tgplp
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Lithops!!!!

Lithops... The plants that look like rocks. :) I love these little guys! I am so excited- after weeks of sitting there, my lithops are opening up and getting a pair of fresh, new leaves! Well... I guess you could call them leaves. Hmm. Anyways, does anyone have any experience, or comments on these amazing succulents?

Taryn

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None, except I would love to find a couple. They are very interesting looking. Good Luck with your's. :D

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Omg they are so cute!!! :D I used to have four lithops, but I watered them and two died a day later!!! Now I am down to two lithops. I ordered mine from Cactus Limon, but they aren't in stock right now. :( I would like to order more, but I'm not sure where! I've searched the web. Is it safe to buy plants from eBay?

Taryn

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With ebay there is no guarantee that you are getting what is pictured or described. Returning is much harder, too.

They are so cute I agree! Take pictures??
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Kisal
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I've never grown them, but be aware that the old leaves will wither and fall away as the new ones develop. I've seen posts here where people thought that indicated a need for more water. Don't fall into that trap. ;)

The old leaves die as the new ones develop. It's the way the plant is supposed to function. Occasionally, one set of old leaves might not die, in which case I would recommend doing nothing. Like animals in captivity, plants outside of their natural environment sometimes behave a bit differently. :)
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Tinypixie- hmmm you're right. eBay sellers are not always trustworthy...

Kisal- omg thanks for telling me! One of my two lithops was getting all wrinkly and weird, and I was considering watering it. Phew. Now I know what's going on!

Does anyone know where I can easily purchase lithops online? Old Man Cactus sells them, but they haven't updated their website in years. So who knows...

Taryn :)

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Oh yay! I just found some fore sale on Cactus Limon!!! Yipee!

:D

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:( Went on that site and they don't ship to canada!! :( What a site though! They have gorgeous plants there! Drool, lol!!!
Last edited by Green Mantis on Sun Jun 26, 2011 10:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

FistulinaHepatica
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My little lithops

Was going to post here, but forgotten! I have had good luck with lithops seed from FleaBay. I got it from a really nice lady who grows strange plants in Bulgaria as a hobby :)

Posted this on Dave's Garden forum some days ago ... but I thought I'd share it here as well:
EvilPlot wrote:Hello all! Just found this lithops thread on Dave's wotsit. I saw my first lithops when I was backpacking around southern africa when I was younger and have been fascinated by them ever since!

Dalmationfan, your pics are wonderful. It's a bit like waiting for your christmas presents to grow, isn't it?

I bought some seeds (mixed lithops) from FleaBay in May and eagerly surface sow them in my *homemade Lithops germinator* with some rather hare-brained mix. But guess what, it worked! So here's my recipe

The soil mix I used is equal parts of:
1) Cactus and succulent potting soil (available at garden centres)
2) Perlite
3) really finely bashed up pieces of terracotta potsherds (as sand substitute)

I use about 3 cm layer of the above hare-brain mix in a recycled yogurt pot that has drainage holes poked at the bottom.

The lithop seeds are put (with much concentration!! Tiny little buggers, aren't they?) about 1 cm apart on the surface of the soil-perlite-potsherd mix.

Using a spray bottle at it's finest mist setting, they were well watered until it starts to drip out of the bottom of the pot. Then I spray a very dilute solution of sulphur based fungicide. I read that lithops like the soil slightly acidic, so the sulphur probably kills two birds with one stone: fungicide and pH adjuster.

Then they go into my homemade germinator that was cobbled up from a recycled supermarket Roast Chicken container. They have nice clear domes with several holes on top, and dark coloured base which helps absorb the heat.

I'm in zone 3a and weather's been pretty wet and cold even in June so the whole contraption sits at the North facing windowsill as I have measured the temperature there to be about the right range ~ 10-15 deg C (or 50 - 60 Fahrenheit).

One advantage I found of using the Roast Chicken Germinator is I don't have to mist it very often - I think I only misted it once since original sowing. I usually check with my finger to see if the soil mix surface is moist enough before the mister gets used. The perlite helps retain the surface moisture and hold the seed in place.

