Lithops karasmontana N.E.Br.
Karas Mountains Living Stone
Lithops karasmontana var. karasmontana
Lithops karasmontana is a clump-forming succulent with almost stemless leaves appearing in pairs and resembling two grey stones with brown mottling on the flat to slightly convex surfaces. It grows up to 2 inches (4 cm) tall. Flowers are white, up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter, and appear in fall.
The specific epithet "karasmontana (kar-as-MON-tan-uh)" refers to the Great Karas Mountains located in the Karas Region of southern Namibia, the driest part of the country.
USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 325 °F (−3.9 °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 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. Heading into the winter, the leaves will still be growing, 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 begins to grow again, heading toward its 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.
This species is native to Namibia and South Africa (the name refers to the Great Karas Mountains of Namibia).
- Back to genus Lithops
- Succupedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus
Click on a photo to see a larger version.