Tag: lapidaria

When to water a Lapidaria

Lapidaria margaretae are getting more popular, which is awesome. They’re a good challenge, especially if you haven’t owned one before. I wrote a guide a while back to show you how I raise mine, but of course I forgot to show you what a Lapidaria looks like when it needs water. For a loving plant mom/dad it’s hard to look at a plant for months without watering it. Lapidaria need very little water. I water mine every 4 months (+/- 1 month) and only when it wrinkles up like in the first picture. If you water when it’s plump, the leaves will crack open, which will ruin the nice and clean marshmallow-like appearance.
Remember to keep a Lapidaria in a small pot to make sure the soil dries out as fast as possible. I keep my plant in a tiny 3 cm terra-cotta pot with pure diatomaceous earth (cat litter).

This is basically how I’ve been taking care of my Lapidaria since I bought it in October 2015.

Lapidaria margaretae care guide

My blushing Lapidaria margaretae has now been in my apartment for almost 4 years and I have watered it maybe 10 times since I got it. These are super fussy, but are still pretty easy to care for if done right.

Watering and soil

The most important thing is to repot immediately if it’s planted in potting soil. Like Lithops, Lapidaria will pop or rot if they’re standing in wet soil, because they don’t know when to stop drinking. Pure pumice or crushed lava rock is to be preferred. In addition to that, it’s best to plant your Lapidaria in a small pot, only slightly bigger than the plant to make sure the soil dries out quickly. It’s safe to water when the bottom leaves start wrinkling. It can take weeks or months before this happens. I water mine every 3-4 months or so.

Lighting

It can be hard to judge if the plant gets enough light because they don’t stretch and turn pale like other succulents. Lapidaria and other mesembs do best in as much sunlight as possible if they’re indoors. Outdoors you may have to protect them from strong midday sun. Mine are in a south facing window, getting several hours of sunlight every day.

How are Lapidaria different from other mesembs?

Even though Lapidaria are mesembs, they don’t act like your average mesemb. They don’t really have a growing/dormant season. Instead of going dormant, they’re opportunistic growers, meaning that they grow new leaves if given water. Unlike Lithops and Pleiospilos, they can handle having more than 1 or 2 leaf sets. Mine currently has 5 sets of leaves. Stacking isn’t a problem with these as long as they’re healthy.

Lapidaria

Amazingly, I’ve managed to keep my Lapidaria Margaretae alive with minimal sun, medium-high humidity and a location next to a drafty window through fall and winter. I even gave it one heavy watering at the wrong time to save it from shriveling into nothing.

Luckily, easy-to-kill succulents can be forgiving, just once in a while :3