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Lithops lesliei (Living Stone)

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Scientific Name

Lithops lesliei (N. E. Br.) N. E. Br.

Common Names

Living Stones, Stone Plant, Living Stone, Lesliei Living Stone, Pebble Plant

Synonyms

Lithops lesliei var. lesliei, Lithops lesliei subsp. lesliei

Scientific Classification

Family: Aizoaceae
Subfamily: Ruschioideae
Tribe: Ruschieae
Genus: Lithops

Description

Lithops lesliei is a succulent perennial, almost stemless with soft rootstocks that produce inverse, gray-green to buff, cone-shaped pair of leaves up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) wide. The leaves are are separated by shallow fissure up to 0.2 inch (0.5 cm) with conjuncted lobes. The tops of leaves have light colored speckles or dots. A single yellow and rarely white, daisy-like flower, up to 2 inches (5 cm) wide, emerges from the fissure.

Photo via wikimedia.org

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °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. In late summer, Lithops will go dormant 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 their summer dormancy period and the emergence of new leaves in the fall.

Lithops are very slow growing, small plants, which makes 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.

Origin

Lithops lesliei is native to Botswana and South Africa.

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