Conophytum lithopoides L.Bolus
This species is native to South Africa. It occurs on quartz cliffs, slopes, or rubble from Concordia to Kouberg, with a lost outlier near Kakamas in Bushmanland.
Conophytum lithopoides is a dwarf succulent that forms a cluster of bodies composed of two thick, fleshy, almost entirely fused leaves. It grows up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) in diameter. The leaf pairs are cylindrical, convex to slightly bilobate and windowed at the apex, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) tall and up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) in diameter. The epidermis is purplish-brown to bright chartreuse, often with a mottled pattern of opaque brownish spots and sometimes with wart-like groups of prominent cells. Diurnal flowers are long-tubed with basally white magenta-colored petals and filaments forming a yellow to cinnabar ring.
The specific epithet "lithopoides (lith-oh-PO-id-eez)" means "looks like a stone" and refers to the stone-like appearance of the plant. It is a compound of the words, the Greek noun "líthos," meaning "stone, pebble," and the Latin suffix "-oides," meaning "looks like" or "similar to."
How to Grow and Care for Conophytum lithopoides
Light: This succulent needs bright light but does not like too much direct sun. To avoid sunburn, place your C. lithopoides in a position to receive a few hours of full sun in cooler periods of the day. The plant stretch if it needs more light.
Soil: C. lithopoides thrives best in porous soil mixes that allow water to drain away quickly. Use a commercial potting mix specially designed for growing succulents or make your own.
Temperature: High temperatures are not a problem, but the plant can be damaged when the temperature goes below freezing. C. lithopoides can withstand temperatures as low as 30 °F (-1.1 °C). USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 10a to 11b, 30 to 50 °F (-1.1 to 10 °C).
Watering: When it goes dormant in the spring, C. lithopoides requires little or no water. In the fall, when it will begin growing, it is safe to water deeply, allowing the soil to dry before watering again. If leaves start to wrinkle during active growth, your plant needs water.
Fertilizing: This small succulent is a light feeder, and it does not need fertilizer unless it is repotted every two years.
Repotting: The best time to repot C. lithopoides is at the beginning of the period of active growth, but repotting can be done at almost any time while the plant is actively growing.
Propagation: This species is usually grown from seeds. Like all Conophytums, it is also easily propagated by division. The best time to divide C. lithopoides is in late summer or early fall, before it begins to break dormancy or after it has flowered. Sow the seeds in fall in a pot with a well-drained soil mix.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Conophytum.
Toxicity of Conophytum lithopoides
C. lithopoides is non-toxic and safe to grow around children and pets.
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