Are Lithops Low Maintenance?
Lithops are very low maintenance and do not require much care. You should keep them in a warm, sunny location and make sure that the soil does not become too dry or too wet.
It is important to provide at least a few hours of direct sunlight which will help to keep the plant healthy. The ideal temperature range for Lithops is between 15 °C (60 °F) and 26 °C (80 °F).
Lithops should be watered in the summer during dry conditions, but should not be watered during the middle of a heavy rainstorm. It is very important to water the pot thoroughly and then allow it to completely dry out. Lithops plants will die if they get too much moisture or too much sun.
The humidity for your Lithops should be between 30% and 40%. If you live in an area where there is very hot summers and very cold winters, then you should consider purchasing a pot with a soil that is specifically designed for outdoor cultivation.
You should also fertilize these plants every spring from March – May with a balanced fertilizer enriched with micronutrients. Lithops receive most of their nutrients from the soil, so it is important to ensure that the soil they are grown contains plenty of potassium.
Most lithops should be fairly resistant to diseases and pests when providing proper light conditions. As a plant matures, you should begin to transplant it into larger pots to ensure that the root system does not become too compacted.
It is best to wait until the plant has outgrown its pot and then repot it in order to select the healthiest plants and avoid “stressed” plants which may not grow well or live very long. You should also take care when watering a lithops and never over water it.
How Do You Repot A Lithops?
Lithops should be repotted once every 5 years or so in spring and summer. It is advised to repot your Lithops only when they are root bound, as they require well-draining soil. You should water the plant thoroughly before repotting, because it will help loosen the soil around the roots.
When repotting, choose a pot that is 2–6 cm wider than the current one and around 5 cm deeper. Decrease the size of the pot only slightly if the previous container is large, do not change it by more than 25%. It is common to cover the old soil with an equal amount of new soil. A good base for this would be either clay or peat-based mix with some sand added in.
If possible, when creating your mixture, try to add in some charcoal granules or use a charcoal based potting stuff. Repotting a Lithops is fairly easy if you follow these simple steps:
- Make sure that there is enough space for the new pot so that your plant can grow without becoming coiled.
- Lightly dig up the soil in an area where you want to put your new pot. Be careful not to dig up the roots as they can be very fragile and easily damaged.
- Using a pencil or something straight, trace on the sides of your previous pot so that you know how much to cut out of the soil.
- Cut around the edges of your new pot, being careful not to damage any delicate roots.
- Fill in with soil so you can cover your plant completely in the new pot.
- Water your new pot and give it a gentle tap to make sure that it is not soggy.
- Place the plant in the center of the pot so that it does not get stuck in any crevices and place your soil on top.
- Place a layer of gravel or small stones on top and press them down, making sure that you do not damage or crush any of your plants roots.
- Place the light source on top of the stones or on an angle so that the plant does not get burned or in direct sunlight.
- Keep your Lithops out of direct sunlight for at least 6 months, and give it an extra dose of light when it is time to start flowering.
- Water carefully and gently to avoid any unnecessary stress.
Can You Touch Lithops?
Lithops are not very fussy to touch and can handle the touch of your fingers, but it is best not to get your hands or fingers in contact with your plant as much as possible. You should gently water them by pouring the water at an angle, ensuring that you are not directly touching the leaves.
Always handle your plants with care, and be mindful of where you place them so that they do not get damaged. You should also make sure that they are out of direct sunlight and away from heat. Mushy Lithops are the result of overheating or overwatering.
Lithops that are cultivated with too little sun and too much water for too long are more susceptible to damage. Touching Lithops is not fatal. Even poking Lithops with a stick will not kill them. You should not worry about the effects of too much contact.
Lithops are not fussy when watering, but they require that you water them at the right time and with the right amount of water. If you keep them in a container and not on a substrate, they may need daily watering depending on where they are placed. If you leave your plant to be exposed to cold temperatures, it will go into dormancy which is when its leaves start to shrivel.
When Should You Not Water Lithops?
Lithops should be stop from watering during winter, and then only lightly watered to discourage mold. As Lithops do not like too much water on their leaves, you should make sure that they are not wet when you water them. If this is the case, it will encourage mold growth which will cause your Lithops to lose some of its leaves.
After flowering, stop watering Lithops. You must remember to water only when the old leaves are completely dry and to cease watering once the blossoms begin to die. After flowering, lithops produce new growth due to the way they consume water.
This new growth often contains more water than the rest of the plant. If you notice that this is the case, you must take care not to over water your Lithops.
You should stop watering Lithops during the winter if this is the case. However, if you have grown a Lithops in a container for any period of time, you should water it until all the older leaves are completely dry, and stop watering once the new leaves begin to emerge. You should also be sure to give your Lithops a good drink of water when they first plant starts emerging.
What Does An Overwatered Lithops Look Like?
Overwatered Lithops will have soft, mushy leaves and a damp appearance that is caused by the droplets of excess water on the top of the leaves. Lithops do not like to be over watered, and can easily die if they receive too much water.
Overwatering may also cause your Lithops to emit a foul odor which resembles manure or sour milk. Lithops are fairly drought tolerant and will begin to respond severely when overwatered. The following are sins of overwatering Lithops;
Leaves that curl and twist are caused by over watering. If a Lithops is overwatered, the leaves will curl under and then begin to dry up. There is nowhere for the moisture to go, so it stays on the leaves and can even work its way onto the soil in an attempt to escape. This causes a bad smell as well as deformed leaves.
Leaves turn brown:
Leaves that turn brown are over watered. This happens when the Lithops is dehydrated. The moisture on the leaves begins to turn brown, and eventually the entire leaf will become brown and fall off. You should check to see if your plant is dehydrated by using a knife to cut the top layer of soil. If it is soft and moist, you should stop watering.
When a Lithops is overwatered, it will look tired and droopy. When you see this, end watering immediately and let it dry out for a few days before trying again. You should not keep overwatering a Lithops as it will eventually cause your plant to die.
When you overwater a Lithops, it will not be able to flower if you are trying to grow one from a leaf. Mushy leaves and roots are not conducive to flowering and will most likely kill your plant. Even if you have watered your Lithops carefully, there is always the possibility that too much water or a poorly draining soil could make your plants mushy.
Yellow leaves are often caused by overwatering in the summer months. If there is yellowing on your plant, you should stop watering immediately as it means you have overwatered it. This can be prevented by using a pitcher and placing a layer of gravel atop the soil in your pot.
You may also determine whether your yellow, mushy leaves result from overwatering by touching them. You have overwatered if the leaves between your fingertips feel bloated or mushy.