How to Grow Lithops


Lithops are also known as living stones, and are native to South Africa. They make great houseplants and have large white flowers that open during the day and close at night. Lithops blend in well with surrounding rocks, which helps them avoid being eaten. They grow well in well-drained soil with a lot of sun exposure and thrive best in temperate climates. These succulent plants resemble a miniature horse's hoof with a large fissure down the center of each plant.

Step 1

Plant the lithop seed in a small container with sandy soil. Choose a 4- to 5-inch ceramic or terracotta container with drainage holes. Place a fine layer of soil on top of the seeds. Sprinkle water on top of the soil gently so that the seeds do not get uncovered. The seeds are very small, so be careful not to displace them.

Step 2

Place the container in a place that will get a lot of sunlight, like a bright windowsill. Keep the soil moist but do not overwater. The seeds will germinate within two to three weeks, but some seeds can take as long as a full year to germinate. Lithops can tolerate very high temperatures but will die if exposed to freeing temperatures. Move the plant away from the window if it becomes drafty in the winter.

Step 3

Allow the soil to dry out before watering. Once the seedlings begin growing, you will want the soil to remain moist in the bottom of the container. Allow the top quarter inch of soil to dry. You can achieve this by placing the container in a tray with approximately one inch of water. The plant will draw the water up from the bottom as it is needed.

Step 4

Feed the lithops during the summer growing season. Use a liquid all-purpose fertilizer at half strength. Follow the directions on the bottle of fertilizer. Do not apply fertilizer after September or late fall. This can kill the plant. Instead, allow the plant to go into dormancy.

Step 5

Stop watering the plant in the wintertime. This will allow for new leaf development. Allow the soil to go completely dry and resume watering when you see new growth.

Step 6

Repot your lithop every other year as your plant grows larger. Add compost to the container along with the soil from the original container. Water well to spread the roots out.

Things You'll Need

  • Container
  • Compost
  • Fertilizer


  • Lithops
  • Living Stones
Keywords: plant lithops, growing lithops, living rocks

About this Author

Melanie Hammontree has a master's in business and is working on a master's in journalism from the University of Tennessee. She is a member of the Society for Porfessional Journalists and has been writing for five years. Works include publications with Hall County Crime Examiner, Player's Press and The Gainesville Times.