Lithops: Day Four (surprise!)

Apparently after having posting on Facebook recently about lithops (aka, “living stones” – which I hadn’t really heard of until my partner mentioned them a few weeks ago … which was also the trigger that set me off on this succulent kick) my sister thought they were neat and ordered a package of seeds online and gave it to me over Christmas.  Apparently it shipped from Crete.  So these are jetsetting succulents!

I started a few small pots the day after Christmas – paying special attention to sterilizing the beach sand this time, given how it’s already showing signs of algae infestation in my Echevaria pots – and made a special succulent mixture of soil with very very low organic content and a mix of various sizes of particles – perlites, vermiculites, coarse and fine sands, and used some very small clay pots since I’ve read that lithops probably won’t be moved or replanted for 2-3 years.   I saran wrapped them up, have been spritzing the top daily for moisture, and am amazed that by day four I already have this:

lithops_dayfour

I guess these plants think that once there’s water, it’s go time and they better go while the getting is good.  I see a few of the seeds already starting to put out tap roots, 1 of the three pots I see no activity yet – but what surprises me is that this particular sprout is already standing up tall enough I had to remove the saran wrap.  I had read that one odd thing about lithops is that the first roots don’t develop the fine hairs that allow them to “dig in” and stand on their own very well until much later than most seedlings, and that you have to shore them up with additional sand on top of the soil when they first sprout.  I set some additional sand out to sterilize to do that this evening, but this one seems to be doing fine on it’s own.

Speaking of – if you’re looking to start lithops yourself, this is a very thorough and informative guide at strangeplants.com that I recommend.

Still, they are sharing the same light in the basement as the echevaria, which right now are receiving periodic blasts from an oscillating fan to help circulate ventilation to fight the algae growth on the top of the soil, so I’ll have to do some rearranging just to be safe and not knock down the lithops seedlings or dry them out too much right as they’re first coming up.  Or find a way to cover the one that’s too tall for the saran wrap cover….

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