How to grow Lithops from seed

Otherwise known as 'Living Stones' or 'Pebble Plants, Lithops is a genus of approximately 400 species, although new species continue to be discovered. They are small, extremely succulent plants whose camouflage and mimicry have evolved to help hide from their native plant eating predators.

Lithops seeds
You can sow lithops seed from mid-winter right up until late summer, but best results are usually produced when sowing in April.

Using a modular seed tray filled with a low nutrient, free-draining compost (a proprietary cactus compost will be fine) or make your own using a of 50% potting mix and 50% perlite, vermiculite or horticultural grade grit-sand by volume.

Scatter the lithops seeds on the surface, do not bury them. Lithops seeds require high humidity and the presence of light to help initiate germination so provide a thin covering of silver sand. Gently water in with a watering can fitted with a fine rose or a fine mist sprayer, and then place inside a heated propagator at a temperature of approximately 18-27 degrees Celsius. Alternatively seal inside a clear polythene bag or cover the tray with a sheet of glass or perspex. Place on a warm windowsill, but one which not receive direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day. Germination is irregular, but you can expect the seedlings to emerge anytime from 2-12 weeks.

Lithops seedlings
Allow the surface of the compost to dry out between waterings and increase ventilation as more seedlings appear.

Once the lithops seedlings have begun to establish in their modules, they will be ready for transplanting. Gently pop out the module disturbing the roots as little as possible and pot on into 6 cm pots filled with regular cactus compost. Again, allow the surface of the soil to dry out slightly before watering. Once the lithops seedlings are two to three months old you can begin to let them dry out for a few days between more thorough waterings. They can also be conditioned to receive higher levels of light. Transplant again when the plants become too crowded.

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