Animals aren’t the only ones who evolve camouflage to escape their predators. Plants do it too! Lithops is a genus of succulents native to southern Africa. They avoid being eaten by pretending to be – wait for it – butts. No, I’m kidding, they pretend to be stones! They are weird and gorgeous and we have a whole bunch!
Living stones are a strange little bulb* of a plant with two fused leaves that will part to send up flowers or, when it’s ready to grow, new leaves. They store energy over the summer and when they’re ready in the winter they start to grow new butts. These leaves start to show in the spring and split the old leaves in twain, using the old leaves life-force to grow stronger, faster, better. Kidding again about the “faster”, they are incredibly slow. If you get frustrated with tedious, boring progress, look elsewhere. These guys are the snails of the plant world.
As a native to Africa, they are used to extreme heat and long periods of draught. As a result their care is pretty particular, you can’t just douse them with water once in a while like a regular succulent, they are actually adapted to go months without water and if you try to give them more they will pitch a fit!
- As much direct light as possible
- Water sparingly from Mar-May, maybe 2-3 deep waters in that time
- Do not water in summer unless leaves start to wrinkle, then give one shallow water
- Starting with a small, shallow water, water increasingly from Sept-Nov easing into 2-3 deep waters in preparation for winter growing season
- Do not water in winter; new growth may appear in between existing leaves. Old leaves will shrivel up as new leaves grow. This is normal, do not water.
*Not actually a bulb