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 Lithops Soil Mix & Sand Top Dressing

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jeffnyc



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PostSubject: Lithops Soil Mix & Sand Top Dressing   Fri Apr 09, 2010 7:15 am

Hello!

I wanted to get some opinions. I have used a soil mix of:
equal parts:
turface
crushed granite
pumice
Then, just enough topsoil to hold it together.
I have added a thin layer of sand over the soil mixture so the Lithops pop (see image below).

Could this layer of sand present a problem with moisture retention?


Thank you!

Jeff
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Lachy
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PostSubject: Re: Lithops Soil Mix & Sand Top Dressing   Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:53 pm

I must admit that I'm rather clueless about lithops... aside from the fact that I am rather good at killing them. Embarassed

Does anyone have any tips about growing these plants? I know some of you guys and gals have got these plants growing quite happily. Spill the beans for the rest of us!
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jeffnyc



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PostSubject: Re: Lithops Soil Mix & Sand Top Dressing   Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:45 pm

I don't have any tips, but have researched their growth and watering cycle extensively online. The following is a basic, how to/when to year-round watering guide:

SUMMER: Little or no water. Lithops will become dormant in very hot summer weather, and strange as it may seem, need less water in those hot conditions than when it is cooler. If a prominent shriveling occurs during the summer, it is safe to give just enough water to restore the firm appearance of the plant.

LATE SUMMER:
Watering should generally begin from early to mid August for most species. Often a good drenching of the soil will encourage the plants to begin their growth cycles. Their main growth spurt comes once the hottest part of summer is over.

AUTUMN:
It is safe to water deeply during the fall, and in fact is better than a shallow watering because the plants have taproots. It is important to let the soil dry out quite a bit between watering. The plants will begin growing. The first sign of growth is noticed when the fissure between the leaves begins to separate. In the days to follow, a bud will force its way up through the fissure and shortly thereafter single yellow or white flower like an iridescent daisy emerges from the centre of the fused leaves. Regular watering should be steadily decreased after the flowering period. For most species to allow the soil to dry out completely in preparation for the cold winter months.

WINTER: Discontinue watering altogether by about late September. No water at all should be given. The plants consume one pair of leaves and produce a pristine new pair. Plants will still be growing; the new bodies will be increasing in size as the old outer leaves begin to shrivel.SPRING: Begin by watering lightly, increasing the amount of water gradually, working up to several good drenching during mid spring. Be sure to let the soil dry between watering. Reduce watering as the heat and long days of summer approach, allowing the plants to prepare for their dormant period.

Hope this Helps!!!
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cryptocarpa
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PostSubject: Re: Lithops Soil Mix & Sand Top Dressing   Tue Apr 27, 2010 5:52 pm

We get good results with about 70 drainage material 30 percent potting mix. You would be better off using more pumice instead of the granite chips as it has internal porosity. With these plants it is more about having air in the soil mix than drainage really. Most importantly is watering. Wait till old leaves are almost absorbed in spring before starting to water. Once a fortnight spring and autumn(until it starts to get cold) and once every ten days in summer works well for us. My wife has thousands of lithops!(no joke) I think we had only one rot this season gone following this regime so it must be O.K.
Some pics




Even better Dinteranthus.


Last edited by cryptocarpa on Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Lachy
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PostSubject: Re: Lithops Soil Mix & Sand Top Dressing   Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:14 pm

Shocked

Those Lithops are picture-perfect, mate. They are a real credit to you.
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jeffnyc



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PostSubject: Re: Lithops Soil Mix & Sand Top Dressing   Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:37 am

WOW! With those results, I think I'll add your info to my care notes!

Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful Specimens!!!!
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Hellonasty
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PostSubject: Re: Lithops Soil Mix & Sand Top Dressing   Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:19 am

I must admit I have never had any interest in Lithops whatsoever but after seeing yours Crypto, I like them Smile
still don't think I could bring myself grow them Very Happy not yet anyway.

