This particular Lithops hookeri var subfenestrata ‘brunneoviolacea’ is the first of all Lithops species sown in November 2013 to change into the second pair of true leaves. From first to the second pair of leaves it took only two months. First sign was the fissure beginning to open to the slot which still can be seen in the old pair of fusioned leaves. In the end the new body didn’t emerge through this gap, but ripped open the old leaves laterally. They now spend shadow to the new, like a juicy beret.
Strong colours, all of a strange maroon palette. Strange but appealing. The markings also get stronger now. And one characteristic disappeared: no made-up lips any more! The fissure looks thin, dark and sober now.
Only four Lithops otzeniana have sprouted so far. After changing from cotyledon to the first true pair of leaves, which they did like most other Lithops in their third and fourth month of living, they look like otzeniana does, greenish, with a dark glassy window and very clearly marked islands and peninsulas. You can easily tell them apart, for each one has quite different markings.
Three of them kept their cotyledons turgent and active even after the hatch. This one still has it – for nearly nine weeks now.
Keeping company with L. hookeri. They are clearly distinctive in colour and patterns. This mask is near to perfection:
Three weeks later, I’m sure they’ve grown. Obviously I’m biased.
Among their fellows, Lithops hookeri brunneoviolacea. This photograph was taken mid september; Lithops otzeniana doesn’t look green any more.
One year old now, their first birthday shows already wrinkles and aging – time for lessening water and preparing the next pair of leaves.
Now, in mid-summer, one of them is changing clothes. Wants to grow, I suppose. A few days later it is almost there. The looks are completely different, no white shoulders, and new dark rubrications. I like this little keel which marks the middle of the leaves’ underside.
But, unfortunately,there seems to live a little critter in the same pot who thinks young Lithops are tasty. I’ll try to find him with a green grape as bait.
Lithops helmutii, the last adition to my slow growing collection of stones has been watered for the first time. Whatchful during the next week – as plants without stalks and leaf lamina don’t show signs of feeling unhappy so easily. And Lithops are prone to rot in the first weeks, first watering, first summer …
Fingers crossed – but: they enjoyed the water. All are visibly growing, stretching up to more light, for they were buried with their faces in line with the soil top. I still don’t dare to give them full sun, for the little bodies move when touched with a paintbrush. That means they don’t have much new roots and are still not settled in, their new surrounding is not theirs up to now.
Nice to see how they change colours. More shadow and humidity make them grow green – more sun and dry conditions make them change into a yellowish tawny display. And one of the sixpack has a rosy hue …
At a first glimpse you can tell they have grown – not only by the height they all have gained, but by how strong they stick in the substrate. One of my main tools is a brush. I’ve found it makes a very useful tool for many things, and one of them is to tell me if a newly planted Lithops has already rooted or not. This crowd has, they don’t wiggle the slightest.
Now in august and september it’s getting really hot. The pots sit in some more shade, but the first morning hours still come with plenty of sunlight so I chose to sieve some substrate-rests on top of many of my Lithops-pots. With wind that mostly light organic dirt will blow away, but until then the bodies are bit more buried. Well, with helmutii this doesn’t work as well as with salicola, but at least they get a bit protection at the neck.
The tawny colour they had inbetween has completely disappeared. The predominant colour is green now, marbled green. Helmutii shows to be a fairly strong grower. The biggest is now 2,8cm high, and 2,3 x 1,2 cm wide.
January 2015; slowly the leaves of L. helmutii shrivel, they look awfully now. The temptation to water now is big, as they look so in need of care. In the gap there is already a little phoenix arising: two new, shiny, turgent and green leaves.
I bought this clump while in flower several month ago and always thought it to be four plants tightly grown together in a little pot – a reason I usually do not like to buy plants in large shopping centres is that plants there are handled as disposable articles – and after flowering I planted it just as it came out of the pot in a big planter outside. Lithops lesliei does well with our winter rain regime, but it came clear, that it would not be a good idea to place other Lithops species near to it.
It survived the bill of a blackbird, heavy rainfall and a lot of neglect. Now I decided it was time to plant it back to a new pot, like most of the other Lithops have, and to remove the old substrate, plain peat.
I planned to plant two pots, but to my big surprise, there weren’t four plants, but just one: a five-headed, well grown Lithops lesliei ‘albinica’! Now I understand why the seedpods are empty of seeds and if I ever want seeds from this nice cultivar, I should try to get a second one!
