Lithops - Aizoaceae - How to care for, grow and flower Lithops plants
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HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR OUR PLANTS
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For watering the Lithops it is necessary to follow the indications given in the previous paragraph but in any case they must always be very parsimonious. It is necessary to wait for the soil to dry between one watering and another.
It is not easy to give precise indications but if we learn to observe our plant, it will tell us when it needs water: if we notice that it tends to withdraw into the ground, it means that it needs water.
TYPE OF SOIL - REPOT
Generally the repotting of Lithops it is carried out every 2-3 years and the optimal period is when the old leaves have now completely shriveled and the new leaves have emerged. The pots must be small in size but taking into account that they have a deep root system (in proportion to the plant) using a part of soil for cactaceae, a part of fine sand, one of perlite or pumice. For at least a couple of weeks after transplanting, keep them out of direct sunlight to give the plant time to adjust to the new location.
It is important to place pieces of earthenware on the bottom of the pot to facilitate the outflow of excess watering water as water stagnation is not tolerated in any way and the soil dries out more quickly.
Fix the Lithops so that about 3/4 of the aerial part remains above the ground and then sprinkle the surface with coarse sand or gravel.
The fertilizations of Lithops they follow the cycle of the plant therefore based on the periods in which the plants are watered diluted in the irrigation water a good liquid fertilizer halving the doses compared to what is reported in the package, once a month. Using complete fertilizers means that they have both macroelements such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) and microelements, i.e. those compounds that the plant needs in minimal quantities (but still needs them) such as magnesium (Mg), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), boron (B), polybdenum (Mo), all important for balanced plant growth.
FLOWERING - POLLINATION
The Lithops they bloom mainly during the summer period even if different species bloom also in the autumn period. The flowers last about a week and if pollinated (let's keep in mind that they are self-sterile plants) the seeds mature about four days.
If you want to try to pollinate yours Lithops use a soft brush with natural bristles that you will pass first on the anthers of the flower of one plant and then on the stigma of another plant, taking care not to wet the flowers so as not to damage the pollen. Within a few days, if the operation is successful, we will see the capsule that contains the seeds develop, which must be left on the plant until it dries up completely (it will take several months as the seeds, following the cycle of the plant in nature, they will be ready for the rainy period) .During this period try not to wet the capsule that otherwise would open prematurely. In the following spring, take the capsule and gently remove it from the plant and place it on a sheet of wet paper. Within a few hours the capsule will open by itself releasing the seeds.
If the plant does not bloom it could be due to the fact that it is not adult enough, the plant only starts flowering when it starts to be 3-5 years old.
The Lithops they are not pruned. They should only be eliminated for leaves that dry out to avoid them becoming a vehicle for parasitic diseases.
The multiplication of Lithops occurs by seed
MULTIPLICATION BY SEED
The best time can be spring or autumn, when there is not too much heat that could damage the young plants. Small jars are used (about 10 cm) and each can contain from 20 to 80 seeds.
Use the same mixture indicated for repotting, taking great care, however, that it is well sieved (in order to remove the coarse parts) and sufficiently compressed and cover the surface with a thin layer of coarse sand. At that point you can put the seeds of Lithops on the surface and then put on a very thin layer of fine sand then cover the pot with a transparent plastic sheet, without sealing it, which will guarantee a constant temperature and keep the soil moist. To moisten the soil, use a sprayer.
Place the pot in an area where there is good light but not direct sunlight. Check the soil every day so that it is always moist and remove any condensation that has formed in the plastic.
After about a week, the new seedlings should emerge. At that point, remove the plastic permanently and let the seedlings become stronger, always keeping the soil moist, with good ventilation.
After about a month the seedlings should be sufficiently developed at which point watering can be reduced.
After about another 3-4 months the plants should have leaves that are sufficiently fleshy and more similar to adult plants. During this period it is advisable to give even a little fertilizer (halving the doses compared to what is reported in the package) once a month.
It is best to leave the plants where they are and not transplant them unless the pot is too full of plants.
PARASITES AND DISEASES
The plant appears discolored and develops little
This symptom is to be attributed to excessive watering or done during periods in which the plant is at rest.
Remedies: better adjust the irrigations according to what is reported in this sheet.
The plant loses vigor
If the plant appears not very vigorous and shriveled it could be due to too low temperatures.
Remedies: place the plant in a warmer position.
Presence of small white patches of scar tissue on plants
This symptom certainly represents an attack of mites better known as red mites.
Remedies: use acaricidal products.
The name Lithops comes from the Greek lithos «stone "and opsis"Aspect" in consideration of the resemblance to stones from where the common name of "pietreviventi" or "living stones" derives. This characteristic of them is a real mimicry, in particular for their areas of origin as the fact of being confused with the stones makes them almost invisible to the animals that otherwise would eat them not having, in those areas, other sources of food and water.VIDEO
We propose this video to highlight how incredible these plants are ...
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Online bibliographic sources:
- (en - de) Lithops
- (en) Lithops