About 10 days later (yes, 10 days!) I have them little green things popping up between the perlite grains! They have moved from where I *sowed* them probably from the water spraying.

Home made Lithops germinator:
[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y221/blauwefox/Fungi%20et%20plantae/Lithops170611_germinator.jpg[/img]

At first I covered all but one of the air holes with scotch tape (you can see them at the top) to help seal in the moisture. As the seedlings grow bigger I will gradually open up more air holes, and eventually remove the domed lid.

Peekaboo at 10 days! The Yogurt pot is oval with dimensions about 12 cm (~5 inches) across the length, and half of that across it's width.
[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y221/blauwefox/Fungi%20et%20plantae/Lithops170611_resize1.jpg[/img]

Zoom in to see the little fellas. They're about a little less than 1mm (1/32 of an inch) across their faces.
[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y221/blauwefox/Fungi%20et%20plantae/Lithops170611_crop1.jpg[/img]
I will post more pics of the little fellas as they grow. If any of you wants some lithops and if you're within picking up distance (I don't like mailing plants ... canada post SUCKS!) I'm more than happy to let you adopt a couple of them wee little guys. I wasn't expecting quite as high germination rate!! Life is full of surprises, and some of them are good
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Fis, You did a GREAT job with those lithops!!! WOW to get so many to grow! Fantastic! The way you did that is great, really easy and cheap! I would love a couple and can even pick them up! :) Your'e not too far away, I can't beleive it!!!

Out of curiousity where is FleaBay?????? Is that on Dave's garden site? Sounds really interesting. To get on Dave's site like that do you have to pay to join? Or just sign up? Hope to hear from you on FleaBay. Thanks so much. :)

FistulinaHepatica
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LOL, I call eBay FleaBay. It's a pun.
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:oops: Oh my Goodness!!!!! Trust me to walk into that one, :oops:

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I've got five Lithops. I did have a few more, but they died. I've had them for about a year and some for a year and a half. They are all doing fine. The best trick is to neglect them and respect there growing cycle. That is to know when they don't need water or need it. Here is what I've learned about them and how I treat them:

Watering:

Only water the Lithops once a month approximetly. As soon as new leaves start to appear, stop watering until the old leaves die and the new ones have appeared. This usually lasts for a few months.

Exposure:

A window facing South seems to do the trick. Alltho, when they are having new growths, a cold and shaddy spot would be good to put them into dormancy. I've never done that, but it is recommended.

As for repoting, I'm not sure, but I have two that really need a bigger pot. Gonna surf the net to see when to repot them.
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I Like Plants........Do you water the top of the soil, or the bottom or????? How close to the plant do you water? Seems like some of these things are sooooo fussy to water, so just want to be sure. As you have managed to at least keep some alive anyway!!! Good for you! :D

FistulinaHepatica
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When I was in SA the ranger guide I was hanging out with said that the baby lithops seeds like it really moist and quite shady and cool to germinate. They germinate late in the summer wet season, grow a fair bit in the cool-ish moist autumn before the hot blazing winter (hot and during the day, freezing cold at night), when they go completely dormant and not need any water ... until spring rains come again the following year.

I would recommend mixing lots of gravel and sand to the cactus soil you get from garden centres, as they like the growing medium very lean (2:2:1 gravel:sand:cactus soil, or even 3:3:1 if the soil is very rich)

This guy's blog is pretty good on lithops repotting

https://mrbrownthumb.blogspot.com/2010/12/how-to-repot-lithops-living-stones.html
The mighty Oak is just another lonely nut who stood its ground ...

FistulinaHepatica
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Green Mantis wrote:I Like Plants........Do you water the top of the soil, or the bottom or????? How close to the plant do you water? Seems like some of these things are sooooo fussy to water, so just want to be sure. As you have managed to at least keep some alive anyway!!! Good for you! :D
The stem of lithops tend to suffer from rot/fungus if you water it too much. They have really long tap roots for such stumpy fellas - make sure you have a deep pot (at least 3 inches deep) and have slightly more organic material at the bottom, with more gravelly sand closer to the stem. They evolved to happily drink water from the more fertile and moist layer several inches under their rocky roosting place.

