Lithops or Living Stones Plants: Discover How to Take Care of Them

Lithops or living stones have an inert appearance and belong to the group of succulents. They have an incredible capacity to store water, facilitating their care for anyone who owns them.
Lithops or Living Stones Plants: Discover How to Take Care of Them

Last update: 07 December, 2021

Lithops or living stones have an inert appearance, but they’re living plants native to southern Africa. In fact, they belong to the group of succulents. Moreover, they have an incredible capacity to store water, facilitating their care for anyone who owns them.

They’re called living stones because they look like stones, to the point that they’re camouflaged when grown among them. Keep reading because we’re going to tell you all about this interesting living species.

What do lithops or living stones look like?

Lithops or living stones have a basic structure: two rather fleshy and curved leaves with several small cavities through which light enters that makes the photosynthesis process possible. The two leaves are separated by an opening inside where the new leaves are generated and replace the ones that are wilting.

Its cultivation is simple and its care is even more so. By nature, these plants are very resistant and can even resist high temperatures. Although of course, when you have them at home, your care will make them look even more beautiful.

What’s more, your care will make flowering even more intense. This occurs in the fall or early winter and consists of the birth of a single flower that looks a lot like a daisy. It has a special peculiarity in that during the day it remains open to receive the sun, while at night it closes. How fascinating!

These buds vary in color and can be green, orange, gray, pink, yellow, and brown.

succulents for living stone or lithops
Tea set with succulents/Instagram

Caring for lithops

Although its care is simple thanks to genetics and resistance, you can give them some additional care that’ll make your plants look even more beautiful. You can grow them in pots inside or outside your home.

Substrate for lithops or living stones

The substrate for lithops or living stones should be sandy and well-drained. Due to its ability to store water, excess water can easily damage the plant. It’s best to avoid fertilizers and they’re not really necessary.


The watering of these plants depends on the season of the year. For example, in early autumn the substrate should be rather dry, which favors flower growth. In spring a light watering should be performed, prioritizing the removal of dry leaves to stimulate the growth of new ones.

Contrary to what many people may believe, irrigation should stop during the summer and winter. This is because the new leaves retain the water from the old leaves.

Plants welcome succulents

Exposure to light and temperature

Lithops or living stones need a lot of exposure to the sun’s rays and they grow best in warm environments. However, it’s better if the temperature doesn’t exceed 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Returning to more information about the light, make sure your shoots are exposed for a minimum of five hours each morning. In the afternoon, offer them partial shade.

Although you can have your living stones outside, during the winter you should leave them inside to protect them from frost. They won’t be able to withstand temperatures of 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lithops or living stones transplantation

Lithops grow slowly, so it’s not advisable to transplant them before they reach the age of three years old. In fact, it’s not recommended to do so, unless the substrate deteriorates or the plant demands a larger space. In these cases, the procedure should be done during the spring, when the plant is actively growing.


The cultivation of lithops or living stones at home is simple. You’ll need a pot that’s at least five inches deep, a sandy substrate, and the seeds. These should be placed in the middle of the substrate, which must be kept moist until germination occurs.

Keep in mind that these plants don’t need pruning, as the old leaves fall off on their own when the new ones are ready to sprout.

Do you like lithops?

Lithops or living stones are beautiful and it’s worth having them at home. Of course, keep in mind that, although they’re relatives of succulents, you shouldn’t combine species, since lithops require very different irrigation and care conditions.

Growing your living stones alone will allow you to provide them with the specific care they need, enabling them to live between ten and twenty years.