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Lithops - Stone Plant | How to look after 'Living Stones' 

If you are lucky enough to take long vacations in the summer months, then Lithops could be a useful plant for you to grow indoors. It is one of those rare plants where, the least you do, the better it will fare.

So here goes on how to fill a page about plants which requite little attention! You will need a bit of information to answer the questions that are are invariably asked by visitors.

Lithops are succulents in the truest sense, in that their leaves are fleshy water retentive storage organs, which is just as well, for the Lithops grow naturally in rocky desert areas in South Africa. They are also to be found in pebble screes, where the markings on the leaves blend in well with assorted pebbles - giving rise to their common names of Stone Plants or more commonly 'Living Stones. 

Living stones Plant - IndoorsThe Plant: Most unusually formed succulents which resemble split pebbles. They have no stems in the accepted sense, but a pair of fleshy leaves attached to a stumpy body. The leaves have assorted markings and mottled patterns and are tightly knit together, but separated down into the pebbles where the stump root/body resides.

The Lithops are very slow-growing prostrate succulents which form clusters of tough, rock-like protrusions, occasionally producing small white star-like flowers in late summer if you are lucky. heat light and infrequent water are the r4equirements for this to happen..

Its needs: How to look after. Lithops enjoys full sun even in summer, and dry air. Winter temperature should be maintained above 7 C.

Care: Water sparsely in summer and not at all during winter. Do not feed unless plant has been in the same pot for several years, then a weak feed of cactus fertiliser can be added. In spring the old ‘leaves’ split open to reveal new ones below, this is the time to commence watering carefully. Only re-pot if the Living Stones have really overgrown container.

Good for: More of a specialised interest or as a talking point rather than as a houseplant. Lithops look best planted alone with either sand or gravel around the clusters. Some people say these resemble moon rocks! A no-maintenance plant!

Propagation of Lithops

A packet of seeds will normally present you with various 'leaf' colours on the new plants. Seed should be sown in spring in dry-ish compost. No need to saturate.

Alternatively, you may be lucky enough to find some offsets sprouting from the base. These can be carefully cut away and replanted - growing on just as you have with the parents.

Problems wit Living Stone Plants

If flower buds emerge, keep a watch for aphids. Otherwise the plants are relatively trouble-free - unless you give them too mush attention

Prodding by visitors (adults and children) can cause the plants to loosen in the compost. Carefully re-firm after said visitors have departed! 


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