I'd say water once or twice a month is pretty sufficient for mature year-olds in the spring/summer if your pot is big-ish. Smaller pots dry out faster, so maybe once a week (depending on your local humidity and temperature) -- poke your finger at the bottom of the pot's water drainage hole to check if the soil is bone dry or not.

When they're still babies until their first dormant period they'll need more humidity and surface moisture as their tap roots are still very short. If them roots dry out, they're pretty much toast.
The mighty Oak is just another lonely nut who stood its ground ...

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FistulinaHepatica,-----------Thank you very much for the incredible site on transplanting etc. Soooo interesting. Do you happen to know Where in Calgary a person can get Bonsai mix?????

Sounds like I need some. Plus some gravel. I have a really good purchased cactus mix, but I think it would need to be mixed in with the bonsai mix. Because "when" I get a couple I don't want to lose them.

Guess I need to look on "FleaBay" too. LOL!!!

FistulinaHepatica
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I was looking for bonsai soil too, but I wasn't looking too hard as I'm pretty happy with my perlite:potsherd bits:cactus soil mix.

FleaBay is a bit of hit and miss with regards to seeds. Once I found a reliable and reputable grower (sounds like a grow-op! :lol: ) I tend to stick to it. Reading through feedbacks is a good way to find out; some buyers will post germination %, quality of seedlings apart from the more obvious and usual "fast delivery and secure packaging".

I even risk buying seeds from European and Asian sellers if I know their reputation -- some of them will have their own Gardening Supplies business in their own countries and sell over-stock seeds on FleaBay for really cheap. I got my 70-ish lithops seeds + postage&packing for about USD$3.00 great bargain if you know how to start them!

Another good site on Lithops starting is by this guy:

https://www.strangeplants.com/

He also has his own personal favourite Lithops growing medium mix that contain more exotic ingredients ;)

You gotta check out the wonderful Lithops graphic puzzles on his website, too! Great time waster while waiting for your seedlings to grow :lol:
The mighty Oak is just another lonely nut who stood its ground ...

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Green Mantis wrote:I Like Plants........Do you water the top of the soil, or the bottom or????? How close to the plant do you water? Seems like some of these things are sooooo fussy to water, so just want to be sure. As you have managed to at least keep some alive anyway!!! Good for you! :D
I water from the top until water comes out of the bottom. How close: I don't know lol. Just enough to not make a mess everywhere. Lol.
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FistulinaHepatica wrote:When I was in SA the ranger guide I was hanging out with said that the baby lithops seeds like it really moist and quite shady and cool to germinate. They germinate late in the summer wet season, grow a fair bit in the cool-ish moist autumn before the hot blazing winter (hot and during the day, freezing cold at night), when they go completely dormant and not need any water ... until spring rains come again the following year.

I would recommend mixing lots of gravel and sand to the cactus soil you get from garden centres, as they like the growing medium very lean (2:2:1 gravel:sand:cactus soil, or even 3:3:1 if the soil is very rich)

This guy's blog is pretty good on lithops repotting

https://mrbrownthumb.blogspot.com/2010/12/how-to-repot-lithops-living-stones.html
Thanks for the link!!!
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Fis and I like plants............... Thanks both of you for the information and Fis, for the links, VERY interesting. I'll be checking those out more tomorrow.... Fis, I have bought some plant cuttings and seeds on e-bay, have been happy with them so far, but never noticed anyone with cactus seeds. So guess I will have to check more often. Thanks again both of you. This is "FUN", look at what we are, and have learned!!! :D :D :D

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Green Mantis wrote:Fis and I like plants............... Thanks both of you for the information and Fis, for the links, VERY interesting. I'll be checking those out more tomorrow.... Fis, I have bought some plant cuttings and seeds on e-bay, have been happy with them so far, but never noticed anyone with cactus seeds. So guess I will have to check more often. Thanks again both of you. This is "FUN", look at what we are, and have learned!!! :D :D :D
I have been growing Giant Suguaro seeds that are now 1 year and a few months old. They are doing pretty well.