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My Cacti Blog, please come visit me.

http://astrophytum-and-friends.blogspot.com/

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Darren
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PostSubject: Re: Lithops Soil Mix & Sand Top Dressing   Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:57 pm

Those photos makes them look so good... i have only ever had one but for some unknown reason my dog ate it . i must give them another try because they realy are quite pretty arent they.

great work guys

regards
Darren
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jeffnyc



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PostSubject: Re: Lithops Soil Mix & Sand Top Dressing   Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:53 am

Your DOG ATE IT! Too FUNNY! That's rather ironic considering that Lithops have evolved to look like rocks for thousands of years in order to avoid thirsty predators. Smart dog!
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Darren
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PostSubject: Re: Lithops Soil Mix & Sand Top Dressing   Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:12 pm

maybe not so smart he also ate a foot long cutting of peniocereus serpentinus spines and all??? dont know how he got
that one down
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mutant
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PostSubject: Re: Lithops Soil Mix & Sand Top Dressing   Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:11 pm

lol, I find the concept extremely funny...

he looks lovable nevertheless

eating a spiny cactus now is another thing. Maybe you should rent him to a circus or what?

hey, care to comment and encourage me on my lithops project?

photos are not so indicative as they were taken when most where splitting.

New ones coming soon as they take their mature colours and patterns

Quote :
We get good results with about 70 drainage material 30 percent potting
mix
I think I have done more or less this, 50% perlite 50% comercial cactussoil, clay pots too, so very well draining, no soil above root level only gravel and little stones...
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Darren
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PostSubject: Re: Lithops Soil Mix & Sand Top Dressing   Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:37 pm

Quote :
Maybe you should rent him to a circus
trust me i have thought of that

i definately have a soft spot for these lithops and they seem to do very well here in little old adelaide!! i have looked at many pictures of these little beauties and the photos you guys have posted are as good as the best of them!!

well done!

darren
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mutant
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PostSubject: Re: Lithops Soil Mix & Sand Top Dressing   Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:23 pm

I'll be damned, what a leap!!!!

yep the photos here are as good as they get!
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jeffnyc



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PostSubject: Re: Lithops Soil Mix & Sand Top Dressing   Sat May 01, 2010 12:49 am

I'll take cute over smart in a dog any day!
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cryptocarpa
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PostSubject: Re: Lithops Soil Mix & Sand Top Dressing   Sat May 01, 2010 8:41 am

Just a quick addition to the cultural stuff. Never saturate lithops soil especially in cooler times. And beware rats and mice like to eat them . Oh and dogs too..
Hn. I used to feel like that about lithops. I thought they were tacky and all looked the same. Then a friend who was a great lithoparian passed away and two seed capsules he had collected came my way. Well they were dated prior to 1989 so I didn't expect much. The seeds were like dust. Anyway they almost all germinated. Anything with such viability is worthy of a bit closer look so I bought a book and ordered seed and I was smitten. There are few better examples of evolution at work(or the creators attention to detail maybe) than lithops. Their mimicry, the miracle of the seed capsule, amazing low water requirement(200ml is enough to produce a mature lithops,) some are camouflaged to the rocks in habitat others to the soil, both colour and texture work this way. When it is dry they go underground. They can tolerate extreme heat(over 55) and represent the ultimate in leaf succulence and reduction. The flowers are beautiful often they smell nice and the plants vary in appearance from one location to another aswell as between species. You can keep many in a small space(I grow around 800 a square meter) and now they are adapting to us as collectors with the many beautiful cultivars or I should say aberrant colour forms(ACF) to be precise. I could go on and on I really like em. And a big old clump is a impressive sight..
More pics





Theses are from that original seed sowing.

Some populations are still very variable. Evolution in progress? These are Lithops karasmontana v.mickbergensis c381 I think.

So shed your skin and lets get started..on a new seasons growth that is.

Some babies.


Last edited by cryptocarpa on Sat May 01, 2010 7:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Darren
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PostSubject: Re: Lithops Soil Mix & Sand Top Dressing   Sat May 01, 2010 3:00 pm

i tell you what the more photos i see of these little guys the more i am liking them. i tried a batch of seed when i first started and got great germination but lost them all. I am going to have another try. the image where they are shedding their skin reminds me of when my son was born
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mutant
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PostSubject: Re: Lithops Soil Mix & Sand Top Dressing   Mon May 03, 2010 9:00 am

Wow! crypto, great stuff

keep it coming

Some of my new humble lithops project



a question... note those two following photos





Is this an abnormal making of new head [so the old one is gonna dry out] , or, [as I think those heads are already new] this is head doubling???

