Lithops villetii L.Bolus
Lithops villetii subsp. villetii
The native range for this species is from northwest of Kliprand to Upper Karoo in the Northern Cape, South Africa. It grows mainly on flat limestone terrains with dark brown shale, grey sandstone, and calcrete.
Lithops villetii is a dwarf succulent with bodies that consists of two opposite, partly fused leaves. It grows solitary or forms a clump of up to 8 or more bodies with time. Leaves are thick, fleshy, greyish-green, and slightly convex at the top with a greenish-yellow, dark grey-green, or brownish window with distinct margins and marked with yellowish-brown, often sharply incised islands and small dots. The bodies grow up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) tall. The upper surface is elliptic to kidney-shaped, up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long and up to 0.7 inches (1.8 cm) wide. Flowers are diurnal, bright white, daisy-like, up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter, and appear from the fissure between the leaves in fall. Fruits are 6-chambered capsules with tiny yellow-brown to pale brown seeds.
The specific epithet "villetii (vil-LET-ee-eye)" honors Dr. A.C.T. Villet (fl. 1936-1956), a collector of succulents in South Africa.
How to Grow and Care for Lithops villetii
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. villetii. You may place the pot on the balcony or in the garden from spring to fall.
Soil: L. villetii thrives best in a growing medium that will drain quickly. Use a commercial soil mix for succulents, or make your own.
Temperature: 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. villetii can withstand temperatures as low as 30 °F (-1.1 °C). USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 10a to 11b, 30 to 50 °F (-1.1 to 10 °C).
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. villetii 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 to allow the old leaf pair to dry out and the new pair to develop.
Fertilizing: L. villetii 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 dividing the plant or allowing space for clusters to grow. Repot only when its growing season starts.
Propagation: L. villetii is most often grown from seeds. However, 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 villetii
L. villetii is non-toxic and safe to have around children and pets.
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