Knowing When to Water Lithops: Key Signs

Lithops, also known as living or flowering stones, are unique and interesting succulent plants. These small plants come in various colors and shapes, making them an attractive addition to any garden. Lithops plants are among the easiest plants to grow. They don’t require particular care, vigorous feeding, or aggressive trimming. Varied watering habits are the only way to kill them.

As with most succulents, when it comes to watering, many people ask how and when to water lithops. The key to succulent success when it comes to watering is understanding when your plant needs it and when it does not.

when to water lithops

How To Know When to Water Lithops

Knowing when to water your lithops can be tricky since they are sensitive to overwatering. The best way to know if it’s time to water your lithops is by checking the soil. A good way to do this is by pushing your finger into the soil, and if it’s dry about 1-2 inches down, it’s time to water. If the soil is still wet or moist in the top layer, it’s best to wait longer before watering. Moreover, you can also use a wooden stick to check the depth of soil dryness.

Another way to tell if your lithops needs water is by checking the leaves. If the leaves start to wrinkle and shrink, it’s a sign that your lithops need some water. On the other hand, if the leaves are firm and plump, it indicates that your plant is getting enough water.

During the summer, lithops will enter a period of dormancy, during which growth is slowed or halted. It is best to leave the plant untouched during this time and not water it. However, if the leaves start to shrink, give your plant a small amount of moisture so that only the top inch of the soil is somewhat damp. Lithops are incredibly resilient and can retain moisture well so that they won’t need much attention from you during dormancy.

As the autumn months approach, your lithops will begin a new growth period and require additional watering. Watering should occur approximately once every two weeks or until the leaves begin to separate and indicate bloom. This is an important time in the lifecycle of your plant, with blooms signifying successful ongoing health. As such, pay close attention to your lithops needs throughout this growing period.

It is important to allow lithops to experience their dormancy period during the winter season. The old leaves will begin to dry and fall off while new ones develop within the plant. Providing too much water during this stage may hinder the growth of these fresh leaves, so limiting watering is recommended at this time despite it feeling wrong. Letting the plant rest during this period is beneficial, and it will thank you for it in the long run.

What does a Thirsty lithops look like?

Lithops may survive without water for months. It’s advisable to avoid watering the plant if you’re unsure. A thirsty lithops will always begin to show signs of dehydration. The leaves may start to curl up, wrinkle, and become brittle or may sink into the pot. In extreme cases, the leaves may even crack or split open. Additionally, the plant will start to take on a grayish color due to a lack of water and nutrients. Give your beloved plant a gentle squeeze; if it feels tender to the touch, it’s time to give it some water.

How Often Do You Need to Water Lithops?

how often do you need to water lithops

Lithops are unique plants that grow completely underground and lack a stem, which helps them to conserve moisture and thrive in dry conditions. To properly care for these special succulents, it is important to employ the soak-and-dry water management method. This involves allowing the soil to become fully saturated with water before letting it dry completely between watering intervals. Doing this will keep your Lithops healthy and happy as they grow.

When caring for lithops, it is important to provide the plant with thorough watering. The soil should be completely saturated and allowed to dry before being watered again. Overwatering is one of the most common causes of death for lithops and should be avoided at all costs.

The amount and frequency of water lithops need also depend on their environment. During the growing season, it’s important to water lithops every one to two weeks. During the winter months, when they are dormant and not actively growing, you can reduce the amount of water and water only when the soil starts to dry out. One key thing to remember is that lithops should never be left sitting in water, as this can cause root rot and other problems.

No matter how often you water your lithops, it’s important to ensure you’re not over-watering them. Overwatering will cause the leaves of your lithops to become soggy and may cause root rot. Keep an eye on the soil; if it’s already damp when you check it, it’s best to wait a few days before watering again. That way, you can ensure that your lithops has the perfect balance of moisture it needs to thrive.