When do they double? I had this happening to 2 or 3 I used to have which died when I left them outside in the rain during automn, lots of days.... but I don't remember how they double...
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Lachy
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PostSubject: Re: Lithops Soil Mix & Sand Top Dressing   Mon May 03, 2010 5:00 pm

This thread is seriously turning me on the the idea of growing these little guys again. They're getting to be my fave (non-cacti) succulent.
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cactuscook
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PostSubject: Re: Lithops Soil Mix & Sand Top Dressing   Mon May 03, 2010 9:57 pm

love the lithops only have about 80 though put in heaps of seed this year hope to increase my collection as i can fit heaps into a smll space find them easy to grow if you follow a few easy steps. The great thing about lithop seed is you can get good germination even from old seed a friend germinated fifteen year old seed with good results.
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cryptocarpa
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PostSubject: Re: Lithops Soil Mix & Sand Top Dressing   Wed May 05, 2010 9:01 pm

Mutant: It looks tome like the pictures of your lithops are the new seasons growth coming out the side of last seasons leaf pair. It is not the end of the world but it is something to avoid. This is because the new season's growth usually absorbs the nutrient and water from last year's leaves. Lithops loose their old leaves like trees in autumn but for them it happens in spring
When it happens as nature intended the new growth emerges from the center. I find that what happens on plants like the ones in your pics is that the split cuts across the base of the old leaves. This means the new leaves cannot absorb them and then they hang around for a long time until they dry out. Also the new leaves miss out on the benifits from last year's growth and the old leaves are more likely to rot.
It was probably caused by reintroducing water after winter too soon or too quickly. Wait untill the old leaves shrink to 30% and the new leaves are emerging from the center of the leaves before starting to water in spring. This is usually about middle to late October(In Melbourne). Then start with very light watering. If the old leaves start to swell up again stop waterig for a couple of weeks. There is very little chance that you will under water these plants they don't need much. Even if you do give them too little water they quickly catch up with a few good drinks and can probably go many months without.
They will double after they flower at about three years old. Some species stay single all their lives. Others can form clusters a foot across with dozens of heads. They can live for a long time. I read once that there are collected plants nearly 100 years old. As Steven Hammer says the journey with lithops "from their cradle to your grave" is a long and fulflling one.

Lachy, everyone has room for an exstensive collection of lithops and there are many other nice mesembs too. Just need a place out of the rain and to learn when not to water, then they are less work than almost anything to care for. I am planning to make few dozen species available around October for anyone interested.
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cactuscook
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PostSubject: Re: Lithops Soil Mix & Sand Top Dressing   Wed May 05, 2010 9:51 pm

Have you heard of a red flowering lithop. Love mesembs dont know anyone with titanopsis like them only have four plants though does anyone in aust do a mail order for mesembs.
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mutant
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PostSubject: Re: Lithops Soil Mix & Sand Top Dressing   Thu May 06, 2010 5:29 pm

Hey thanks a lot.. I have propably to hasty to see the patterns form. Should have watered less. But I really thought they had all split by now...

Is it possible that they did and are splitting again due to overwatering?

In a couple of previous ones I used to have I missed the flowering because they doubled, probably due to overwatering, but they did double!
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blowng
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PostSubject: Re: Lithops Soil Mix & Sand Top Dressing   Mon Jan 03, 2011 7:40 pm

A guide to the cultivation of Lithops

http://www.lithops.info/en/
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simon 1



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PostSubject: Re: Lithops Soil Mix & Sand Top Dressing   Sun Jan 06, 2013 6:15 pm

cactuscook wrote:
Have you heard of a red flowering lithop. Love mesembs dont know anyone with titanopsis like them only have four plants though does anyone in aust do a mail order for mesembs.
afaik the only red flowering one is Lithops verruculosa var. verruculosa 'Rose of Texas' although there are a few pinkish orange cultivars around,seeds for Lithops verruculosa var. verruculosa 'Rose of Texas' are available from Mesa garden,although US based Lithops are a permitted import so no issues importing small amounts of seed as long as the envelope has the correct latin name on it

a very reliable mail order for seeds and plants of Lithops, Aloinopsis, Conophytum and Titanopsis in Australia is http://www.ozlithops.com/Default.asp

just on a side note i find it very difficult to trust any web based growing guides,the cultivation of Lithops is very different in Sydney to Melbourne to Adelaide and certainly the rest of the world,what works in southern California and Sydney would kill Lithops in Tasmania and Europe so it pays to be specific about the location of the information,i would suggest you experiment and find a method that works for you
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