How To Pollinate Lithops

After three years of waiting, your lithops finally bear flowers. As a first-time plant owner, you want to know how growers get seeds of these incredible succulents. To produce seeds, flowering plants such as lithops must undergo pollination.

How to pollinate lithops? Lithops pollinate through cross-pollination. To perform cross-pollination, transfer the pollen grains of one lithop to another lithop. You can do this with lithops of the same species because cross-pollination with another species doesn’t succeed. 

Keep on reading because we will cover different topics related to lithops pollination.

How to Cross-pollinate Lithops

Lithops pollination involves easy steps, but first, prepare the following materials:

  • Small paintbrush or plant-pollinator
  • Two pots of lithops plant with flowers of the same species

Next, follow these steps in performing cross-pollination.

  • Using the paintbrush, gently dab the tip of the brush to the anthers of the flowers. The yellow part at the center of the flower holds the pollen grains. Dab the brush three to five times to ensure the pollen grains stick to the tip of the paintbrush.
  • Dab the tip of the brush to the anther of the second plant gently. By doing this, the pollen grains of the current flower transfer to the paintbrush’s end tip.
  • Return to dab the brush to the first lithops flower. By doing this, you transfer the pollen of one lithop to the second lithop.
  • Set aside your two lithops and wait for the seeds to develop and form. 

Make sure to place the pollinated plants away from external factors that may disrupt the seeds’ development.

When Do Lithops Bloom?

You can expect your lithops to bear flowers in late November. Some species bloom between March and May or around summer from June to August. It takes three to five years before lithops bear flowers.

The flowers appear like a daisy with white petals and yellow at the center.

When it flowers, you will notice a small bud pushing its way out between the two leaves. Flowers open at 12 in the afternoon and last for a few hours. Before the sun sets, lithop flowers close.

Do Lithops Self-Pollinate?

Lithops don’t self-pollinate. Self-pollination happens when a flower places its pollen to its own anther, or of another flower in the same plant. In the case of lithops, you need to cross-pollinate two plants to have successful pollination. Insects cross-pollinate this plant in the wild. 

Self-pollination doesn’t happen to some plants like lithops. The stigma of the lithops flower matures before the pollen does and sheds off. It means it needs pollen from another plant. This plant develops such a mechanism to avoid self-pollination.

What Happens to Lithops After Pollination

After they bloom and pollinate, lithops will stay dormant for a long time until they bear flowers again. New leaves will start to grow in the spring. Old leaves shrivel as young leaves begin to push themselves out of the center of the old ones.

Lithops undergo dormancy as an act of survival. With extreme heat and little to no rain in the wild during summer months, lithops rest to preserve their water content. This characteristic shows why they can last the summer without withering.

During the lithops’ dormancy period, watering them makes little sense. Leave them along during this season. Water will cause them to rot. However, if signs of withering become visible such as shriveling, moisten the soil. Don’t pour too much water as it will kill your lithops mercilessly.

When To Expect Seeds After Pollination

Seed development after pollination takes a while. It takes between eight to nine months for the seeds to develop into grown seeds. If your lithops grow flowers in March, you can expect seeds around November or December.

A capsule-like chamber wraps these seeds, and these capsule chambers make five to six compartments. In a single flower, you can harvest plenty of seeds. These chambers open when wet — hydrochastic. To get the seeds, you need to soak these chambers in water and scrape the seeds out. 

In the wild, these capsules open when the rainwater wets them. When open, the raindrops scatter the seeds around. After two to 12 weeks, these seeds germinate and grow into another generation of lithops.

Related Questions

How Do You Breed Lithops?

The most common way of reproducing lithops is through seeds. You can also reproduce them by replanting their pups or division. However, lithops grow slowly, why people prefer growing them from seeds over divisions.

How Do You Get Lithops To Flower?

Take note that the shortest timespan before lithops flower take three years. After that, you can encourage them to bloom by adding fertilizer to their soil. 

Do Lithops Die After Flowering?

Lithops don’t die after flowering. However, these succulents undergo a long period of dormancy. Lithops can live for up to 50 years.

Conclusion

To wrap it up, you can pollinate lithops using the cross-pollination process. You can do this by transferring pollen from one plant to another plant of the same species. Always remember that self-pollination won’t work on lithops.

Lithops bloom during early summer, some species bloom during winter or even late autumn. The flowers bloom in the early afternoon and close before dusk. You can expect seeds nine months after pollination. After bloom, lithops undergo a period of dormancy in the early summer months.

You can never go wrong with Lithops, the development of this succulent plant may be slow, but it’s all going to be worth it.

I Left My Succulents in the Rain!

