Since we will be following the life of our little ‘Peppermint Cremes’ over the next year, I thought it might be a good idea to go through the process of growing Lithops from seed, step by step. I’ve made a category entitled ‘step by step’ that you can access from the menu on the right side bar.
Last night, I posted a picture of our ‘Peppermint Cremes’ at Day Zero. They had just be sown. This is what I did:
Step 1: Fill a medium sized clay pot with moist Lithops soil mix. I used the following mixture.
- 1 part clay gravel
- 1 part volcanic soil
- 1 part washed river rocks
- 1 part pumice
- 1 part cactus soil mix
Step 2: Smooth out the top of the soil mix with a thin layer of fine pumice stone (the pumice I used was similar in size to sesame seeds). This step ensures the little Lithops seeds have a surface to adhere to. Give this layer a little squirt of water from a spray bottle (set on mist) to help the seeds stick to it.
Step 3: Carefully arrange the seeds on top of the moist pumice layer. I wasn’t careful and my seeds ended up in a pile on one side. Ugh. I may as well confess now as it will become apparent once they germinate
Step 4: Cover the seeds with a light layer of fine sand. Make sure you don’t use too much…just a dusting of sand will suffice. Give this layer a little squirt of water from your spray bottle (again, set on mist).
Step 5: Cover the pot with plastic wrap and set in a bright location or under plant lights. Be careful not to put them in direct sunlight where they might cook. Young Lithops need protection from the harsh sun.
Tips n’ Tricks:
I LOVE using clay pots with Lithops. Many growers have had good luck with plastic pots, but I find that figuring out the watering schedule is much more difficult. The plastic pots don’t breath the same as clay pots, so my preference is definitely to use clay. I also ensure the pots I use have a drainage hole. Now, the clay pots tend to have one large drainage hole that my soil substrate likes to fall through, so I cover that with plastic craft mesh. You know, the type of mesh they use for cross stitching (google image search for “craft plastic mesh” and you’ll see what I mean). You can find it in any craft shop, it is cheap, and works well.
When I first started with Lithops, I couldn’t find pumice anywhere. It’s okay if you can’t find any in your area; I’ve grown many beautiful Lithops without it. In step 2, you can use course sand to level out the top of your soil mix. This works beautifully! I don’t like using Perlite in my soil mix anymore. While it does help aerate the mixture, I find it tends to rise to the top and then floats around during watering and makes a mess. I have used Qualisorb Oil Absorbent to aerate the soil with good success. There are lots of options if you are creative. Just remember that Lithops hate having wet feet! The soil mix you choose needs to be well draining and fairly course.
Lithops love a lot of bright sunlight, but need to be protected from the harsh sun. In nature, they tend to grow beside bigger rocks, plants, or on the shady side of a hill.
Newly sown seeds will need to be kept under plastic and will need to be misted periodically to avoid drying out. Keep them warm and away from drafts but ensure there is some air movement in the room to avoid mold.