Your welcome for the help!
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cheesus
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Heres some of mine...
lost a couple along the way though...
not the easiest plant to please

[img]https://i698.photobucket.com/albums/vv341/mmcateer/DSC01522.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i698.photobucket.com/albums/vv341/mmcateer/DSC01521.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i698.photobucket.com/albums/vv341/mmcateer/DSC01520.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i698.photobucket.com/albums/vv341/mmcateer/DSC01519.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i698.photobucket.com/albums/vv341/mmcateer/DSC00579.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i698.photobucket.com/albums/vv341/mmcateer/DSC00763.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i698.photobucket.com/albums/vv341/mmcateer/DSC00758.jpg[/img]

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That's a very nice collection of Lithops. I'll take some pictures of mine soon.
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cheesus...........What kind of potting mix are you using? Seems to have lots of gravely looking stuff in it, or is it just on top?????

Congratulations on your awesome collection!!! The are beautiful. :D
Apparently lithops aren't for the beginners, but you have to start somewhere, I guess. I really want to try them, but NOT kill them. :oops: How many do you have??? Looks like lots? Super collection!!! :wink:

cheesus
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just a little D.E. for topdressing. I got these lithops off of ebay about a year or so ago. I won the auction for 60 of them for 30 dollars. They were all very healthy. For potting medium, I use 40% D.E., 40%perlite or granigrit, 20% cactus soil.
Matthew

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:oops: Ok, this is going to sound incredibly stupid, but what is "D.E." ?????

cheesus
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D.E. is diatomaceous earth. It's high fired calcined clay with a very high internal porosity. Turface is the same thing. It soaks up a lot of water but releases it slowly to the plant without keeping it saturated. I use NAPA #8822 though. It's much cheaper, easier to find and has a better particle size than turface. You do have to screen and rinse it though to avoid small particles and perched water though. Be sure to do that in a well ventilated area too. You don't want to be breathing that stuff in. I use it for a topdressing as well to look nice and to keep soil off of the stem.
Definitely get some, since I've been using it, my plants couldnt be happier.

Matthew

FistulinaHepatica
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If you can't get plant gravelly thingamabob, you can also use NON-CLUMPING cat litter sand to help with the soil mix drainage! Make sure you rinse it well first if it's the scented variety. Don't want kittikats start pooping in your cactus/lithops pots :lol:
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:D cheesus, and FH,--------Thank you both very much for the suggestions. I ordered some cactus seeds from e-bay, so "when" canada post allows them to get here, I will be usuing these mixes. :) Thanks again. Amazing what you learn, when you ask!!! :wink:

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FH. I will definately not get the scented kind, don't want the cat in there! LOl!!!! Don't think either her, or I would be impressed. :eek:

FistulinaHepatica
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Oh So Happy Me! Finally my long awaited hostages are freed from the Crappy Post holding depot today!

Seeds for Lithops optica var Rubra has finally arrived! Yay!

[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y221/blauwefox/390Lithops_optica_var_rubra3.jpg[/img]

Hey Green Mantis, I'm going to start transferring your baby lithops into their own container so it can get used to it before their journey North. As far as I can tell, I've got about 25 baby lithops poking their curious faces to the North facing window light. I'm sure I can spare you quite a few in case some don't survive travel! Will post pics later when I get my act together!

Edit to add: Anyone living within pickup distance to Calgary are welcome to a baby Lithops or two. I don't and won't post them though; need to be pickup only as they're still pretty fragile, and who would trust Canada Post anyway :lol: PM me :D
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:D FH That would be fantasic!!! But I only want 2 or 3, I don't want to take too many plants, and look like I am being greedy!!! So glad you got your seeds through crappy post and storage!!! :shock: Now you'll be onto all sorts of other things, LOL!!!! The one pictured is very pretty! Congrats. :D

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Oh, that pic is lifted from a South African xeraphyte website. I hope my little seeds will look like that in a couple of years or so. All sown with the other lithops seedling (so they won't get lonely so far away from SA) :lol:

Will update pictures when they *hatch*

Also got some Aloe polyphylla and Cereus forbesii spiralis seeds from same place. I like mathematically inclined plants :lol: hopefully in a couple of years or so they will look like these

Cereus forbesii spiralis:
[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y221/blauwefox/Fungi%20et%20plantae/Cereus_forbesii_spiralis_short_sp_810.jpg[/img]

Aloe polyphylla:
[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y221/blauwefox/Fungi%20et%20plantae/aloe_polyphylla_lg.jpg[/img]
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FistulinaHepatica
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Lithops seedlings transplant for a trip to a new home :)

First of all, I wouldn't recommend transplanting seedlings as they are pretty fragile, but if you're really careful and have a steady hand it shouldn't hurt them too much!