First photographs of Cole-number 078, sown 25.12.13. They had to survive a lot of neglect, from 17 seedlings that sprouted shortly after sowing, there are only seven left. I’ll take more care now, I promise!
An other moult. 8 month old.
After a long summer, some of L. fulviceps have died. These two left, one year old now, have lost their colours and look more like a brown terricolor.
A new face, complete fissure and strong colours again. February 2015.
Lithops optica ‘Rubra’, as always, doing their own thing. They should be growing big now, loosing their old pair of leaves, preparing for a hot and sunny summer. But they don’t. As we say over here, “van a su bola”. Both heads are preparing for their third pair of leaves. The plant grows outside, in the sun, getting sprinkled every other day and a thorough watering once a month – obviously enough – and not enough for an accompanying grass, that dried a few weeks ago and a spontaneus Anagallis-seedling, that just had enough moisture for one gorgeous blue flower and the seed capsule.
First thorough watering for these newcomers. Weather has been warm but not too sunny, so I think they have adapted to local climate meanwhile. More than one-year-old Lithops are watered once a month with a flush of water, able to wash away salt deposits. For this purpose the pot gets water over a period of a few hours, until you can tell the soil is wet everywhere. Then the pot is gently flooded until water pours out freely. Inbetween the waterings all my Lithops get sprinkled every other day, like heavy dew, preferably in the early evening. Watering is never done during a hot weather spell.
A few days later: Two of them are growing – you can tell they emerge from the soil. The third – the big one – is collapsing. Tissue collaps in Lithops is fulminant – nothing you can do. Sad loss – this little mennellii was really cute.
Todo preparado para los nuevos inquilinos – Alles vorbereitet für die Neuzugänge – Ready to move in!They look so extremely tiny when they arrive.Once in their new place they don’t look frail any more.This little beauty is Lithops bromfieldii var. mennellii C283. All three share a square black 13×13 plastic pot now, their new home. I hope they’ll like it. Now the first challenge will be to refrain from watering. They live outside, in the shade. By the way, these plants are two years old.
There now is some evidence that a pea ∅ does not quite serve as a rule for the size of Lithops seedlings. To big in most cases and far to much volumen in comparison to the body of a junior living stone.
Here comes the common peppercorn. Nearly 5 mm and only a quarter of the volume of a pea. That will make the difference.
Lets see if it works:
L. hookeri C019 and a pink peppercornL. dinteri C206 and a pink peppercornL. hallii C119 and a pink peppercornL. fulviceps C266 and the pink peppercornL. karasmontana ‘Top Red’ and a peppercornL. pseudotruncatella C068 and a pink peppercornWhat do you think? A peppercorn fits better, doesn’t it?
And it works for Conophytum as well. This C. violaciflorum just hatched in its first winter/rainy season.
Lithops generally are easy to germinate. Most seeds, if not to fresh, will sprout in a few days, and there will be germinations many weeks later, too.
The embryo quickly forms a body, consisting of the two cotyledons or seed leaves and a tiny tap root.
At this stage, all you see is very green and extremely frail. Two green tips and a fissure in the middle – one millimeter all in all.
The fine gravel looks like big boulders but soon the young plant will be able to push its way up to more light and sun. The tiny plant changes quickly into the caracteristic shape of its species – a flat cotyledon like e.g. in L. lesliei or L. aucampiae, or barrel-shaped as for instance in L. bromfieldii. One other characteristic is the length of the tiny fissure, where the two fused cotyledons leave a gap for the next pair of leaves to emerge – the first true pair of leaves of the young Lithops plant.
left: 39 days old; right: 85 days old; bottom: 108 days old
Lithops terricolor ‘peersii’ C131 has an apple-shaped cotyledon with short fissure. The hatchling changes into a loaf-of-bread-like shape with a short fissure.
left: 39 days old; right: 51 days old, bottom: 170 days old
Lithops verruculosa var. verruculosa C129 has little, reddish-grey, barrel-shaped cotyledons with long fissure and a distinct pair of first leaves . The fissure extends over the whole face, bordered with ruby-red verruculae.
left: 36days old; right: 47days old; bottom:176 days old
Lithops pseudotruncatella ‘alpina’ C068 quickly forms ruby red, tiny barrel-shaped bodies. The colour fades to a dull greenish brown just until the first true leaves appear. The little plant is 2 – 4 mm wide. Very short fissure, hardly visible.
