Lithops olivacea (3 subspecies) - 20 seeds

Lithops olivacea (3 subspecies) - 20 seeds

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Rare - Lithops species are probably amongst the most well-camouflaged and cryptic plants in the world. Their common name, stone plant, is particularly apt, as they are often extremely difficult to spot when they are growing nested amongst the gravel in their natural habitat. They are bizarre little plants that have a strange but fascinating beauty in their coloration and form that captures the attention of anyone who stumbles across them. Their ease of growth makes them popular pot plants and, if well-cared for, will make lifelong companions.

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Lithops plants, contrary to popular belief, are easy to grow. The small seeds can be sown in pots of fine, well-drained sand, any time during the summer months when temperatures are warm. Cover the seeds with a very fine layer of grit and water from below with a fungicide to prevent damping off. For the first 3-4 days cover the pots with a sheet of glass/clear perspex to keep the humidity levels high. Remove the glass and replace it with light shadecloth and mist once or twice a day for the next two weeks after which most seeds should have germinated. From then on mistings can be reduced to every second and then every third day as the little plants grow. At this stage it is not a good idea to flood the pot as this encourages lithops soup!

When the plants are a year old, water them once every two weeks in summer and once every 2 months (if necessary) in winter. When the new leaves are pushing though the old leaves, watering should be stopped altogether otherwise leaf pairs start stacking on top of each other. They need a bright spot to grow — somewhere that gets at least half a day of direct sunlight, otherwise they elongate and become ugly. Mealy bug is their worst enemy; if the 'white fluff' is found between the leaves, spray with an insecticide that has either chlorpyrifos or imidacloprid as an active ingredient. They do not need any fertilizer, but a weak solution from time to time won't do them any harm. If well-loved and cared for they make lovely and fascinating pot plants.