LITHOPS (LIVING STONES) GROWTH CYCLE



WINTER:  During the winter months, Lithops consume their leaves (the two fat succulent leaves divided in the center) while producing new leaves inside.

SPRING:  The old leaves part, revealing the new leaves, pushing the old leaves apart and down, which gradually shrivel and dry out.

SUMMER: The plants are dormant.  Oddly, they need less water in those hot conditions than when it is cooler, depending on the water they have stored. Their main growth spurt comes once the hottest part of summer is over.

SEEDS:  All Lithops have a flower-like seed capsule, completely concealed for protection against the summer heat.  The capsule will open for only a minute when it becomes wet in hopes that a raindrop will disperse the seeds (smaller than grains of sand) during a rare summer shower.  The majority of seeds fall near mother plant to take advantage of the shade and retained moisture.  A fully ripe seed will germinate in just a few days if it is warm and damp… creating the beautiful clumps seen in the pictures above.

AUTUMN
:  The Lithops bloom, sending up a tiny sweet-smelling white or yellow daisy-like flower between its two leaves.  These blooms will last approximately three to five days.

And the process begins again.

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All images and content copyright Jeffrey Schneider of JAMES Modern Terrariums 2009.