Lithops gesinae de Boer
Lithops gesinae subsp. gesinae
This species is native to Namibia, and it is known only from two localities, 43 mi (70 km) north of Aus and 50 mi (80 km) south-southwest of Maltahöhe.
Lithops gesinae is a dwarf succulent with a body composed of two thick fleshy leaves with a deep fissure separating them. It grows up to 0.4 inches (1 cm), solitary or forming a small clump of up to 10 bodies. Leaves are gray to pinkish-brown with tinges of green and have dots and lines of brown or darker color on the top. The upper surface is elliptic to slightly reniform, up to 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) long and up to 1.1 inches (2.7 cm) wide. Flowers are yellow, daisy-like, up to 1.8 inches (4.5 cm) in diameter, and appear in late fall. Fruits are usually 6-chambered capsules with yellow-brown seeds.
The specific epithet "gesinae (JES-in-ay)" honors Gesina de Boer, wife of Hendrik Wijbrand de Boer (1885-1970), a Dutch botanist and succulent plant collector.
How to Grow and Care for Lithops gesinae
Light: A sunny windowsill where the plant receives 4 to 5 hours of direct sunlight during the early part of the day and partial shade during the afternoon is the perfect spot to grow your L. gesinae. You may place the pot on the balcony or in the garden from spring to fall.
Soil: L. gesinae thrives best in a growing medium that will drain quickly. Use a commercial soil mix for succulents or make your own.
Temperature: High temperatures are not a problem for this plant as long as there is plenty of fresh air, but it is not a cold-hardy succulent. L. gesinae 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: Like all Lithops, this succulent has a specific yearly cycle of growth, and it is important to water only during certain stages, but it is also important to keep the soil dry at other stages of its growth. How often you need to water your L. gesinae depends on how quickly the potting mix dries out. It is essential to let the soil dry out between waterings. Stop watering during the winter months to allow the old leaf pair to dry out and the new pair to develop.
Fertilizing: L. gesinae does not need to be fertilized. It will thrive without any feeding. If you decide to feed, use a fertilizer with high potassium and low nitrogen levels.
Repotting: This small succulent will happily stay in the same pot for several decades. The common reason for repotting is dividing the plant or allowing space for clusters to grow. Repot only when its growing season starts.
Propagation: L. gesinae is most often grown from seeds. If you have a multi-headed plant, it can also be propagated by division. Sow the seeds during the summer.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Lithops.
Toxicity of Lithops gesinae
L. gesinae is non-toxic and safe to have around children and pets.
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