Fussy Lithops

RetroStephSeptember 6, 2013

Hello everyone! I'm a long time reader and first time poster. :)

Back at the end of June, I picked up a pot of 4 lithops from my local Lowes. I bare-rooted them the next month (July) after researching soil exhaustively and potted them a few days later. They've been receiving a light misting most mornings, or if they look extra thirsty, a small "watering" with a tiny pipette.

Everything was going great until about a week ago (beginning of Sept.), when I noticed a vertical fissure going up and down one side of the smaller plants, which looks otherwise healthy and plump. So, the topdressing all came off and I took the sucker out to check the freakishly tiny roots for rot, yet they look fine to my noobish eyes. I am very reluctant to water it further without knowing exactly what I may be dealing with here, be it disease, rot, pests, an inferiority complex, or under-watering.

So who wants to play diagnose my lithops? I'm afraid you wont win any prizes, though.
(Also, if anyone is curious, the two white scars have been there since I bought it.)

I look forward to hearing what everyone has to say!


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Hi Stephanie! Welcome to the forum!

Don't have much time, sorry.

Short answer:

1. Most likely, your soil is wrong... unless it's not. Clue me in.

2. Transplanting during dormancy is a no-no.

3. They could've used a heavy watering in mid-August. That's around the time when they wake up.

White spots are scarring, probably from mites chewing on fresh growth before it emerges.

You could try soaking it for a day, see if it plumps up, then repot. Or, you could just repot and water it in right away. Gotta run, good luck!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 12:59PM
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The skin split from overwatering. Lithops will drink as much as you give them, right up until the point that their skin bursts and invites rot. Most don't catch this until the fracture rots beneath the soil and the plant turns to mush without having realized where the went wrong.

Lithops should very rarely receive water. And even then, I prefer a thorough drink as opposed to a misting.

Let the split callous over completely and make sure that a nice scar develops before repotting, and put the water away. =)

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 3:15PM
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CBS, that's not a crack, it's a fold. The plant is collapsing on itself from being dry. Ahh, how the dogma echoes all around the school yard!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 5:07PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

What a classic either/or. It does not sound like she was over watering them. and if august is when they wake up and come out of their den and need a drink then the timing looks good for option A . I guess you have to assess what you were doing and then see which shoe fits the best. I am not a lithops person so I can't help you. I have seen many many a successful lithops come out of Ryans nursery. Again, it is all in the soil and water combination. Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 7:37PM
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First off, I just want to say I was as giddy as a schoolgirl when I saw the people who responded to me. I'm sorry if the fan-girling gets old, but it made my day. :) I also want to apologize for the late reply; starting a new job is hectic at best!

I plopped the affected lithops in some spring/rain water as suggested for about 24 hours starting that Sunday night, yet it did nothing to change the folds. The plant is still quite firm, not mushy, so I'm praying it doesn't rot. I'll keep a close eye on it (ie stare it down), and hopefully it'll outgrow its fussy stage when new leaves emerge.

Thanks, everyone, for your input. :)

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 6:21PM
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Hi Steph,

I'm glad to hear your Lithops is still firm. I wouldn't worry too much, I killed many a Lithops before I became comfortable with them... and still I don't get 100%. I'm sorry I had to rush through my first response. I came back to link you to another thread where I haphazardly described my soil mix. One of these days I'll come up with a solid formula/recipe but for now, this is what I have. Link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mabel-Mix?

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 10:34PM
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