Lithops, also known as Living Stones, are a genus of succulent plants native to southern Africa. They are characterized by their mimicry appearance, resembling small stones in their natural habitat. The plants have a compact form, consisting of one or more pairs of fleshy leaves and a minimal stem. The slit between the leaves holds the meristem, which produces flowers and new leaves during the growing season.
Lithops prefer full sun and dry conditions, as well as poor, sandy soil. They can be grown in USDA Zone 9-11, in containers or outdoors, but must be brought indoors in colder climates. During the growing season, they should receive bright sun and warm temperatures and be allowed to dry completely between waterings. Fertilization should be done bi-monthly with a succulent fertilizer. In a pot, it is important to use a porous soil to ensure proper drainage.
Lithops enter a dormant phase in late spring or early summer, during which they require little or no water. The plants should be stored in a cool, dry place during this period. When the cooler and shorter days of fall approach, Lithops will begin growing again. The plants have evolved to survive in their harsh habitat by using stored water to last through intense heat and little rainfall in summer and blending in with the surrounding stones for protection