Lithops, commonly referred to as "living stones," are captivating succulent plants that originate from the arid regions of southern Africa.

Lithops plants consist of a pair of succulent leaves that are fused together, forming a cleft at the top that produces a small fissure. This fissure acts as the plant's growth point, and from there, new leaf pairs emerge and older pairs gradually wither away. The top surface of the leaves is typically flattened or slightly convex, while the sides are usually rounded or cone-shaped.


Lithops are captivating succulent plants that have evolved remarkable adaptations to survive in harsh desert environments. Their stone-like appearance and ability to blend into their surroundings make them an enchanting addition to any plant collection.

Leaves Treatment


Don’t tear their leaves! Let lithops split naturally!



Lithops splitting, also known as leaf pair propagation, is a natural process in which mature Lithops plants divide into separate individuals.

It is strongly not recommended to tear or remove the outer leaves of Lithops, even when new leaves are growing. These outer leaves play a crucial role in nutrient storage and supply for the plant. The new leaves absorb the old ones. Removing or tearing the outer leaves can cause damage to the plant and disrupt its natural growth process. It's recommended to let Lithops split its old leaves naturally as part of its growth cycle. By allowing the plant to follow its natural processes, you can promote its overall health and ensure successful growth and development.

To check if your Lithops plant has new buds growing inside its two leaves, you can gently pinch it. If the plant feels soft when pinched, it probably doesn't have any new buds. However, never attempt to tear the two leaves apart, as this will result in the death of your plant.

How to Water lithops


Don’t overwater and keep it excessively moist! Provide infrequent watering!



lithops succulents are adapted to survive in arid conditions and have specialized water storage structures. Overwatering can have detrimental effects on plants, particularly by causing root rot and significant damage to Lithops’ overall health. If you can’t judge whether you should water it, just don’t water it until the succulent reveals its thirst with leaves wrinkled or softened. And it is also important to provide good airflow and avoid excessively humid conditions.

Click here to learn how often to water succulent.

When to Water lithops


Don’t overwater Lithops when leaves are firm and plump! Water it when leaves are soft and wrinkled!

When your Lithops is not wrinkling and firm, it means that it’s healthy for now. Firmness in lithops is an indication that the succulent plant has sufficient water stored in its leaves, and watering them at this stage can lead to overwater and potential root rot.


However, when you observe wrinkling in your lithops, it's important to water it promptly. Give the plants a thorough watering, ensuring that the water reaches the roots. Water until the potting soil is moist but not waterlogged, and allow any excess water to drain away. Remember to adjust your watering practices based on the specific needs of your lithops, the prevailing environmental conditions, and the signs of thirst it displays.

Lithops Splitting


Lithops Splitting doesn’t mean death! Lithops Splitting means new baby and flowering!



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When Lithops is splitting, don’t be nervous. It shows that Lithops flower is about to bloom and new leaves to come out rather than indicating its death. The splitting of Lithops is an indication that the plant is actively growing and entering a phase of renewal. You should be happy and not water it until the outer leaves are absorbed and become crispy. Each Lithops may have its own unique splitting pattern and timing. Patience is key during this phase.



Lithops doesn’t need extra water when it’s blooming! Lithops needs little water when it’s blooming!



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Lithops flowering necessitates a minimum age of three years, as these rare succulent plants require ample time to mature before producing their vibrant blossoms. When your Lithops is flowering, it is generally recommended not to water it compared to its active growth phase. Lithops naturally decrease their water requirements during flowering to simulate their arid habitat, facilitating successful pollination and the production of Lithops seeds.

Soil Mix


Don’t add soil mix with more organic media and less rocks! Add soil mix with more rocks and little soil!



Lithops require well-draining soil that mimics their natural habitat. Therefore, using a sandy or gravelly succulent soil mix with good drainage is crucial to prevent waterlogging and ensure the health of the plants. Lithop plants are adapted to low-nutrient environments, so it's important to use a soil mix with minimal organic matter. Organic materials tend to retain moisture, which can increase the risk of overwatering and rot. Remember that more gritty rocks and less or even no soil will always work.




Don’t provide too much shade for Lithops! Provide direct sunlight for Lithops!



To ensure the healthy growth of colorful Lithops, it is essential to provide Lithops with ample sunlight. It is advisable to position them in a spot that enables them to bask in a minimum of 4-6 hours of direct sunlight each day. But observing your Lithops and monitoring their response to sunlight in summer is essential. If you notice indications of leaf burn, you should adjust their position to provide them with more shade or filtered light. Click here to learn how much sun do succulents need.

Indications of Leaf Sunburn:

  • 1. Wrinkling or Shrinking

  • 2. Discoloration or Browning

  • 3. Fissure Closure

  • 4. Softer Leaves

Rocky Appearance


Rocky appearance is not for beauty purpose! Rocky appearance is for survival purpose!



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Instead of good-looking purpose, Lithops in the wild are renowned for their mimicry of stones and pebbles in their natural habitat, which serves as a form of camouflage to protect them from herbivores and helps them to reduce water loss through evaporation.



Lithops have a fascinating growth cycle that consists of distinct phases. It goes from dormancy, splitting, active growth, flowering to dormancy again. Understanding the growth cycle of Lithops is crucial for providing appropriate care and ensuring their overall health. Though lithops plant is a slow-grower. By observing and responding to the plant's specific needs during each phase, you can help them thrive and enjoy their unique beauty throughout their life cycle.

4 thoughts on “How to Care for Lithops: Don’t and Do

Mary Ulring

I just purchased one, and it has gravel on top that seems to be “glued” together. At what point should I re-pot it?

March 3, 2024 at 22:12pm
Sri yasmini

Mengapa litops saya spt membusuk dari bawah?… padahal metan poros..sinar matahari bagus..disiram sesuai kebutuhan…keadaan akar bagus..

December 18, 2023 at 02:07am
Noemi Delas Armas

thank you for the tips in taking care lithops. it is my first time to have this type of succulent and you are a big help!

November 24, 2023 at 22:44pm
Debra Wagner

Thank you TNG for the information. It was very helpful. Love ❤️ all of your succulent plants 🪴.

August 7, 2023 at 01:12am

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