How To Propagate Lithops (Living Stones)

Lithops are a clonally reproducing species and many of the plants’ decorative features are actually quite useful in their natural habitat to help them survive drought. A well-established and healthy plant is easily propagated by separating off a piece of the plant which successfully grows roots.

Lithops, also known as Living Stones, are a tiny stemless succulent that has the appearance of stones. The plant can be a striking addition to your home or garden. 

In the summer is when Lithopss plants tend to bloom. They produce yellow or white daisy-like flowers and are available in a variety of textures, forms, and colors. The succulents are native to some of the driest parts of southern Africa; hence they need very little water for growth – the majority of them survive on the humidity from mist and fog.

If you have been wondering how to multiply this beautiful Living Stone at home, stick around and learn how to propagate it.

How to Propagate Lithops (Living Stones)

Lithops are propagated by division from current plants or afresh from seeds. Because they are slow-growing succulents, divisions don’t generally occur every year, but after several years, the earliest being three years. 

Due to the slow growth, if you are after a quick fix to propagate it, you can opt for the seeds or care for your existing Living Stone plant and divide it once it rows offshoots or pups. However, the seeds might take several months to germinate and years to attain full maturity.

A lithop rooting on hand.
You can opt for the seeds or care for your existing Living Stone plant and divide it once it rows offshoots or pups.

How to Propagate Lithopss from Seeds

Getting Lithopss succulent seeds from a Lithopss plant might take several years—usually, three to five years when it can flower and produce seeds. Before you can propagate the plant from seed, here is where you can get the seeds.

Where to Purchase Living Stone Seeds

Local Gardening Centers

Lithops and other succulent seeds are commonly available in brick-and-mortar shops, much like other plant products. Visit a local plant nursery or a gardening store and try your luck.


It may be difficult to find anything on this website, but a simple search for Lithopss succulent seeds will get you started.

Online Sellers

If you’ve got no luck with the first options, then you better browse online for succulent sellers specifically for Lithops. Many sellers will ship the seeds right to your doorstep.

How to Grow Lithops from Seeds

To start the process, here are a few items you will need:

  • Spray bottle
  • Plastic wrap
  • Planting tray
  • Pot
  • Potting Soil and perlite

Prepare a well-draining soil to germinate the Lithops seeds. Use 50% potting soil with 50% perlite soil.  In case you don’t have access to perlite, you can add coarse sand to the mix. The soil needs to be well-draining and less compact.

Add the prepared potting mix to the planting tray, seedbed, or pot. A planting tray is preferable because it has all the elements required for an ideal growing environment – a moisture-retaining dome, adequate sunshine, plenty of space, and adequate drainage.

However, if you have no access to a tray, you can use a well-draining pot with drainage holes. If the container doesn’t have holes, make your holes for drainage. A clay-made pot is perfect for germination of seeds and water draining.

6 Golden Rules for Watering Lithops
A clay-made pot is perfect for germination of seeds and water draining.

Add some compost onto the soil for additional nutrients, and water the soil using the spray bottle. Ensure the soil is not wet but moist. Allow it to drain all water before you can sow LithopsLithops seeds.

Gently sow the seeds on the damp soil and barely cover them; if you cover the seeds with too much soil, they may not germinate. If you have a tray with cells, you will need to place one to two Lithopss seeds per cell. Conversely, scatter the seeds evenly on the soil if you have a larger tray.

You should not cover the seeds deep into the soil.

Cover your tray’s dome to create a conducive germination environment. The dome should help retain enough moisture content and higher temperatures of more than 70℉. If you planted the seedlings on a pot, use the clear plastic wrap to conserve the soil moisture and maintain higher humidity levels.

Take the pot or tray and place it in a warm area receiving direct sunlight. Ensure the pot/tray is in a high temperature location. If you have a heating mat, place the tray or pot on it when necessary.

A freshly watered lithops.
Let them get sunlight for at least five hours a day.

Always ensure the soil is damp throughout this period. You can water the soil when you note the top layer is getting dry.

After two to 15 weeks, you will note the Lithopss seedlings germinating. Immediately spot young plants, uncover the tray or take off the clear wrap from the pot for proper aeration.

Transplant the seedlings to individual pots when they begin to crowd each other and are large enough to support, which is generally after one year. Place the containers in a location receiving full sun. The morning sunshine is ideal. Again, let them get sunlight for at least five hours a day. Proceed to water them once every two weeks, and you should avoid overwatering. Also only water during the growing period—beginning end of summer.

Pro Tip: Every year, Lithopss grow new pairs of leaves. They only grow two leaves at a time, so the old ones will start falling off once the new leaves start growing. However, the growth of new leaves is generally delayed until after the bloom period has passed. In preparation for the next growth phase, Livingstone plants go into dormancy after flowering.

How to Propagate Lithopss by Division

If you already have a Living Stone plant at home, then you can wait till it grows and starts producing ‘pups’ or new offspring around the mother plant. Alternatively, you can purchase freshly cut pups from your local succulent stores.

As your Lithops plant age, you might notice young Living Stone plants naturally growing around the parent plant. You can easily start new Lithopss from these pups. Furthermore, these pups are clones of the parent plant.

Items you need:

  • Hand trowel
  • Cutting Knife
  • Pot
  • Succulent Mix

To divide pups from the parent plant, use the hand trowel to dig up the whole plant, complete with its roots. Be careful not to damage other Lithops plants in the surrounding area when digging. 

Lift the whole tap root, then using your knife, make a division to separate the parent plant from the offshoots.

A close up image of a lithop.
Most of this plant’s body is down in the ground.

Prepare well-draining soil mix. Coarse sand or fine gravel with some compost is ideal. Alternatively, you can use a succulent mix. Ensure the soil is not compact as Lithopss do well in loose soil.

Add the soil onto your pot and water the soil. The pot must have drainage holes. Dampen the soil only to retain moisture but not wet. Lithopss plants will rot if they are overwatered or left in wet soggy soil.

Take your division and plant it in the pot. Plant them in the same depth as they were when you uprooted them. Ensure the soil covers almost the whole plant. Most of this plant’s body is down in the ground. Water the pup every week once you note the soil is dry and place the container in a sunny or bright area. 

Come the end of summer is when you will note the massive growth from your young Livingstone plant. Once they develop, care for it until it reaches full maturity. For more tips on how to care for your plant, find them here.

Common Problems to Look Out for As You Propagate Lithops

  1. Etiolation

Lithops may stretch out or elongate when exposed to insufficient light like any other succulents. As a result, if you detect that the seedlings are stretched out in one direction. Bring them closer to a lighting source.

If you take a while before correcting the plant’s location, you will have to wait several growth periods before getting back to their normal posture or attaining normal growth.

  1. Overwatering

Overwatering is dangerous to Lithopss, just like any other succulent. When planting the seeds and the soil is wet, the soil is most likely to rot. The same applies to propagation by division; the pups’ roots will rot and finally kill the plant. So always pay attention to watering needs.

  1. Diseases

Overwatering the soil creates a conducive environment for fungal growth and bacteria, which are likely to attack the planted division or seeds. Again, when dividing pups from the mother plant, ensure the cutting tool is sterilized so as not to spread disease to young Living Stone plants.

A close up image of lithops.
When planting the seeds and the soil is wet, the soil is most likely to rot.

Bottom Line 

All you need are Lithopss seeds or divisions to propagate this wonderful plant. We hope you can use this guide to multiply this wonderful plant for your home. To add some decorations, add some pebbles or stones around it to add some style to the plant.

Last update on 2024-02-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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