left: 39days old; right: 86 days old; bottom: 170days old
Lithops otzeniana C280 does not germinate as readily. The young cotyledon-bodies are green with a red hue and apple-shaped. The fissure runs through 3/4 of the surface. While the first pair of leaves appear, the cotyedons persist and split deeply. The fissure of the newly formed body runs from side to side.
left: 14days old; right: 86 days old; bottom: 103 days old
The cotyledons of Lithops lesliei ‘Maraisii’ C 153 form a flat elliptic body, shiny, grey with a lilac hue, and a small central fissure. The first true pair of leaves resemble the adult Lithops and have a short, reddish fissure.
left: 39days old; right: 98 days old; bottom: 138 days old
Lithops julii brunnea C179 has green or dull coloured, barrel-shaped bodies, with a long fissure that nearly runs from side to side. The emerging Lithops looks like the adult and has a complete fissure.
left: 126 days old; right: 175 days old
Lithops hookeri var. subfenestrata ‘brunneoviolacea’ C019 makes fairly big, flat-topped, barrel-shaped cotyledons, reddish and dark, with short fissures. Just before hatching the cotyledons fade to a dull beige. The emerging colourful body is flat, with a short fissure that sometimes runs over half or more of the surface.
left: 86 days old; right: 138 days old
Medium dark grey cotyledons are characteristic of Lithops hallii C119, shiny and flat, with a strong and long fissure over rhe whole face of the body. The first true leaves display a new colour, and a complete fissure.
left: 39 days old; right: 170 days old
A very distinct first pair of leaves emerge from small and inconspicuous cotyledons. The cotyledons of Lithops julii var. fulleri C162A are round and dull coloured, the fissure is long. The new body formed by the two true leaves rises high above the slowly drying cotyledon, with a complete fissure and the fully visible grey conus of the typical Lithops. These plants have recieved the same amount of light and sun as all those previously shown!
both plants are 175 days old!
Lithops aucampiae C333 do their own thing. While some hatch and grow, others still await looking at the outside world. Flat, shiny cotyledons, barrel-shaped with a distinct concave face with a rim, grey or reddish, always dark, short fissure. The new pair of leaves form a nearly round, textured body, with a short fissure.
left: 86days old; right: 173 days old
Lithops lesliei lesliei ‘luteoviridis’ has flat, elliptic, rimmed cotyledons. The fissure is half the length of the smaller diameter. The first leaves look like a small Lithops luteoviridis; with a short fissure, as in all lesliei- seedlings I’ve seen.
How big is big?
Take your time: How big is a pea? Be honest now, before you count the millimeter divisions, how big would you guess is a pea? And is a pea bigger or lesser than a one year old Lithops?
Problem solved! The average green garden pea is 9mm. I’d have given it far less than nearly 1 cm!
And this is Lithops hookeri ssp. subfenestrata ‘brunneoviolacea’. Five month old.
Two and a half years old: Lithops pseudotruncatella ssp. groendrayensis
Both Lithops lesliei ssp. venteri ‘Maraisi’ , sown November 2013, are now five months old.
And the jewel loaded Lithops verruculosa var. verruculosae ‘Inae’ is a year and a half.
I ignore how old these four may be, as they flowered last autumn, they are adults altogether : Lithops lesliei ‘Albinica’.
These three – you spot them? – are 5 month old. Lithops pseudotruncatella ‘alpina’.
Well then. Let’s see if a pea is a good criterion for the size of Lithops. Here we go:
These plants have germinated in full sun at 28º N latitude (which is pretty near to their S latitude procedence btw) and they have all the pigments they need for protection. What they (still) don’t have is a volumen that helps them to survive in dry and hot atmospheric conditions. Make the experiment: place a pea in the sun and watch.
You won’t have to wait long!
So, please, in summer and whenever it is hot and dry – bury your little treasures or give them shade.
One never knows how a little Lithops may look after hatching. For it is a hatch when the cotyledon slowly dries up and just a papery shell reminds you of the first stage of the little Lithops‘ life. While the window in the cotyledon opens, you get a first idea of the colour the primary pair of true leaves will show. And if you are lucky, there will be a little jewel growing.
While most of the adult Lithops have a distinct pattern, the youngsters may play on the gay side. This one seems to mimick with a little peace of seramis!
The same little L. bromfieldii a fortnight later. The empty seed still strongly attached to the completely dry cotyledon.
You see the colour? This makes a lithops-grower feel happy!
This is my awesome little orange Lithops bromfieldii – 122 days old and 0,8cm ‘big’. – Lets see how the colour changes with time and with the next pair of leaves.