Living stones are natives of South Africa. They attract attention with their unusual appearance. Outwardly these super succulent plants resemble pebbles of different shapes, colors and sizes.
In indoor floriculture, several types of live stones are popular at once. Their botanical characteristics directly depend on area of growth, but they all need similar conditions of cultivation and care.
That’s why it is important to know how to grow living stone plants at home, how to avoid common mistakes, so that these exotic guests from distant countries not only grow, but also blossom on the windowsill.
How to Grow Living Stone Plants
To begin with living stones come from hot countries, where heavy downpours are replaced by a prolonged drought. Therefore, these plants need special conditions of growth and proper care. Among them are:
- Living stones prefer the abundance of the sun, so a window with a southern orientation is suitable for them;
- As the plants rest in winter, with the advent of spring they are gradually accustomed to the light, so remove them from the window at the peak of sunlight for 3-4 hours;
- If there is not enough sun then provide plants with additional lighting;
- During wakefulness succulents need air temperature + 23 … + 30⁰, and when the rest phase comes – +13 .. + 15⁰С. The minimum permissible temperature is + 5 ° C;
- The air in the room should be fresh.
Care About Living Stones : Main Principals
Owners need to be attentive with watering, moderate fertilizer and the creation of suitable conditions in accordance with the life cycle. So:
- Plants need a little watering: the overflow quickly destroys living stones;
- The pot is watered every two weeks, very moderately from April to September. In period from October to December, it is watered once a month. The rest of the time (December-April) watering is prohibited;
- During budding, watering for a while is suspended until the buds are dissolved and the watering is continued according to the usual scheme;
- Vases are watered with a can or syringe to prevent water from entering the crevice;
- Use only durable and soft water. Fluoride and chlorine are detrimental to the plant.
Rules for Planting Living Stones
Living stones like to grow in groups – they become “bored” and grow poorly alone. They can be planted with relatives or other species of succulents and cactus’s. Such a company promotes more active flowering of living stones.
Transplantation of live stones is carried out only in the early spring, when new leaves begin to grow. It is not necessary to transplant plants every year; it is optimal to carry out transplants every 5 years.
Owners can plant them in the purchased land for succulents. But it would be necessary to add pearlite and sand. Be careful when transplant the plant, trying not to damage the fragile root rod. Therefore, it is carried out together with an earthen lump. If crystals are found on the roots at the time of transplantation, they are removed by soaking in water with a little addition of citric acid.
What Soil to Choose for the Plants
The soil in which live stones are transported and sold is not suitable for these plants, so they are immediately transplanted after purchase.
Living stones are transplanted into low pots (up to 7 cm) with good drainage. The soil is made from one part of the mixture for succulents, two parts of perlite, and two parts of sand. It is important to consider that living stones do not tolerate calcareous soil.
How to Grow a Living Stone from Seeds
After successful pollination, the fetus will appear on the plant. It should not be touched until the appearance of new leaves. Then it is cut and placed in a dark place for 6 months. After that, microscopic seeds are extracted from the fetus. Or owner can facilitate and speed up the process of growing live stones – buy seeds in the store. It happens is such a way:
1. Flat pots in the form of a plate 6-7 cm in depth and holes for the outflow of water are filled with the prepared mixture. Pot and earth should be disinfected in any accessible way.
2. The surface of the land is leveled; the pre-soaked seeds are spread on the top with an interval of 3 mm. Then they are sprinkled with sand (the thickness of the layer is 1 mm).
3. The container is immersed in water so that the soil is moistened. Then a film shelter should be prepared. Finally owners leave the container in a warm place, where the temperature is about +24 … +30⁰ С.
4. The hotbed is opened for 4 minutes every day.
5. Seedlings are pecked for 8-10 days.
Living Stones : Care of Seedlings
After the first winter, the seedlings are planted. They are removed from the previous container, their roots are straightened and deepened into a new substrate. Mind that soil is used the same, but super phosphate 10 g / 3 l of soil is added.
The pots are again covered with a film and should be gradually taken off for a couple of minutes a day. Watering is very rare, when the soil completely dries up to the very bottom.
A year later, another transplant is performed, and then they are provided with normal care as for an adult succulent.
Finally mind that this kind of succulents can live without fertilizing in general. Only specimens that have not been transplanted for more than 7 years are fertilized once a month in the summer by complex mixtures for succulents.
Group planting of lithops, conophytum and other succulents will help create a real garden of stones on the windowsill that will blossom with the arrival of cool autumn days.
So there is nothing challenging in planting and growing living stone flowers. Owners just need to be attentive and careful with plants. All in all, their extraordinary look will attract every guest of the house.
Editor Note: This article has been written by Nika Goddard