How to propagate, grow Stone Cactus (Lithops) and its care

Lithops, also known as stone cacti, living stones, or stone plants, are a variety of succulent plants native to southern Africa. The plant gets its bold nickname from its shape, which resembles a small rock or pebble. In this article we will discuss how to propagate, grow stone cactus and its care.

grow stone cactus



Stone cacti are incredibly slow growing succulents; its growth is usually limited to 2.5 cm.

As with all succulents, caring for them is incredibly easy. Succulents don’t just tolerate neglect, they need it, as over-watering or fertilizing can lead to their premature death.

Due to their small size, these pretty succulents are often grown in groups, creating a mini succulent garden indoors or outdoors.

For this reason, they are also popular accent plants for rock gardens or large-scale succulents. Read on to learn how to grow and care for this quirky succulent.

Where to Grow Stone Cacti

grow stone cactus

You can grow stone cacti outdoors, but you have to approach it differently depending on your climate.

Whether you grow the plant outdoors as a perennial or just take it out for the summer, it requires plenty of sunlight.

Those who live in desert areas or are exposed to extremely hot sun should try to shade the plant in the afternoon, but other than that the succulent can be in full sun from five o’clock to all day. , just turn it from time to time .

Be sure to bring the plant indoors when the temperature reaches 10 degrees Celsius or lower.

Since stone cacti are small and slow growing, they don’t make a great ground cover or border plant. However, they work wonderfully as an accent plant alone or mixed with other succulents in a succulent garden, either in a container or in the ground.

How to Propagate Stone Cactus

There are two ways to propagate stone cacti, it can be done by growing them from seed or by division. Let’s see each of them:

Sowing seeds

Growing stone cacti from seed is the most popular way to grow this plant, but it takes a lot of patience. The ideal time to do this is in the spring, when temperatures exceed 15 degrees Celsius.

Start by preparing a potting soil, a mix of potting soil and cactus soil, and maybe some pebbles. It should be sandy, well-drained and airy.

Sprinkle the seeds on the ground, cover them with a light layer of sand and keep them moist and in a place where it gets plenty of light but no direct sun.

Germination will take a few months. Once they have sprouted, divide them into 10cm pots and water them every two weeks.

cultivate by division

grow stone cactus

Growing stone cacti by division is more complicated, since they must already be separated naturally. This can be done year round as long as the temperature is above 10 degrees Celsius.

In this case, carefully remove the plant, including its root system, and cut it back, making sure that each plant has enough roots.

Transplant them into individual pots, making sure they are large and deep enough for the root system to grow without curling up.

Stone cactus care

grow cactus stone care

Although succulent care seems daunting to some plant owners, it’s a fairly simple routine.

The key is to try to mimic the plant’s natural growing conditions, which in the case of stone cacti are arid, with lots of sun and little water.

Whether grown indoors or outdoors, they need as much sun as possible, at least four to five hours. Of course, be careful not to burn the leaves. Rotate the plant so that it grows evenly.


The main concern in caring for stone cacti is overwatering. Small plants only need to be watered every few months, but some people choose not to water them from fall through spring.

They generally need to be watered once every two weeks or when the soil is completely dry during the summer, and this can be greatly reduced during the rest of the year.


grow cactus stone care

Stone cacti can develop small flowers, but this will take many years. That said, there are several ways you can encourage flowering.

Withholding water during the dormant months, primarily during the winter, is one way to help them thrive.

You can increase the effect by giving them a diluted liquid cactus fertilizer once, just before or during the first watering of the season.

How to replant a stone cactus

grow stone cactus

These plants grow incredibly slowly, so repotting isn’t much of an issue. However, over time the plant will outgrow its pot, especially if mixed with other plants or succulents, and will eventually need to be repotted.

Other problems, such as soggy soil, pests or diseases, and lack of nutrients in the soil, are also causes for repotting.

To transplant it, find a pot just a little larger than its current home. The pot should be deep enough for the root system and wide enough for new growth. Unglazed terracotta pots are ideal for increasing water drainage.

They should be planted in a sandy, well-drained medium, such as cactus soil with additives such as pebbles, sand, etc.

Repotting should be done early in the growing season, in the spring, after the last threat of frost.

Begin by carefully removing the plant from its current pot and removing as much of the old soil as possible.

Support the plant in its new pot so that it is at the same depth as before and fill it with soil.

It may also be interesting to read: How to propagate, cultivate the Easter Cactus and its care.

Tap the jar firmly to expose the air holes and fill if necessary. Finally, water well and leave it in the shade for a day so that it recovers faster.

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