Lithops – Nature’s living stones

Lithops, also known as living or flowering stones, are native to the dry regions of South Africa.

In their natural environment, Lithops receive less than 2 inches of rainfall per month throughout the entire year. They could not survive these harsh regions if not for their capacity to store water.

Because these succulents survive under such arid conditions, watering should be minimal and infrequent.

They are dormant during the summer so too much water will cause them to rot. I wouldn’t recommend planting them in an enclosed terrarium either as they will surely die a quick death!

They are ideal houseplants as long as there is adequate light. As houseplants, they require at least 3 hours of direct sunlight. Southern exposure is best.

Lovely in an open table top dish garden, group a few together, add sand, pebbles, and even seashells to mimic their natural environment.

 

Cacti, succulents, and other houseplants basking in spring sunshine – Wordless Wednesday

Poinsettia – Not my favorite holiday plant, but they do get a bum rap.

 Having worked at flower shop for many years in Toronto, I’ve had my fill of poinsettias. 
(Euphorbia pulcherrima)

Having said that, even though they’re not my favourite plant, (I’m more keen on other varieties in the euphorbia family), they do get a bum rap every holiday season.

Why the bad reputation?

Because contrary to popular opinion, Poinsettias can be irritating, but they’re not fatal.

Your pets & children might get a rash or an upset tummy if they eat a leaf, but it won’t kill them. That’s a fact. But I still don’t suggest eating them in any case!

I have other reasons for not liking them.  First of all they’re susceptible to white fly which is practically impossible to eradicate. The little buggers spread to other plants too, especially hibiscus, but that’s another story for another post.

They also wilt at the drop of a hat. A cold draft will knock them unconscious, so don’t place them near a front door or heat vent, even if they look good on your hall table. Put some greens and branches in a vase instead.

Also, they’re rarely watered properly – People kill with kindness. Waterlogged soil lacks sufficient air, which drowns roots. These plants, when exposed to high light and low humidity, require more frequent watering, but never water if the soil feels wet. Too much water will cause leaves to curl and fall off.

So in my humble opinion, the poor things never look as good as they do in the flower shop… Obviously I won’t be popular with any florists/growers out there, but that’s okay.

So, even though I don’t particularly like poinsettias, one does have to defend something one’s not exactly thrilled about when truth has been turned into a false myth.

Still keen on a poinsettia? Go for it! I wish you success!

However I’d suggest choosing an alternative plant for the holidays … azaleas and cyclamens are gorgeous this time of year. Succulents are perfect for any occasion, especially if you’re going away. They like to be neglected any time of year!

And, doesn’t it just feel good to go against the grain sometimes?


Happy Holidays!