Lithops hermetica D.T.Cole
This species is endemic to Namibia. It grows scattered in several small colonies in a small area in Sperrgebiet, also known as Diamond Area.
Lithops hermetica is a dwarf succulent that grows solitary or forms small clumps of bodies composed of two fleshy leaves with a deep fissure separating them. The bodies are pale gray, sometimes with a light tint of red. They are up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) tall, up to 0.5 inches (2.3 cm) long, and up to 0.7 inches (1.8 cm) wide. The apex of the lobes (leaves) is flat to slightly convex with irregular, translucent, dark grey to greenish-grey channels. The daisy-like flowers are bright yellow, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter, and emerge from the fissure between the leaves in fall. Fruits are 5-chambered capsules with smooth creamy-yellow seeds with a light brown tip.
The specific epithet "hermetica (her-MET-ih-ka)" is a feminine form of the Medieval Latin adjective "hermeticus," meaning "hermetic" or "air-tight."
How to Grow and Care for Lithops hermetica
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. hermetica. You may place the pot on the balcony or in the garden from spring to fall.
Soil: L. hermetica thrives best in a growing medium that will drain quickly. Use a commercial soil mix for succulents or make your own.
Hardiness: 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. hermetica can withstand temperatures as low as 30 to 50 °F (-1.1 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b.
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. hermetica 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. hermetica 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 to divide the plant or allow space for clusters to grow. Repot only when its growing season starts.
Propagation: L. hermetica 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 hermetica
L. hermetica is non-toxic and safe to have around children and pets.
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