Perhaps you just found that you left your succulents out in the rain, and you’re panicking as you’re trying to figure out if the rain will kill them. Thinking of how too much water can lead to root rot, you fear that this will be the last of them. How do you proceed?

Don’t Panic!

First, you need to understand where the true danger comes from with the rain. It isn’t necessarily the rain that will be the problem for your succulents. In fact, what kills succulents more often than not comes from the water holding in with the soil. If it remains there for too long, it can lead to bacteria and fungus, which leads to root rot.

Cactuses categorize as succulents, and in fact, they don’t have any problem with the rain in the wild. The issue comes when the rain comes and the moisture stays in the ground. That will kill your succulents.

Succulents Like Rain

Provided you have set up your plant pots correctly, they may even get a boost from rain water. The rain boosts their health and wellness because it gives them extra water. The key as I’ve said before with succulents is that you do the soak-and-dry method.

In other words, you soak the succulents, and you don’t water them again until the soil has dried out entirely. With rain water, they should also be okay because of how succulents in the outdoors will dry faster because of better air circulation than indoors.

How Much Rain is Too Much?

In general, once a week should be okay like with a regular watering schedule, but you probably don’t want them to experience a full week of rain because this could do some serious harm to your succulents. You may find that you have to treat your succulents for root rot after, which isn’t a pleasant experience. You want to handle the problem as much as possible without worries.

One thing that you can do if your area is experiencing a lot of rain is that you could move them under the eaves, or you could take them indoors. If you accidentally left your succulents out in the rain for a single day, it depends on the species of succulent, but in most cases, it won’t cause any harm. Rain can kill ultra sensitive succulents, but the vast majority of them will be fine for a day in the rain.

How to Protect Your Succulents

To protect your succulents in general, you should understand what succulents prefer. They prefer a potting mix to where it will dry out in between getting watered. That is because of how succulents come from dry and arid regions where they may not experience a lot of rain.

Some of the places where you want to keep them away from includes:

  • Too much rain
  • Too much shade
  • Pots without drainage
  • Flooded gardens
  • Heavy soil

Any one of these things can lead to the death of your succulents. As much as possible, you want to prevent them from dying because of receiving too much rain.

If you were to plant succulents in your garden, you should understand how you could do that without a problem. The one thing to understand, however, is that you don’t want to plant them in an area prone to flooding because of how this can lead to root rot that will kill your succulent.

For succulents to live happily in the outdoors, you should never plant them in an area where water has a lot of trouble with draining. You will also want to make the soil more breathable. For example, you will use perilite, mulch and potting mix together to get the best results.

Rain Isn’t as Dangerous as This

While we’re looking at rain, we should highlight another danger that can have a drastic impact on your succulents: frost. If you live in an area that sees frost, this can have a dramatic impact on it. Depending on how low the temperatures drop, your succulents could show varying degrees of damage.

Especially if you have hard frost which means that the temperatures drop below freezing for hours, that can completely collapse your plants. To address this, you have to either live in a warmer climate like Arizona or somewhere without frost, or take your succulents inside before a frost. In general, this is the rule of thumb with regular plants as well. Don’t leave them exposed to frost because nothing kills them faster.

Why Shade Can Be Bad for Succulents

A lot of succulents prefer the sun, and they do better in the sun. Shade can prove damaging to your succulents for multiple reasons. First, they don’t receive the sunlight necessary for growth. Second, if it rains on your succulents, the rain water in the ground won’t dry up as quickly, which can be damaging.

For that reason, you usually want to plant your succulents in a sunny area of your property if you were to plant them outside.

Beware of Trays

In particular, you should especially exercise caution with trays in the outdoors. When you put your succulents on a tray, it might look harmless, but there is a big problem with it. If the rainwater floods, it won’t dry off the tray, and this will leave your succulents exposed to wet soil that remains wet. That can have a drastically negative impact.

Especially if you don’t realize this, it could leave your plants dead. They might be okay for a day if you quickly moved them to a dryer region, but this can kill your plants fast. Don’t let a tray become a death chamber for your succulents.

Why is Rain Good for Your Succulents?

Rain is good for your succulents because of how it is much healthier than water from the tap. The problem with water from the tap is that it will often come with chlorine, and fluoride, which won’t harm your plant, but it isn’t as good for them as what good rainwater would be if you were to get it for them.

Many gardeners have even chosen to collect rainwater because of the benefits that you get from using it for watering plants. You will see them grow even more.

With succulents, the biggest impact on them won’t be the rain. Instead, it will be the soil that you planted them in.

Here’s the rule of thumb with succulents and the rain: As long as you take the right precautionary measures to protect your succulents, you shouldn’t experience too much for problems. If you failed to take the right precautionary measures like proper drainage and using the right soil, you might have some problems, but it won’t matter in most cases otherwise.