Lithops salicola L. Bolus
Living Stones, Salt-dwelling Living Stone
This species is native to South Africa. It occurs in Low limestone ridges or slopes, often along edges of brackish pans in Free State and Northern Cape.
Lithops salicola is a dwarf succulent with a body of two opposite leaves, truncated in profile and divided by a shallow fissure through which the new pair of leaves and the flower appear. It forms clumps of up to 50 bodies. The bodies are thick, fleshy, green-gray with darker translucent channels at the upper surface and grow up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) tall. The upper surface is smooth, kidney-shaped, up to 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) long and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide. The flower is white, up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter, and appears in fall. The fruit is a 5- or 6-locular capsule.
USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °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. 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. The leaves will still grow into the winter, but you should stop watering, even as the older leaves shrivel 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.
- 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.