Do Lithops Like to Be Misted?

do lithops like to be misted

Lithops don’t necessarily need to be misted, as they do well in average humidity. So misting isn’t necessary and, in some cases, could be damaging. The only time misting can be useful is when the air around your lithops is too dry for them to thrive. In that case, it’s best to use a spray bottle filled with room-temperature water and lightly mist the leaves every few days.

Make sure not to saturate the leaves, as this can cause them to rot. If you do decide to mist your lithops, be sure to do it in the morning so that any excess water has time to evaporate off before nightfall. It’s also important to keep the humidity levels around your lithops consistent and not let them fluctuate too much.

Should You Water Lithops While Flowering?

should you water lithops while flowering

Lithops take their water usage very seriously, so you should be mindful of that when caring for them. To ensure optimal growth and health, only provide water once the old leaves have completely dried out and then cease watering once the flowers start to wilt. Following flowering, new growth will begin to form as part of the plant’s process of utilizing water. Therefore, creating a watering schedule that allows the plant to cycle through its phases without over or under-watering is important.

As the new plant grows and develops, it relies on the old leaves for nutrients and water. During this time, the roots are inactive and not absorbing any of these resources. Providing additional water to the plant during this period can cause confusion as the plant will be uncertain whether to take up water from its roots or from its old leaves. This can cause the plant to become bloated and over-hydrated.

Once the old leaves have withered, your lithops needs a thorough soaking. Allow all the water to evaporate before providing your plant with more hydration. Monitor it closely, and if there is no evidence of wrinkling after a month, moisten the surface of the soil lightly. Avoid overwatering, as this can be detrimental to your plant’s health.

After one month with no wrinkles, it is best to approach watering the plant carefully. Instead of flooding the soil with a lot of water, moisten the top layer so the roots can get some moisture. This practice should be done since heat, and too much water could cause its roots to swell and split, eventually leading to its demise. Therefore, finding the right balance between water and heat for your plant is important.

Should I Water Lithops in The Fall?

should i water lithops in the fall

Starting in October, postpone your watering routine until the current foliage has dried up completely – this is usually done by May. During summertime’s hibernation season, once more, do not water at all. It is best to wait until the old leaves have dried up and then give your lithops a thorough soaking once or twice a month. This will help ensure that the lithops are getting enough water and not suffering from dehydration. It’s also important to monitor their soil to ensure the water is absorbed evenly. If your soil is damp for too long, it’s best to reduce the amount of water you give to your lithops.

This period of rest and dormancy is crucial for the health and development of lithops as it allows them to prepare for the next growing season. Therefore, it is important to strictly follow water management tips to ensure that your lithops will flourish for years to come.

Do You Water Lithops When They Are Splitting?

Watering lithops when it is splitting should be avoided, as this may damage the plant. The additional water taken in by the old leaves can choke the new ones still developing inside, disrupting the usual cycle of leaf production and potentially harming the plant. Therefore, it is best to leave your lithops alone while it goes through this growth process.

How Do You Know If Lithops Are Dormant?

Lithops typically enter dormancy when the nights become longer and colder. During this period, their leaves will dry up and fall off, leaving a bare stem that is no longer taking in water. This period of dormancy is essential for the plant to store energy and prepare for the next season of growth. You can tell if your lithops are dormant by inspecting its stem and leaves, which should feel dry and brittle to the touch. If you notice any evidence of wrinkling or dehydration, it is best to give your lithops a thorough soaking to help it through its dormancy period.


In conclusion, proper care and upkeep of lithops are important to ensure their health and longevity. This can be achieved by providing the right amount of water, avoiding overwatering or underwatering, monitoring the surface of the soil for signs of dehydration, and allowing it to rest during dormancy periods. With adequate attention and understanding, you can bring out the best in your lithops and enjoy their beauty for many years. So take some time to get to know your plant, follow the guidelines outlined above, and keep it well-nourished for long-lasting results.