting my lithops in bonsai pots and were told not to here, but yours sound a bit deeper than the one I have. Anyways, all your plants look healthy right now so that's good, but I would say that none of them need any water for quite a while - like at least 2 weeks - especially when it seems like you gave them a drink after repotting. Could you post a picture of the new pot from the side, so I can see how deep the pot is?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 11:53PM
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savant

The longest root of all your plants is the Pleiospilos nelii. They need a 10cm pot.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 4:55AM
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bouldergrower

Here is a photo of the training pot. As you can see, it is not the shallow ceramic pot most people would think of as a bonsai pot. It has twelve drain holes in the bottom and I think it would be suitable for any small succulents.

I always water after repotting and the potting soil was nearly dry. Normally, I water these plants once a month but when we have 90+ deg days I frequently give them a couple squirts from a spray bottle in the morning.

As far as advice from forum members is concerned, I search the internet for cultural information and judge the quality of that information based on the source. I would never ask for advice in any forum...but my wife says I am opinionated.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 10:33AM
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DavidL.ca

Very nice! Yeah the pot is possibly deeper than some of my terracotta pots even, so I think you're good to go!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 12:06PM
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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

I keep wondering if the best culture on these mixed plantings would be individual pots nested INTO the bonsai pot with gravel "mulch" hiding that it's distinct pots ? Lol, a complex solution I know.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 12:13PM
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bouldergrower

I originally tried a separate pot for the lithop but gave up on that after one of the two died from what I assume was being too dry for too long.

Anyway, I decided to see what happens treating them all alike. If any die, I can replace them next year when Home Depot gets them in the spring. The blooms are cute and the grandsons like to see what they feel like.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 1:03PM
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DavidL.ca

@dbarron that's a very neat idea!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 1:36PM
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xerophyte_nyc(7)

@nomen_nudum "close but no cigar"...

Take a look at my post, I gave Fenestraria 12 months as the first one to suffer...it has been a little more than 3 months since then. Still too early. These plants are tough little buggers, takes time for them to decline.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 2:49PM
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nomen_nudum

It's all good xero... In order you had mentioned ( your opinon) lithops (In this case more than one lithops) to last 6 months longer than fenestaria. The pics had indicated Three months one lithops gone.

Hence I add close but no cigar, no one person could ever accuratly preidict what plant would last longer than the other.

In the mixed pot selctions that peps make it just comes down to 1) survival of the speices a 2)A willingness of the individuale species to adapt/.

An opinon I added that can lead to fact

In a nut shell I read public forums for valid, well formed formed opinions that lead to fact over advice. At times when I read forums I ofted read and understand " advice " to arouse either conflict or go off into some off topic personal aggenda involving one or more persons to anouther person.

No discredits to anyone Have fun with it, pot em as you may, treat them as you will.When plants are involved ultimatly it's up to the plant. I know many who are able to prolong it but it's not a race.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 8:19PM
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bouldergrower

Inside for the year. The night temperatures are close to 50 deg so I put a new shelf in an upstairs window facing due south. We have had frequent afternoon showers and more wet weather is expected.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 11:44AM
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bouldergrower

Here is a better picture.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 2:53PM
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bouldergrower

I didn't expect to see more blooms but, to be honest, I really didn't know what to expect. After looking closely at this photo, I noticed a bud forming on the Fenestraria. It seems the lithop should be doing something but it and the hawthoria just sit there pretty much unchanged since buying them.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2014 at 6:56PM
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bouldergrower

Actually, the hawthoria is doing something. I compared the number of leaves in my first picture to the number in the current picture and it is growing just fine. It is just a small plant and probably can stay where it is for several years.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2014 at 8:23PM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

Xerophyte, for them to flower so much they must be happy. I didnt know these plants thrive in mixed containers! Do keep us updated...

    Bookmark   October 7, 2014 at 8:32PM
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DavidL.ca

Wow nice! So your Pleiospilos bloomed the second time this year already?? Yeah, Haworthias are slow growers in general, and they're also winter growers so you should see more growth over the winter. Again, all your plants are looking happy and healthy, congrats! Those baby's toes are growing like crazy!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2014 at 8:37PM
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sugi_c(9a)

I the you've done an awesome job, Boulder. They all look great.

Contrary to some of these unusually negative opinions, plants don't die that easily....except maybe gardenias, haha. If something looks amiss, you still have good time to figure out what and fix it.

For what it's worth, I just found what was a pair of lithops underneath a jungle of succulent plants that were basically watered all the time. Totally forgot they were in there. They weren't getting any sun underneath there but still grew into 5 sets, albeit etiolated. Same thing with baby toes that got even less sun...but still alive. It's been in there for probably two years being watered when growing or dormant, cold or hot. Took them out and repotted them separately and they're looking happy again. They'll be fine.

So I'll bet all of yours live from here on and will fill that pot by summer next year. :) Great job in keeping them so dry!