1- Prepare your transport carrier and growing medium. For temporary pots I'm using a couple of egg carton nests; reason being that they are packaging for food so not likely to contain any chemicals that could hurt the roots. Plus it's kinda fun *banjo*-ing some creative solutions.

The carry case itself is a recycled cherry tomato plastic packaging. It already has ventilation holes in the bottom (which will be the top as I use it upside down)

[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y221/blauwefox/Fungi%20et%20plantae/Lithops%20transplant%2028062011/DSCN2314.jpg[/img]

2-I use a teaspoon of cacti & succulent soil mix

[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y221/blauwefox/Fungi%20et%20plantae/Lithops%20transplant%2028062011/DSCN2315.jpg[/img]

3- And two teaspoons of perlite. I don't want to use potsherds as I don't have any sterilised ones anymore ... don't want any fungi contamination now, do we?

[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y221/blauwefox/Fungi%20et%20plantae/Lithops%20transplant%2028062011/DSCN2316.jpg[/img]

4- Mix them together with the spoon handle, and press a dimple in the middle of each egg carton cell, I used the end of a sharpie pen.

[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y221/blauwefox/Fungi%20et%20plantae/Lithops%20transplant%2028062011/DSCN2317.jpg[/img]

5- Make sure you transplant when it's nice and cool. I did it after sundown today - it's been pretty hot today! My little nursery of lithops is currently a recycled *Subway takeaway cookie case* :lol:

[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y221/blauwefox/Fungi%20et%20plantae/Lithops%20transplant%2028062011/DSCN2318.jpg[/img]

6- Before I pick out any seedlings, I used the mister and thoroughly soak growing medium and the egg carton cells, as well as some extra water in the carry case as well. The idea is to make the little air pocket in the carry case as humid as possible so that the seedlings' roots don't have to work over time to get water.

[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y221/blauwefox/Fungi%20et%20plantae/Lithops%20transplant%2028062011/DSCN2319.jpg[/img]

7- Now.... which ones of you lot are going to have an adventure? They're about 3 weeks after sowing. I can't believe how quick they grow in size! The seeds are about the size of the fullstop at the end of this sentence, and now the biggest ones are about 3mm across their faces.

[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y221/blauwefox/Fungi%20et%20plantae/Lithops%20transplant%2028062011/DSCN2321.jpg[/img]

Decision time... chose a couple of big 'uns and a smaller one. They're christened Tom, Dick and Harry :lol: a tweezer comes in handy. Thank the Great Pumpkin for Swiss Army Knives; they have everything but the kitchen sink built in ;)

[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y221/blauwefox/Fungi%20et%20plantae/Lithops%20transplant%2028062011/DSCN2322.jpg[/img]

8- Tommy nestling in the dimple I made earlier. Don't know if you can see the tap root ... it's pretty fine and threadlike. Its VERY long compared to the lithop itself - Tom is about 6mm long, but his taproot is over 1cm!

[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y221/blauwefox/Fungi%20et%20plantae/Lithops%20transplant%2028062011/DSCN2323.jpg[/img]

9- *Dicky* was easier to move as he has decided to sink his taproot into a small clump of soil. I just had to lift the clump and place it in the second cell.

[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y221/blauwefox/Fungi%20et%20plantae/Lithops%20transplant%2028062011/DSCN2324.jpg[/img]

10- Harry had a little accident :shock: I sneezed as I was moving him so one side is ever so slightly bruised. Ooooops :oops: he looks ok though. Will keep a close eye on him for the next few days to make sure he makes it.

