Lithops Shriveling? Cut the Fluff and Fix It with These Tactics

Lithops are really cool succulents that look like stones! These plants are native to South Africa and have a unique appearance that sets them apart from other succulents. They’re often called “living stones” or “flowering stones” because of their rock-like shape and ability to blend in with their surroundings.

While lithops are generally easy to care for, they can sometimes start to shrivel up and look unhealthy. In this post, we’ll explore some of the most common reasons why lithops shrivel and provide simple solutions to help your plant bounce back.

lithops shriveling

Why Do Lithops Shrivel?

There are a few main reasons why your lithops may be shriveling. We’ve mentioned six of the most common causes below:

1. Not Enough Water

Lithops are drought-tolerant, but that doesn’t mean they never need water. If your lithops has horizontal wrinkles across the top, it’s likely because you’re not giving it enough water. Lithops need a little water, especially during the spring and summer when it’s warmer.

2. Too Much Heat

lithops shriveling hot weather

Lithops prefer temperatures between 68°F and 86°F (20°C and 30°C). If it gets hotter or colder than that, your lithops might start to shrivel up to protect itself. You’ll see wilting or browning on the leaves if the temperature is too high.

3. Wrong Soil

Lithops like well-draining, gritty soil that holds some moisture but also allows air to reach the roots. If the soil is too gritty and doesn’t hold enough water, your lithops will become soft and transparent.

4. Terracotta Pots

lithops shrivelling in terracotta pots

Terracotta pots absorb water quickly, which can leave your lithops dehydrated. It’s better to use plastic or glazed ceramic pots that hold moisture better.

5. Too Much Water

While lithops need some water, giving them too much can be just as bad as not enough. Overwatered lithops will have vertical wrinkles instead of horizontal ones, and the leaves might turn yellow, become mushy, or develop brown spots. If the soil stays too wet, it can lead to root rot, which can kill your plant.

6. Natural Cycle

lithops shriveling growth cycle

During winter or periods of low light, lithops might naturally shrivel and become less active as they go into a dormant state. This is normal and nothing to worry about – your lithops will bounce back when conditions improve.

Reviving Wrinkly Lithops

If your lithops is shriveling, try to figure out the cause and fix it. You might need to repot it in fresh soil, give it more light, water it less, or switch to a different type of pot. If you suspect root rot, remove any affected areas and repot your wrinkly lithops in new soil.

The key is to make sure your lithops has the right balance of water, light, air circulation, and drainage. With proper care, you can revive even the shrivelliest lithops and enjoy its unique beauty for years to come.

Watering and Care Tips

  • Water your lithops about once every two weeks, or whenever the soil is completely dry.
  • Water the soil directly, not the leaves.
  • Don’t mist your lithops – they prefer average household humidity.
  • Provide at least 4 hours of direct sunlight per day.
  • Use a well-draining succulent soil mix.
  • Choose pots with drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can lithops live without water?

These little rock plants are super tough! Lithops can survive for up to 6 months or more without any extra water, especially in humid environments. During this time, they can still flower, grow new leaves, and make baby lithops. It’s like they go into survival mode and conserve all their moisture. Pretty amazing, right?

What does an overwatered lithops look like?

An overwatered lithops is not a happy camper. The leaves will start to shrivel up and get all soft and yellowy. You might also see weird brown spotty blisters forming on the leaves – that’s called edema. If things get really bad, the leaves can even split open from too much water pressure inside. The whole plant might stretch out and get leggy, which is not its usual compact shape. Basically, it looks sick and swollen from drinking too much!


Lithops are one-of-a-kind plants that are sure to spark curiosity and conversation. With a little patience and the right care, you can keep these living stones looking their best for a long time. Give them a try and add some quirky charm to your plant collection!