Grace

    Bookmark   October 9, 2014 at 3:43AM
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bouldergrower

Well, it has been almost a year and aside from a few mealy bugs, everything is doing fine. The lithop just sits there, the pleiospilos has bloomed twice or three times, the baby toes have bloomed four times and the stapelia has bloomed once.

I gave up on complicated watering routines. When the potting mix is bone dry I immerse the pot in a sink full of water and wait until bubbles stop coming to the surface. It may not be how they grow in the wild but if they don't like it they can be replaced.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2015 at 11:00AM
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bouldergrower

More Lithops

I rode over to Home Depot with a crude drawing of what I wanted and an assistant helped me find "turn buttons". I looked in at the garden shop as I left and there were trays upon trays of small succulents. So, for $3.68 I have more lithops to try (torture):

1 Like    Bookmark   February 19, 2015 at 2:21PM
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DavidL.ca

Awesome, great update of these mixed pots. They all look super happy. Most of my Lithops also had been sitting there doing exactly nothing... I like those new additions, one of my favourite Lithops! Your baby toes are growing like mad, and seems to bloom a lot! Mine is alright but refusing to bloom :(

    Bookmark   February 23, 2015 at 9:25PM
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rina_

Bouldergrower
Do you have ID for the succulent I circled in your photo?


TIA. Rina

    Bookmark   February 24, 2015 at 7:20AM
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bouldergrower

The plant tag for the circled succulent said:

Graptoveria 'Bashful'

I had two growing fine but one got caught in the venetian blind and broke off.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2015 at 8:14AM
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dannie317

I'm really impressed with how those arrangements have thrived since you brought them home! I'm sure these new guys will be just as happy with your "torture". :)

The Fenestraria in particular is booming, and I love it ... I had some a while back, and at the time I didn't have any succulent knowledge, and so it was loved to death. Now that I'm much wiser about succulent care and have managed to get healthy little collection going, I want to add some Baby Toes again! I haven't seen any decent plants in the stores, but the next time I do, I'm grabbing it.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2015 at 8:52AM
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rina_

Thank you BdG, I have very similar looking plant without ID, does it looks same to yours? (Photo last year when I bought it).

It was more colorful later on, but all the 'white' color disappeared later on.

TIA. Rina

(I apologize for hijacking your thread...)

    Bookmark   February 24, 2015 at 12:07PM
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bouldergrower

It looks like mine although mine keeps getting taller. The largest leaves are 1 inch wide.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2015 at 12:23PM
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ehuns27 7a PA

bg - I am curious about your watering habits for your container with lithops, haworthia, etc. When you water it do you water the entire thing or just in a specific target area?

As I am sure you noticed after you originally posted about this, people were quite skeptical about your technique to put those various different species together into one container, and I must admit I was as well. But, your plants are beautiful and thriving.

I'm sorry if you've already discussed this, but what medium are you using as potting mix? Is it all pebbles or is that just the top layer?

I am a fan of mixed containers but haven't had a whole lot of success myself in such an endeavor. I also love the containers you have chosen to grow yours in.

Kudos to you for not being afraid to develop your own technique.

Thanks for keeping us updated!

-Erica

    Bookmark   February 24, 2015 at 12:27PM
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bouldergrower

Succulents in Winter in Colorado at 5280 ft elevation. Thermostat downstairs set at 68 deg F. Thermometer shows 94.3 deg, 22 percent relative humidity. Apparently the succulents love it...the Adeniums not so much.Everything is growing in Miracle Gro Cactus, Palm & Citrus Mix but I added coarse sand from a nearby stream bed about half-and-half to the stapelia just to the right of the Adeniums. The decorative rocks just cover the soil surface. When I water, the entire pot goes in the sink with the surface under water. But, these black bonsai training pots have 12 large holes in the bottom so they drain well and fast. I probably water these black pots once every month to six weeks when a clean wooden popsicle stick pushed all the way down comes up completely clean and dry.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2015 at 12:29PM
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fakechuchi(7)

I only have a few communal pots. Having the attention span of a gnat, I cling to the KISS gardening principle, so I just populate them with plants from the same genus. I'm keen to see how your project turns out though, bouldergrower. Do you water them according to the schedule of the least moisture-tolerant specimen? Since they are all succulents, I suppose the rest will just bear the thirst.

" I added coarse sand from a nearby stream bed"
hehe that is fantastic. If I went down to the nearby stream, I get fine sand, gooey muck and coarse ducks.

Pagan

    Bookmark   February 25, 2015 at 4:34AM
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bouldergrower

I don't have a watering schedule for the succulents or pay any attention to the individual needs of any one of them. When the pot is bone-dry I soak it. Otherwise, Wednesday is watering day for all of my too many house plants. It takes me over an hour to get everything sprayed and watered.

We had rip-roaring floods a little over a year ago that cleaned all the muck from the streams and ditches in town. They are now clean as a whistle.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2015 at 11:01AM
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