Caring for Lithops

Lithops are rare, exotic succulents from South Africa. They're slow growing, and accustomed to full sun, rocky soil, and droughts that last several months. Only the very tops of the leaves are visible aboveground and even these are well-camouflaged in a variety of colors and patterns to blend in with the surrounding landscape.

With the right amount of care, Lithops develop new pair of leaves every year. They only have one pair of leaves at a time so the old leaves will die when the new ones emerge. Normally, the process of growing new leaves happen after blooming period. After they flower, Lithops will go into dormancy for a while to prepare for the new growth.

They have deep taproots and need very little water and a well-draining soil in order to prevent their fleshy leaves from bursting or turning to mush.

Lithops are non-toxic, pet friendly! They are a type of "mimicry plant" - read more about mimicry plants on our blog!


1. Always use a pot with a drainage hole. Try to pick one that’s narrow but 4" or deeper, so there’s room for a deep taproot, but where the container won’t store a large volume of water.

2. Plant only 1 Lithops per pot. Combining multiple plants (or even multiple Lithops) can make it challenging to water the pot at the right times (this does not apply if the pot your purchased has multiple plants growing in it that developed that way).

3. Use a very gritty soil. You want something that drains and dries quickly.

4. Grow in bright sun. Place the pot in full sun outdoors or on a very sunny window sill and rotate it regularly. 

5. When in doubt, don’t water. Lithops may only need a couple waterings each year! Water lightly in the fall and spring growing seasons, wait until you see deep wrinkling before watering again.

  • Begin spring watering only when the older, outer leaves have shriveled into paper-thin sheets
  • Water very sparingly in summer ONLY if you notice severe wrinkling on the top; wrinkles on sides are a normal part of their annual cycle and not an indicator that they should be watered
  • Do not water in winter when they are dormant OR when a Lithops is splitting