dead lithops

Arlington, TX

Put all 3 into S/H and one has already died. I did water, was that a mistake?
Cheryl

Yardley, PA

Hi Cheryl, The lithops are the only plant that I don't water in the winter or if they get any water it is very, very little. Only if they are really shriveled. The rest of my s/h plants have water.

Mountlake Terrace, WA(Zone 8a)

I potted up my Massonia depressa that I had in Hydroton, as the plant had not done a thing in the last month on it, back into my regular succulent mix. My Hippeastrum reticulatum var. striatifolium seems bigger on Hydroton, and my Schlumbergera 'Marie' seems to have mixed results with some branches not looking great, and others in bud. All the rhips that I transplanted last week look great. With one taking up all the water it could.

Yardley, PA

It is really neat. I have had very few failures in s/h. It is probably closer to how a lot of these plants grow in the wild.

Port Elizabeth, South Africa(Zone 10a)

I also lost a lithops, but it was iffy to begin with, others do well. Fockea little ones have grown visibly. Cheiridopsis did take time to adapt, but doing well now.

Clarksville, TN(Zone 7a)

May I ask what s/h stands for? I probably know but it isn't coming to mind. ^_^

Yardley, PA

s/h means semi hydroponics. Sorry!

Yardley, PA

My lithops in the s/h have done fine but I must following their strict water needs. No water in the winter. Just a little bit if they start to shrivel. Out of my 90 plants, the lithops are the only ones that don't get water all winter.

Clarksville, TN(Zone 7a)

No problem. Thank you. ^_^

Minneapolis, MN(Zone 5a)

Sally,
Since Lithops are winter growers shouldn't they get water in the winter? Everything I've always read has said no water during the summer dormancy period.
Or have I had a brain hemorrhage?
Mike

Clarksville, TN(Zone 7a)

I was kinda wondering the same thing. I water mine in the winter and they are really starting to grow right now. I noticed one was a bit shriveled the other day so I watered it yet again. All is fine now.

Mountlake Terrace, WA(Zone 8a)

I am really wondering about s/h and dormancy. Water? Fertilizer? Dry? I guess it depends on the plant, but S/H is quite different from soil in its ability to store nutrients for long periods, it seems each watering has to have what the plant wants or not.

Yardley, PA

Everything I have has water during the winter except the lithops but I may be wrong about the lithops after reading from treelover and Cville. s/h is new territory so I just keep experimenting.

Clarksville, TN(Zone 7a)

Mine are not grown by s/h so perhaps that makes a difference? These are in a very fast-draining succulent potting mix. One is a lithops and one was labeled as argyroderma spp./ conophytum? They are now actively growing and I have watered them several times since bringing them inside for the winter. In the summer, they are dormant and I water them little or none other than what they may get from rainfall.

Thumbnail by Cville_Gardener
Port Elizabeth, South Africa(Zone 10a)

I have tried to explain on another thread that Lithops does occur over a vast range in SA, winter and summer rainfall. If you take into account that you can find a specie only around 1 hill in the world, they are a little more complex - also they occur in Summer and winter rainfall areas from 1500m to 50m depending on specie, subsp or var. Ok, so I have decided to give a whole paragraph from a Lithops book, which may help:

NOTE - SA SUMMER IS NOW (DEC - FEB) and WINTER (JUN, JUL) -

Lithops have quite a large distribution area, and the range of climatic conditions is fairly broad, so it is not easy to give an exact schedule that suits all of the species. One can however follow some basic guidelines by bearing in mind their growth cycle. Just after the plant has flowered (March to April mostly), and once the temperatures start to drop, one can start reducing the frequency of their watering, but not the amount of water, giving them their final soaking in early May. After this they should not receive any heavy watering at all, until late September or once their old leaves have been absorbed completely. It is during this time that the new bodies develop inside the existing ones. The new body absorbs the moisture stored in the old body, and as it does the old body dries up, eventually becoming a paper thin shell. If one waters the plant too much during this period, the old body does not get absorbed, and can end up restricting the new body from forming. It is referred to as the dormant season, but it is actually a period of renewal and growth. It just appears as if nothing is happening, but in reality there is a lot going on inside the shrivelling body. This new body will eventually break out of the old body in spring, when the rains return. During the so called dormant period one should give the plant no water, except for the odd misting, prefferably on warmer days, or maybe once a fortnight or so (if you live in a colder climate misting is not a good idea). Once the new body has fully emerged, you can start to water more deeply again.

This message was edited Dec 19, 2010 4:50 PM

Port Elizabeth, South Africa(Zone 10a)

AGAIN _ NOTE THE REMARKS ON SOIL< HUMIDITY
Hope this helps!

Sorry - the paragraph did not copy

This message was edited Dec 19, 2010 4:54 PM

Port Elizabeth, South Africa(Zone 10a)

As a rough guide, one can water the plants about once every two weeks during the summer, but this depends on the soil mixtures you are using, the humidity levels, and the temperatures. The best way to work out if a plant needs water is rather to observe the plants, and get to know the telltale signs. One can generally see if a Lithops needs water, when it starts to retract into the soil, or when its leaves start to wrinkle when it loses its stored water. During the hotter summer months one can also spray the plants with a mister in the early mornings or late afternoon, but just lightly to cool the soil and stimulate the small roots that catch the condensation that would occur in their natural habitats. When you give them their proper watering, you must ensure that you give them a good soaking so that the water reaches their roots (but don't overdo it either). Many people often think they are giving the plant enough water, when in effect, all they are doing is wetting the top of the soil. It is not an easy thing to get the balance right, but in time you will know what to look for. Observation is the key, the more you look, the more you will learn. For people in the northern hemisphere, plants will adapt to your seasons, so you must follow the seasons you have, and not the ones in the southern hemisphere.

