How to Care for Living Stone Plants

Overview

Living stones, (Lithops), are unusual succulents that look like small, rounded stones. Living stones, also called flowering stones or pebble plants, can live up to 50 years and rarely need to be re-potted. Stunning daisy-like blooms appear in November and December, followed by a period of dormancy when old leaves die and new leaves form. Living stones aren't difficult to grow, but the plants have different water requirements at different times of year. The most important thing to remember is to water sparingly, as living stones, like all succulents, are prone to rot.

Step 1

Plant living stones in a container filled with commercial cactus potting soil, or with a potting mixture made of one part commercial potting mixture and two parts sand. Be sure to use a container with at least one drainage hole in the bottom.

Step 2

Place living stones where they will be exposed to 4 to 5 hours of bright morning sunlight. Without adequate sunlight, the color and shape of the plant can become distorted, and the living stones will eventually die. However, the plant should be protected from the hot afternoon sun.

Step 3

Keep the soil moist in spring and summer, and water only when the soil is thoroughly dry. Stop watering after the living stones bloom in late fall or early winter, and don't water again until spring.

Step 4

Fertilize living stones in spring when watering is resumed, using a balanced liquid fertilizer for indoor plants. Apply the fertilizer according to the package directions, except dilute it to half strength. Fertilize the plants again in autumn.

Things You'll Need

  • Container with drainage holes
  • Commercial cactus potting soil or commercial potting soil and sand
  • Balanced liquid fertilizer for indoor plants

References

  • Guide to Houseplants: Living Stones
  • Bella Online: Making Your Own Cacti Potting Mix
Keywords: living stones, lithops, lliving stone plants

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.