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Stone cactus or lithops: care

Stone cactus or lithops: care

The lithops, also called cactus desert stone or living stones, are actually a whole genus of succulent plants with more than 100 species to their credit. They are native to southern Africa, and are very popular in gardening due to their unique appearance, which makes them look like stones when they do not have a flower.

In Green Ecology, we are going to see the stone or lithops cactus care with a practical guide, full of tips and photos.

Characteristics of the stone cactus or lithops

As we have already mentioned, stone cacti are a whole genus, but all its species share its main characteristics. They are plants with a conical body with a flat surface, and they have only two leaves joined at their base, with a fissure between the two, which is where the new leaves appear, which will replace the previous ones, and the flower. Their colors can vary quite a bit, and range from green to pinkish, like the one presented by the Lithops karasmontanaor orange Lithops lesliei. When talking about the stone cacti, the Pleiospilos are sometimes also included, which is a related genus and shares its appearance of living stonesalthough they are distinguishable from lithops by their greater number of leaves.

The stone cacti are very hardy plants that are adapted to hot and dry climates from their natural habitat, and are commonly used as both indoor and outdoor plants. When bloom in fallThey produce a single flower, nocturnal and in the shape of a daisy, so large that it almost completely hides the rest of the plant.

Stone cactus or lithops: care - Characteristics of the stone cactus or lithops

Caring for the stone cactus or lithops – practical guide

These are the basic care of the stone cactus or lithopswith which you will get it to grow healthy and flourish in a while.

light and location

As desert plants, lithops need a lot of natural light and can even be exposed to full sun at temperatures that do not exceed 35ºC. However, these succulents do not tolerate cold well, and should never be exposed to temperatures below 10ºC. The cold is one of the great enemies of the stone cactus, and if it is exposed to frost or very low temperatures, it is most likely that the plant will not survive.


Lithops require very little water, and in fact overwatering is one of their main threats. You should water them once every ten days in the spring and summer, reduce watering in the fall, and no watering at all throughout the winter, when the plant is less active. In addition, it is important that the saucer of the pot never accumulates water, so if there is any water left in it after watering, remove it immediately. This is very important because excess moisture can cause rotting of the roots of this plant with remarkable ease.


This is a strong plant and very adapted to arid lands, so it will not usually require fertilizer on its land. A universal or succulent plant substrate will be more than enough in the vast majority of cases.


It is recommended transplant stone cacti every three years and not before, since the growth of this plant is not excessive. Transplantation should be carried out in spring.

In this other Green Ecology guide we show you how to transplant a cactus and how to do it and, in addition, you will find a video guide inside.

Stone cactus or lithops: care - Stone cactus or lithops care - practical guide

How to make a stone cactus bloom

Cacti in general are very slow-growing plants, so it is common for take several years to give their first flower. However, if you have had your lithops for three years or more or it has never flowered yet, check that you are giving it everything it needs to be in good shape. optimal conditions. The most important points here are that it gets enough sunlight and that it stays at a suitable temperature, even in winter.

If your stone cactus does not bloom, it is probably because it is in a not very sunny location or because the temperature is lower than recommended, either throughout the year or only in the cold season. Also remember that watering is important in spring and summer, but under no circumstances should you allow the substrate to flood.

How is the flower of a stone cactus

Each lithops bears a single large flower that usually appears in the fall. These are daisy-shaped flowers, white or bright yellow, which grow to completely cover the plant and give off a soft and pleasant perfume. If you like cactus flowers, in this other post we show you more types of cacti with flowers.

To finish, we leave you a photo gallery of stone cacti or lithops with and without flowersso you can see the great variety there is.

Stone cactus or lithops: care - How to make a stone cactus bloom
Stone cactus or lithops: care -
Stone cactus or lithops: care -
Stone cactus or lithops: care -
Stone cactus or lithops: care -
Stone cactus or lithops: care -
Stone cactus or lithops: care -
Stone cactus or lithops: care -
Stone cactus or lithops: care -

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