Lithops dorotheae - 20 seeds (C124)
The Lithops (a.k.a. Living Stones) are some of the world's most fascinating plants and are sought by the collector of succulent plants. Paying attention to the particular growing requirement of Lithops is especially important. If you provide the Lithops with the right conditions, they will reward you with their unique shape, size, color and a proliferation of blooms in autumn. However, Lithops are tricky plants that are very particular about their growing conditions and require the right maintenance in order to keep happy. But don't be afraid even the best growers have plants that mysteriously dry up, or leave during the night. While Lithops are picky about their care, if you are patient and remember the basics, your efforts will be rewarded. Being small plants, a representative collection can be grown on a patio table, a sunny windowsill or a shelf in the greenhouse. Growing rate: Slow growing for a mesemb. Soil: They grow best in an open mineral, sandy-gritty soil and requires good drainage as they are prone to root rot. They can grow outdoor in sunny, dry, rock crevices (protection against winter wet is required) They can also be cultivated in the alpine house, in poor, drained soil. Repotting: They may stay in the same pot for many years. Plants grown in larger containers have frequently relatively poor flowers. Flowers might improve when the plants are given their own, small individual pots. Watering They Require little water otherwise the epidermis breaks (resulting in unsightly scars). The basic cultivation routine is: Stop watering after flowering. Start watering after the old leaves are completely dry (usually late March or Early April). Water freely during the growing season, soak the compost fully but allow it to dry out between waterings. In the winter season, the plant doesn’t need watering, the plant in this time extracts water from the outer succulent leaves, allowing them to shrivel away, relocating water to the rest of the plant and to the new leaves that form during this period. If grown in a container, bottom watering by immersing the container is recommended. Water sparingly only when warm, no water when cold. Nearly all problems occur as a result of overwatering and poor ventilation, especially when weather conditions are dull and cool or very humid. They must have very dry atmosphere. Fertilization: Feed them once during the growing season with a fertilizer specifically formulated for cactus and succulents (high potash fertilizer with a dilute low nitrogen), including all micronutrients and trace elements diluted to ½ the strength recommended on the label. They thrive in poor soils and need limited supplies of fertilizer to avoid the plants developing excess vegetation, which is easily attacked by fungal diseases. Some growers fertilize frequently, some hardly ever. However, for the highly succulent mesembs, (Lithops, Conophytums, etc.) fertilization is not really necessary. Light: They prefer a very bright situation and in winter they need the maximum amount of light you are able to give them, but keep cooler and partially shaded in summer. The only exception to this is seedlings in their first year that enjoy a shades place. Such tiny plants can easily get scorched or broiled and their appearance spoiled (this may not matter in the wild, where the Lithops have probably shrunk into the ground and becomes covered with sands). Outdoor (Lithops prefer full sun, with some shade in the hottest summer months. High levels of light are needed in autumn to flower and for good plant development. The low intensity of sunlight during the growing season of this species generally prevents the white flower flowers from opening. Special Advice: Lithops are best planted in a sunny and airy part of the greenhouse, and not too close to the glass roof or sides of the house as the plants can overheat during hot spells. Hardiness: They require a minimum temperature 5°C (But will take a light frost and are hardy down to -7° C for short periods if they are in dry soil). USDA zones 9A – 11.
Mix equal parts of potting mix and perlite. Moisten the mix with water, and fill a pot with drainage holes, up to about 1/2 inch from the top.
Sprinkle the seeds over the soil. Cover them with a 1/8-inch layer of fine sand or crushed rock. Do not cover with too much soil or the seeds may not germinate.
Fill a spray bottle with water and mist the soil with it. Try to keep the soil moist throughout the germination period. Cover the pot with plastic wrap or a glass pane to help the soil retain moisture.
Place the pot in a warm, sunlit area. Aim for a temperature of approximately 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a heating mat underneath the pot, if needed. Expect the seeds to germinate within about two to 12 weeks.
Remove the plastic wrap or glass pane once the seeds germinate. Transplant the seedlings to individual pots when the plants start to crowd each other and are big enough to handle, which is usually in a year. Place the pots in a sunny location.
Avoid overwatering the seedlings as they grow. Water them once the top 1/4-inch layer of soil is dry. After about three months, allow the soil to dry completely between watering.
Provide lithops with about five hours of sunlight per day.
Don't expect all the seed to germinate at the same time. Some seeds may take as long as a year to germinate