Port Elizabeth, South Africa(Zone 10a)

About soil:
The type of soil you grow your Lithops in is very important, and everyone tends to use their own recipes. The soil should drain easily, be mainly mineral based, and should not contain too much organic matter. Your climate also should be taken into account. If your plants are grown in humid or colder climates, drainage is very important, because the water must not remain in the soil for too long. If your climate is very hot and dry, you can have a bit more organic matter, and the soil can be a little more compact, so that the water can remain in the soil for long enough for the plants to absorb the water. When adding compost to your mix, you must ensure it is decomposed properly. I would suggest that you sieve your compost to remove any larger particles. The type of soil mix you use is also affected by your watering regime, and must be kept in mind. If you water your plants frequently, then a mix which retains water for too long can be a problem. If you grow your plants hard, a soil mix which has hardly any water retentiveness, can be a problem, even though Lithops are pretty drought resistant. I would recommend that you try stick to the same recipe every time you mix your soil, so that your drainage is a constant. Rather adjust the watering and fertilizer for finer control of the individual species needs. One of the best soils to grow Lithops in is decomposed granite, but this is not always easy to obtain. Too much fine silty sand can be a problem, because it has poor drainage. If your sand is fine, you will need to add some grit, pumice or perlite to the mix. Fine clay based soils are also not a good idea because there is not enough air present, and I have also read that clay has a very strong bond to water molecules, which makes it harder for the plants to "pull" the water from them. In habitat the soils are fairly fine, but in cultivation fine soils can be tricky to work with. It is easier to give more water than it is to take it away.

Port Elizabeth, South Africa(Zone 10a)

Stepen Hammer says:
Even if they all look alike, broadly speaking, not all species in Lithops behave alike. The differences involve soil preference, sensitivity to an overabundance of water and heat, flowering times, and rapidity of shrinking and sheathing. Most species will grow in any well-drained mixture, but a few, especially those in the L. comptonii complex, do best in a very firm humusless mix. These species are also the most rot-prone. All lithops will grow and thrive in deep or shallow pots; of course the available depth will affect root length, one's watering regime, and the ultimate size of the plants.

Most species receive summer rain in habitat, but there are some which are wet in winter and others which come from areas of erratic and very sparse rain. However, in cultivation all lithops without exception send forth their new heads by summer. That this is not merely a “cultural bias” is demonstrated by the behavior of seedlings. Whenever sown and however watered, seedlings eventually conform to a cycle in which they begin to expose their new heads in late winter. By summer they are ready to grow, though here we face an old semantic problem. The visible expansion of heads take place in spring and summer; but their formation occurs in winter, and even though this amounts to a usurpation of the old body's resources, it can still be termed “growth.”

L. pseudotruncatella and its variants flower in early summer, while the northern forms of L. optica (including 'Rubra') flower in mid-winter. The other species fall into the main yellow group, flowering in late summer to early fall, a few late yellows (L. olivacea and the original form of L. naureeniae), and the great white wave, which normally occurs weeks later than the main yellow one. If an adult lithops does not flower, this is not merely a disappointment for the plant: it can also impair its health, since the initiation of floral and vegetative buds is normally a twinned process. (Often the flower bud aborts at an early stage; nonetheless its surviving “twin,” the new head, will emerge normally.) It is wise to water lithops generally in summer to encourage buds of both kinds. I also water them in winter, to encourage the emergence of new bodies, but this watering is very shallow and selective, and it is superfluous or destructive where winters are dank.

Port Elizabeth, South Africa(Zone 10a)

I do hope this helps - it does note that there is differences, but they last longer get older if you "stress" them in our terms not theirs. Eventually this is one species where you need to find you own "method" by finding the soil, etc, watering that suits your own situation - once you do, you will have lots of lithops and lots of fun.

I lost 50% of my lithops when we moved due to stupidity - They got water - so many just turned to mush on the week travel down. They DO NOT want wet feet and I found if I work hard to keep the part dry between the roots and plant, the chances of rot minimize a lot. (that is a very sensitive area) for me!

Clarksville, TN(Zone 7a)

Thank you for all the information. Really appreciate that. I think mine are still getting the hang of: "For people in the northern hemisphere, plants will adapt to your seasons, so you must follow the seasons you have, and not the ones in the southern hemisphere". ^_^

Port Elizabeth, South Africa(Zone 10a)

LOL - I do think it was grown in your part of the world from seed! They are such interest plants - always nice to have a few around! LOL

Clarksville, TN(Zone 7a)

Yes, there's something about them that just makes me smile. ^_^

Arlington, TX

I have mine in SH and I wonder if it needs any winter water.

Minneapolis, MN(Zone 5a)

I didn't read everything above so I apologize if this was already covered.

When you see a lithops growing new leaves, the plant should get NO water. Lithops take moisture from the old leaves and put it into the new leaves being formed. If you water when the plant is replacing its leaves, the old leaves won't shrivel up and die and the plant will end up with multiple leaves - and a lithops should only ever have 2 (two) leaves. Once the old leaves are dried up and the new leaves have formed, if the plant starts to get a little shriveled, then give the plant some water.

Since Little Things lives in/near their native habitat, she will be a good resource for info. There is also a lot of info out on the Internet if you search for it.

I love lithops, but I cannot, not water them and I also cannot give them enough direct sunlight.

Arlington, TX

I tried mostly though not full sun here in TX and they fried. I do see the new leaves inside the old so no water til those are gone, even in SH.
C

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