Lithops aucampiae L. Bolus
Living Stones, Stone Plant
Lithops aucampiae var. aucampiae
Lithops aucampiae is a small succulent that grows up to 2 inches (5 cm) tall. It may form small clusters of up to 12 (usually 2 to 5) bodies with age. The bodies are brown-red with intricate brown patterns. They are composed of 2 thick, fleshy leaves (each with a large leaf window to allow light into the underground part of the plant), separated by a crack from which a yellow flower appears. Flowers are daisy-like, bright yellow, and up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter.
USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
These plants develop a new set of leaves every year, with new leaves emerging in the fall and growing through the winter and into the summer. Lithops will go dormant in late summer, and water should be severely restricted to prevent bursting leaves. The flowers appear near the end of summer or fall, first showing up as a small bud forcing its way between the leaves, and growth will begin again. It's safe to water during this period. The leaves will still be growing into the winter, but you should stop watering, even as the older leaves shrivel up and encase the new growth. In the spring, it's safe to begin lightly watering again as the plant starts to grow again, heading toward their summer dormancy period and the emergence of new leaves in the fall.
Lithops are very slow-growing, small plants, making them ideal as houseplants (once you get the hang of their watering schedule). Older plants form attractive clumps of "pebbles" in their pots, which are highly prized. In general, plants should only be repotted if there are cultural problems (soggy soil) or the plant has outgrown its dish container, which will only happen every several years.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Lithops.
Lithops aucampiae is found in ironstone areas, with sandstone, chert, and quartzite in Transvaal, South Africa. This is an area of summer rainfall.
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