new to lithops need advice please!

ilovecacti_grower(8, GA)June 24, 2010

Hey people, ILC here uh well just got back from home depot.....the only place near me that sells cactus and succulents OTHER than prickly pear and golden i just bought a lithop or a pot with two APPARENTLY there "stone faces" thats all they say so latin name or anything first off you can see where there were like atLEAST two others that died but anyway there no bigger than a dime/nickel and there taller than they are wide since there are dead ones im assuming the soil needs fixing so if someone feels like it can they compile a list of stuff to mix a good soil the most i do is 1 part "cactus mix" to two or three parts perlite but anyway another thing that scares me is water....i dont want to kill them so how and how often do i water them? right now there soil is bone dry...anyway there kinda grey or blue and on the very top rather green? i would post pictures but im on a laptop and photobucket isnt working on here so later ill ATTEMPT to post pictures (maybe off flickr Ect.) so for now please make do with what ive explained and let me know if you need any more "specific" information



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ilovecacti_grower(8, GA)

is anyone gonna even TRY to help me?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 11:45PM
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I've never grown lithops, but your paragraph is not easy to read, which is probably why is it lacking in responses.

But, a good start for succulents is to put them in fast draining materials and 'Al's gritty mix' is usually a good place to start. Just use the search function, and you'll find plenty of threads about it.

As far as watering goes, no one is going to be able to tell you how much it needs because we don't know your growing conditions. Someone will probably be able to tell you the signs the plant will show when it is thirsty, but again, since I don't grow lithops I can't tell you.

Ask about lithops growing season as well, that also determines how much or how little water they will need.

Sorry I didn't know any specifics.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 9:09AM
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A quick search through this forum will yield a wealth of info about Lithops.

Read more here.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 8:54PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

I wasn't even going to try to respond 'cause of the lack of punctuation & difficulty in reading this. It makes it hard to know what you're asking. Since someone else mentioned it, I'll second the comment.

You might try waiting a day or 2, rather than grousing that no one has answered in 6 hrs. Maybe you're new, but pls. have a DROP of patience if you'd like help here.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 9:34PM
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I have a variety of lithops, also known as Living Stones. My plant is doing very well, so please compare yours to my photo and let me know how your plant is doing right now.

Soil: For soil, use any cactus mix, or regular potting soil amended with sand. Using stones or potsherds below soil for drainage is recommended. Have a pot with drainage of course, and not too large.

I know that Lithops actually grow in the winter and rest in the summer, unlike most other plants.

Growing Habits: In winter, the orignal leaves will split themselves apart and produce a new leaf inside it. The newer leaf will push up and out, then suck the juices from the old leaf, so do not remove it! If you do, the new leaf could die. Needs no water at this time unless shriveled. Once the juices are fully depleted remove the leaf shell.

Watering: Water lightly only if the leaves look thin or wrinkled. This aplies all year round, but especially in winter. In summertime dormancy, the plant needs almost no water.

Light: Give lithops full sun if possible (4-6 hours of sun per day) during winter and spring. During summer and fall, also give the plant full sun. West our South window works well.

Plants 3 yrs or older will flower when well taken care of.
Hope this helps you!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 5:39AM
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Sorry, the old link to my picture got deleted. Here is the new one:

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 3:08AM
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Houseplantlover has the right idea, though I'll add a few things. Keep in mind that I'm also still a novice and in the end, Google is your friend.

First, that picture is not what you should expect your lithops to look like. I think a few species do tend to "gape" like that, but most lithops will have their leaves close together. Google lithops and check out the images to see what most of them should look like.

Also, the lithops on the right is overwatered. If probably kept, each head will only have one pair of fully grown leaves; this one looks like it's been watered over the winter. As a rule, do not water your lithops during the winter at all. I've read of some growers watering very shallowly on occasion, but these are experienced lithops people who know their plants well.

Be careful about using sand. Fine-grained sand can actually make the soil more compact and keep it wet. Perlite should work well, though at two thirds I think it would float on top of the cactus mix. Maybe you could replace half with something like aquarium gravel of similar size. Just a suggestion, but you seem to have the right idea soil-wise, so whatever works and is available to you.

Again, not a lithops expert, but good luck with your plants. It's pretty cool that first time a fresh new leaf pair emerges. Actually, it's still pretty cool the tenth time.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 1:59PM
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Actually I have to disagree with you, Citosa. My lithops is not overwatered, in fact, some of the leaves were shriveled, and by drizzling some water on the plant, the leaves plumped up. This is from the plant storing water, and is how it should look. Other than the occassional watering, I keep the soil on the dry side.

My soil is a mix of cactus soil, stones, and sand: about one part sand to like three parts soil. I don't find the sand to cause any problems for my plant. The stones on top are really more of a decorative dressing than anything else.

For a novice lithops grower who uses the internet as a care guide, you are pretty quick to say what another person's plant should or shouldn't look like! I must be doing something right -- its alive.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 3:50PM
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citosa is correct in that the plants in the photo are indicative of Lithops that are not properly cared for. Excess watering and/ or humidity leads to stacking of the leaves which is not part of the normal Lithops growth cycle. It is unsightly more than it is "unhealthy", however.

As to the statement "I must be doing something right -- it's alive"...a healthy, thriving plant is far different from a plant that is tolerating less than ideal conditions and surviving. For better or worse, Lithops and many other succulents will tolerate poor conditions for a very long time before the inevitable surmise, leaving the grower wondering what suddenly went wrong when in fact it has been wrong all along.



    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 4:39PM
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I thought the picture houseplantlover86 is Pleiospilos nelii and not lithops?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 12:03AM
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Coralred, this is a Pleiospilos nelii:


    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 12:32AM
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No coralred, not Pleiospilos.

They look like possibly Lithops helmutii, geyeri or herrei, which are all part of a similar group of species whose appearances overlap. They have a tendency to have gaping leaves, which is normal...but stacked leaves are a definite sign of excess.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 7:28AM
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Ok guys, you got me with the watering. I didn't know that the leaves stacking themselves meant I was doing something wrong. It IS good to know my plant type likes to gape, though.

I did have a question about the baby leaves that are produced inside the mature leaves - has anyone ever had lithops produce a new leaf at the soil surface, not inside the leaf itself? What mine did, the leaf split starting at the soil line rather than the top (between the leaf segments) , and the baby leaf emerged from the side of the mature leaf -- and now it's next to the orignal leaf rather than on top... Is this because of overwatering also? Needless to say, it was surprising! Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 2:20PM
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