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Lithops marmorata (Living Stones)


Scientific Name

Lithops marmorata (N. E. Br.) N. E. Br.

Common Names

Living Rocks, Living Stones, Split Rocks, Stone Plant


Lithops diutina, Lithops elisae, Lithops framesii, Lithops marmorata var. elisae, Lithops marmorata var. marmorata, Lithops umdausensis, Mesembryanthemum marmoratum

Scientific Classification

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


This species is native to South Africa (Little Namaqualand, Northern Cape).


Lithops marmorata is a dwarf succulent that forms clumps of many bodies composed of two smooth, gray to pale gray-green leaves with a darker marbled pattern on the upper surface. The bodies are kidney-shaped from above and up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) tall. Leaves are separated by a narrow, very deep fissure, gaping widely. Flowers are white, daisy-like, up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter, and appear from the fissure between the leaves from mid-summer into fall.

The specific epithet "marmorata" derives from the Latin "marmoratus," meaning "marbled, covered or encrusted with marble" and refers to the marbled pattern seen on the upper surfaces of the leaves.

Lithops marmorata (Living Stones)

Photo by Abu Shawka

How to Grow and Care for Lithops marmorata

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. marmorata. From spring to fall, you may place the pot on the balcony or in the garden.

Soil: L. marmorata thrives best in a growing medium that will drain quickly. Use a commercial soil mix for succulents or make your own potting mix.

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. marmorata 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. marmorata 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 develop.

Fertilizing: L. marmorata 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 to allow space for clusters to grow. Repot only when its growing season starts.

Propagation: L. marmorata 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 marmorata

L. marmorata is non-toxic and safe to have around children and pets.


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