How Do I Grow and Find Lithops?

Lithops amicorum in bloom. (Image by Lithopsian)

“Where would you get Lithops? Where would they grow? Are they hard to grow?” Very interesting. Question from Debbie Hildebrand

Answer: Lithops are cool, unusual succulents from the dry, upland regions of Africa. They are called “living stones” because they resemble flowering rocks on the dryland floor. They are not too difficult to grow, if you give them the right care. Here is what they need to thrive.

Lithops Culture

These little, colorful succulents look great in small containers. They survive in USDA Hardiness Zones 10-11 and are best suited for outdoor growing in the American Southwest where summers are mild. Otherwise, they can be grown in containers and grown outdoors in summer and indoors in winter. Choose a low, decorative pot to best show off their beauty and diversity. Plant them in Black Gold Cactus Mix. Plant them so their roots are fully covered, but their tops are completely uncovered. The top of containers should be covered with a layer of fine, decorative rocks, chicken grit, or gravel. They require full sun but should be protected from hot direct sun midday.

Watering is tricky. Give them light water in summer, and refrain from watering them in winter. In the wild, winter is their dry period. If watered too much, these little succulents will quickly rot.

Lithops Sources

Specialty succulent nurseries carry these plants. They can easily be purchased online. We recommend three reliable sources: Living Stones Nursery, Mountain Crest Gardens, and The Succulent Source. You can also call specialty garden centers in your area to see if they carry any.

Happy gardening!

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist


Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

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