After placing them in the dimple, I used the tweezers to gently collapse the surrounding medium onto Tom, Dick and Harry; burying all of the root and about half of their body-length. A couple more spritz of water from the mister to help the medium settle around the roots.

[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y221/blauwefox/Fungi%20et%20plantae/Lithops%20transplant%2028062011/DSCN2326.jpg[/img]

11- Tom, Dick and Harry chilling out in their cherry tomato case, under my full spectrum lamp, ready for pickup! :D

[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y221/blauwefox/Fungi%20et%20plantae/Lithops%20transplant%2028062011/DSCN2327.jpg[/img]
The mighty Oak is just another lonely nut who stood its ground ...

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:flower: My goodness, "Tom" "Dick" & "Harry" look like they should do very well!!! That's quite a delicate process. They are so tiny and cute!!!

I have a bit different cactus mix, I must remember to bring you a bag and you can try it, see what you think of it. I happened to find it at a co-op in Red Deer, tried it and I really like it for my plants.

Those aloe's you are growing are Really neat!! You could get dizzy looking at that one long enough. LOL!!! :lol: Is it ever quite the plant. Going "round and "round like that. There sure are some interesting cactus, out there in every size, shape and description.

That must be really exciting watching those tiny lithops growing. Soooo tiny!!! Amazing what a person can make out of various containers isn't it. I use the bottom's of those fruit cups, the big ones for underneath my plant pots. Imagine I could use them for starting seeds as well. They have the lid as well, so I would just have to make some air holes and tape them like you did. Although those chicken containers really work great! Can't wait to see how these lithops turn out. Gosh they are tiny. So cute though. They will be very interesting to watch growing :wink: up. :wink:

FistulinaHepatica
Full Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 3:10 am
Location: Calgary, Alberta

I guess the Lithops optica rubra must REALLY like the cookie case nursery and the company of older green lithops seedlings to talk to. Believe it or not, it hatched after only 1 day!!!! :o :shock: :o :shock:

Here's the new addition to the Lithops Clan - the wee lil lads are teeny compared to their green cousins. The pink-ish blob in the middle of the pic ;):

[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y221/blauwefox/Fungi%20et%20plantae/DSCN2361.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y221/blauwefox/Fungi%20et%20plantae/DSCN2360.jpg[/img]

Sown them LAST NIGHT. I checked them this morning and saw nothing. When I was going to mist the nursery just now I got the biggest surprise! :shock: :D :shock: :D :shock: :D :shock: :D

Life is FULL of surprises, and some of them are Danged Good! :D


Edit to add: Now that I thought it out in my sleep, those rubras are probably from the old mixed seed batch. There is NO WAY the seed could have hatched that quickly :lol:
The mighty Oak is just another lonely nut who stood its ground ...

Green Mantis
Greener Thumb
Posts: 931
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:52 pm
Location: Alberta, Canada zone 1a

:?: Hmmmm???? Wonder what is coming up then?? This all sounds very interesting. Can't wait to see it get bigger, could be some rare cactus? :wink:

Or maybe it did sprout that fast? Never know, but I guess over time you will find out. Lol!! :)

FistulinaHepatica
Full Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 3:10 am
Location: Calgary, Alberta

Harry didn't make it -- he's now in lithops heaven photosynthesising with a miniature harp O:)

I've selected another robust looking meanie to replace him though. He was kinda covered in cactus soil ... so I called him (wait for it....)











DIRTY HARRY


(Bada-BING! Tssschhhhh!)

[img]https://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y221/blauwefox/Fungi%20et%20plantae/Lithops%20transplant%2028062011/DirtyHarry.jpg[/img]
The mighty Oak is just another lonely nut who stood its ground ...

Green Mantis
Greener Thumb
Posts: 931
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:52 pm
Location: Alberta, Canada zone 1a

:( Awwwww poor little Harry! :( He must have been very tender to move? He's in plant heaven now, where he will grow big. Poor thing. :(

Now, we have "Dirty" "Harry". LOL!!!!! :lol: Dirty Harry sounds like he should be tough!!! We Hope! :wink:

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