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Plantgasm - I love plants too much. By Derek Powazek.

Make a Lithops Planter

Lithops are South African plants that evolved to look like stones in order to avoid getting eaten by hungry herbivores. They’re sometimes called “living stones” or “pebble plants” because you can hardly pick them out of their surroundings. For example, there are two dozen of them in my new Lithops planter. See if you can find them all.


As houseplants go, they’re not flashy, but they are a fantastic curiosity and very easy to care for. Just set them in a sunny window and forget about them. In winter, don’t water them at all – they can’t control themselves and will drink until they burst. In summer, you can give them a tiny amount of water once a month at most.

To make a planter like the one pictured here, you’ll need a shallow container, some Lithops, a little succulent mix, and some stones. I got my Lithops from a grower on eBay and used a ceramic dish from Crate & Barrel, but you can use anything. Just be aware that, if your planter does not have drainage, you need to water extremely conservatively (like measured in teaspoons).

Just put the soil in the planter and carefully plant the Lithops. They have very shallow roots, so be gentle. Then top with some stones, sand, or gravel, and put the planter in the brightest window you have. If they’re happy, they’ll eventually produce small daisy-like flowers.

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Plantgasm is where Derek Powazek chronicles his botanical antics and misadventures. More.