23rd of november, a green bud. It’s Lithops lesliei ‘albinica’.
Just the next day: slightly rosy petals already there.
In the late afternoon of the 28th of november, a rather windy and dusky day, the flower opens for the first time. The long pistils seem already receptive while the stamina still remain undeveloped in the bottom of the flower.
Antimima argentea (Rooivlei), first true leaves, 30 days.
Argyroderma congregatum, Vredendal; 30 days.
Oophytum nanum, Quaggaskop; 30 days.
I’m very happy about Lithops coleorum C396, Ellisras, germinating so eagerly. Growing this plant is a tribute to Naureen and Desmond Cole. 37 days old. Seeds from Mesa Garden.
Another one I’m eager to see grown up is Fenestraria rhopalophylla ssp. aurantiaca ‘Fireworth’. 38 days.
Ophthalmophyllum dinteri. Green, 43 days old eggs.
Schwantesia ruedebuschii ‘marlothii’, Aggeneys, which is supposed to have ‘stout red teeth’ does already show colour. 38 days.
Aloinopsis malherbei, Calvinia. Big, flat and dark. 56 days.
Dicrocaulon ramulosum, Riethuis. Already showing his water cells, growing along with Schwantesia. 46 days.
Closing the eleven, the first sphaeroid coming through is this Argyroderma congregatum, Vredendal. Smooth texture, milky sheen, linden coloured and a complete fissure, the first true leaves share one characteristic with the cotyledons: both sides are unequal. 50 days.
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!
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.