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Where the scorching and anhydrous desert burns all living things on the surface, for millennia, evolution has created adapted to the absence of moisture and burning, It has long been known as a biological species of cacti, inhabitants of the desert. A new botanist called a lithops, translated as stone or living stone. He was accidentally discovered by a nature researcher Burchell in 1811, when he sat down to rest on a hot plateau with a handful of stones. It turned out that these are not stones, but plants that look like stones, and even repeat their design.
Unusual properties of Lithops
Known to all cacti called succulent plants that can do without moisture for a long time, as their land part is juicy pulp, which has large reserves of water. Lithops belong to the family of aizovs, and this means that water is destructive for them. Therefore, the plant does not tolerate even a drop of water on its surface. Lithops are found in nature in the deserts of South Africa, Namibia, South Africa and Bostwana.
Lithops live stones with an extreme lack of moisture, which does not exceed 200 mm per year. The temperature in the desert in summer reaches 50.In such conditions, the plant produces two fleshy leaves, from the gap between which a flower emerges, which by its structure refers to the clove color. During the season, when the air dries out completely, the leaves of the flower nourish the plant and gradually give up their nutritional reserves to two new sheets that will replace the old ones. Reproduction is obtained when, instead of one new pair of leaves, two appear.
The photo shows the Lithops during the leaf replacement period. In the process of growth, the plant acquires a color to match the surrounding nature, mimics. Moreover, in nature at an unfavorable time, the roots can pull the plant into the ground, hide it.
Creating a stone garden
In culture, living stones have 37 varieties. The classification of the plant is:
- on the color of leaf plates;
- in the depth of the cut between the leaves;
- in color and flowering time.
At first, it will be difficult for an amateur to determine not only varieties of “stones”, but also the difference between Lithops and Conophytum. They differ in the depth of the cut between the leaves. According to the depth of cut, plants can have both a small hollow on top and a separation of leaves to the ground surface. The height of two leaves above the ground is no more than 5 cm, as much as it is in section. For lovers of interest coloring and pattern on the leaves, and also large, with a delicate aroma of Lithops flower. The inflorescence opens initially for several daytime hours, but eventually stops closing at night.
The cultivation and subsequent care of plants in the greenhouse should be as close as possible to natural conditions. Then you can get flowers, seeds and healthy Lithops.
In nature, the root of the plant is taproot and descends deep. To create a garden of stones you need to take a wide capacity, as the root will move. The drainage layer should be sufficient so that there is no stagnation of moisture at the root. On top of the bowl fall asleep with fine gravel. The substrate should include leaf soil and sand in half, and clay should be the fifth part of the total composition. Before filling with soil, the flat dish is kept for a day in a strong solution of potassium permanganate.
When the seed method of reproduction plants are more resistant to external factors. Lithops seeds are kept overnight before planting in a weak solution of permanganate. The ground is leveled and the seed is placed in small depressions at a short distance so that the seeds do not touch each other. Through drainage, the earth is saturated with water with potassium permanganate, the container under glass is placed in a warm and bright place. Emerged shoots dive only in a year. When transplanting do fertilizing superphosphate and straighten the roots on the dish.
Lithops care is to create good lighting in the winter, a cool temperature of 10-12 degrees, and no watering in dry air. When plants are vegetating, watering should be moderate, often live stones cannot be transplanted to lithops.
Of the common varieties, some are relatively easy to adapt to artificial breeding. Types of Lithops presented in the collection are precisely such.
Such collectors as Lithops are very interesting among collectors. It forms several pairs of yellow-brown leaves and inflorescences are white, fragrant. Lithops split creates several pairs of leaves from one root. The color of the leaf plate is green, a yellow flower with no fragrance comes out of the deep crack.
Lithops false truncate is a double-edged plants with a marble pattern on the surface. The color of the leaves varies, depending on the surrounding landscape and can be from gray to pink with a dark pattern on the surface. To grow such a rock garden can only be a very patient lover, for years waiting for the unhurried development of plants. But the reward will be the blossoming lithops flower.