the name "living stones" comes from the Greek Lithos (stone), and ops (similar).
These particular succulent plants, which are also called "Sassi Vivi" or "Living Stones", constitute a genus formed by one
fifty species, mainly
coming from South Africa. These succulents have a fairly unusual shape, cylindrical tending to conical, with two leaves
anchored to a trunk that is usually partially buried, and therefore not easily seen. The fleshy leaves are united for almost all their length, they present a split at the apex that divides them in half, usually in this slit there are some gems which, depending on the period, will give life to new leaves or flowers.
The flowers usually develop in autumn, have a circular shape with many petals, similar to small daisies, yellow, orange or white. Usually the flowers of the Lithops open in the late afternoon.
The varieties of Lithops differ both in the color of the leaves and in the shape and color of the flower, some plants have small windows (they have transparent areas and lack of chlorophyll), this feature allows light to be received even in the lower parts of the plant. It is certainly a plant that does not require great care, prefers exposure in full sun and temperatures not lower than 12-14 ° C.
Watering: the plant suffers a lot from the excesses of humidity and water, in the summer it is advised to carry out few but abundant waterings, after the appearance of the flower it is advised to completely stop the wetting.
Multiplication: the propagation can be either from seed in the spring period, or from cuttings in the summer period, in the latter case the propagation takes place by dividing the leaves, this method of reproduction is difficult to perform, since the leaves dry out with great ease if ruined .
Living stones - Lithops schwantesii: Soil and diseases
Soil: they are grown in loose and very well drained soil, consisting mainly of peat and sand; every 2-3 years they repot, always keeping them in small containers. At the time of repotting we take great care in handling the delicate root system.
Pests and diseases: they particularly fear the cochineal, which can also nest among the roots. Often the lithops get ruined quickly due to scratches on the surface of the foliage.