Lithops got its name from the ancient Greek word “lithos” which means stone, and “ops” meaning face. The stone-like appearance of the plants is given the lithops an interesting flare, unique only to this succulent plant. Not only do they look interesting, but lithops also have a peculiar behavior that adds to the delight of growers. The flowers, which open in the afternoon and fold as evening comes, differ in size depending on the species but they all bloom at the same season. Here are some tips on how to keep lithops in the garden landscape.
Some growers would keep young lithos indoors until they’re 3 years old. This protects the stony plants from being stepped on and abused by pests. Indoor growth will also give the grower chance to condition the living stones to climate changes. The soil must be kept at low acidic and low alkaline levels and weeded well. This is achieved by mixing the two types of soils in a pot.
Lithops thrive well in semi-sandy soil conditions. This type of soil drains well but also retains enough moisture for the lithops.
The succulent plants do not need daily watering. Most growers avoid watering it even during the summer, as the plant goes dormant. The leaves will be tucked in and disappear below ground. Growers should just patiently let the season pass with minimal water sprays or just enough water around it to maintain the firm appearance of the stone plant. Watering it heavily can rot the living stones and eventually turn into mush.
The plants’ adaptive mechanism triggers it to grow during the fall. The fissure in the middle will separate some more, and then a bud will begin to appear in the days to follow. This only happens if a lithops is around three to five years old, which is the right age to place them in the garden landscape. Just make sure that they’re not placed next to garden paths where they can easily be trodden on. Some growers still keep them in decorative pots for safety. The blooms come in yellow or white which is good to know if you’re into a color theme in your garden.
Lithops only has two new leaves at a time. When it’s mature enough, a new plant will emerge in between the fissures by the appearance of two new leaves. This stage is like two bodies growing on one root system. Some old lithops grow more than ten bodies which take years to develop.