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Video: Stone Plants: All You Need To Know About Bizarre Lythops
2023 Author: Lynn Laird | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 21:10
Have you heard of Lithops? Behind this strange name hides a perennial succulent plant, whose most singular appearance leaves no one indifferent. Low to the ground, the Lithops look like real pebbles. It is therefore not surprising that they are commonly referred to as pebble plants. An excellent example of the originality of succulents, vegetal and living stones are among the most popular bizarre plants in exterior and interior decoration.
Pebble plants - what is the origin of Lythops?
The name Lythops comes from the Greek and consists of the words lithos, which means “stone”, and opsis, which means “aspect” or “like”. The genus has about forty species. Pebble plants are perennial succulents native to the desert and semi-desert regions of Namibia and South Africa. The Lithops fascinate with their strange beauty which imitates the hostile environment in which they live, the better to blend in and escape predators.
Description of Lythops: bizarre plants with mimetic abilities
The pebble plant develops an extremely reduced, almost absent stem, which is mostly underground. These are just two leaves that protrude from the surface of the soil. These are separated by a slit. The leaves are covered with a thick layer of wax adorned with more or less translucent streaks, mottles and spots. As already mentioned, pebble plants show mimicry by imitating their habitat. Depending on the species, the leaves display different colors (such as green, rust, cream, gray, pink and purple) and are adorned with varying ornaments.
The most amazing thing is the flowering of the pebble plants! From the crack between the two leaves appears a solitary leaf resembling a lightly scented daisy. White, yellow, pale pink and sometimes two-tone, depending on the species, the leaves 3 cm in diameter usually appear from September. Flowering lasts a few days but in a favorable climate it is possible to enjoy it for about 2 weeks. The blooming takes place in the middle of the day and the flowers close at nightfall.
Cultivation and planting of stone plants
Growing pebble plants is not the easiest. To grow and last for many years, Lithops require special conditions.
Climate: the pebble plant needs heat. It can be grown in the ground (only in temperate latitudes, where frost never rages), in pots outdoors (provided it is brought in the winter in a veranda) or in a greenhouse. This plant does not tolerate temperatures dropping below 8-12 ° C.
Soil: plant the pebble plant in a shallow pot, with a layer of gravel or small pebbles at the bottom. Fill the container with a cactus soil mixed with a mixture of sand and pozzolana or crushed quartz.
Watering: regular watering is from June to October. From April until the end of May, start misting the plant; some watering is also recommended. It is crucial to suspend watering from the end of October to the end of March. During this period, the plant will be able to withstand low temperatures, provided it is placed in a ventilated and bright place.
Fertilization: Lithops do not tolerate fertilization. They prefer, on the other hand, repotting from time to time.
Maintenance: You only need to tear off the old leaves once they are completely dry.
Diseases and parasites
Root lice are to be feared. To cope with them, it is necessary to remove the plant and thoroughly clean the roots of the substrate. Sometimes the only solution is to soak the plant in a systemic insecticide for up to 1 hour. After the plant is dry, it can be repotted in a new substrate.
Lithops dorotheae: convex leaves of pale green, beige or buff color, marked by translucent blood-red veins; yellow flowers.
Lithops karasmontana Top red: buff-brown leaves with pink to brown veins; White flowers.
Lithops Bromfieldi insularis: leaves of a greenish brown color, adorned with translucent green patterns, red lines and dots. Yellow flowers.
Lithops verruculosa Rose of Texas: greyish green leaves, clearly visible varnishes; pink flowers.
Lithops schwantesii: the color of the leaves varies from light green to yellowish green (sometimes even orange); bright yellow flowers.