Tag: mesembs

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.

Faucaria tigrina, 4 years + 1 month

The Tiger Jaws survived another winter with no casualties. These babies have been in the same pot with the exact same soil for almost exactly 4 years now and they’re thriving. I think maybe I forgot to fertilize them the last couple of years, but they clearly like the way I’m treating them, so I’ll just continue forgetting about them.
I still water them with my other succulents when the soil has been dry for a week or two and they’ve started to wrinkle up.

Faucaria tigrina, 3 years + 9 months

It’s been 9 months since I last took a pic of the Faucaria (tiger jaws). They’re still very much alive, but not much is happening at the moment. Their growth has slowed way down. I don’t think they’re going to bloom this year unless they decide to bloom in winter. Last year they flowered in early October.
I guess the important thing is that they’re doing well.

Monilaria moniliformis, 3 years + 6 months (repotting session)

Even more seedlings have woken up and the bunny ears grow longer every day. Right now the temperature drops to 3-7 degrees Celsius at night (it’s a couple of degrees warmer on my glass covered balcony), which is perfect for my winter growing succulents.

I realized that even though the Monilaria are growing bigger and seem to be thriving, a lot of them have died off this summer. The pot became slightly too big for the remaining plants, increasing the odds of rot. So I found this small terra-cotta pot and very carefully dug up my Monilaria and replanted them in the same old soil (diatomaceous earth cat litter). Hopefully they’re happier now.


A pot full of happy Lithops. They were watered by the rain, woke up from dormancy and plumped up, but I think now is the time to water them anyway. We’re heading for fall and the sunny days in Denmark are pretty much over. The perfect time for my fall-growing plants!

It’s been a couple of years since they last flowered. I’m crossing my fingers and hope they flower this fall.

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.


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.

The Lithops seedlings turned 4!

Like most of my seed grown plants, I didn’t think the Lithops would survive this long. They just turned 4 a couple of days ago and the biggest plants are only the size of my thumb nail. None of them show signs of stretching, so they’re getting the perfect amount of light, and they’re nice and plump, like they’re supposed to be. Just not in summer.. They’re splitting way too early, too.

These are my very first ever seed grown succulents and they have a special place in my heart.

Monilaria moniliformis, 3 years + 3 months

My 3-year-old Monilaria moniliformis is still very much alive. I realized that I haven’t written about it for quite a while. Right now it’s summer dormant and looks very dead. It will look this way for another 3-4 months.

A little guide on how I keep my Monilaria alive:

I wrote a guide a while ago on how to grow Monilaria from seeds. Read this first if you’re starting there. Good luck!
And here’s a collection of all blog posts from germination to the latest post about my Monilaria.

This is one of the plants I wouldn’t put on a window sill. Partly because it’s downright ugly when it’s dormant, but also because it needs to experience the seasonal changes to be happy. Just like Lithops, it will rely on day length and temperature to know when to grow and when to go dormant. Every fall it will sprout a new set of long green leaves (the iconic bunny ears – which is why this one is also called “bunny ear succulent”) and it will continue to grow and change leaves until spring. It then goes dormant and looks like deep fried unions for 6 months until it grows another set of leaves in fall.

Monilaria growing new leaves in fall (2018)


It sounds like the most fussy plant ever, but it’s actually easy to grow. When it reaches adulthood you only need to water (once every 1-2 weeks) when it has green leaves and is actively growing. When it goes dormant you stop watering until it decides to wake up again. It can be hard to judge when to stop watering in spring. Monilaria gradually show signs of going dormant, first by stopping all growth, then it turns yellow and starts drooping. That’s when I stop watering immediately, letting the leaves die off as quickly as possible. If I don’t do this, the plants would stand in water, they can no longer absorb and rot sets in.

My Monilaria don’t always wake up completely on their own. I know it’s safe to water when the temperature outside stays below 10 degrees C. Usually they start to turn slightly more green behind the dead crispy skin, too. After their first watering, they very quickly start to fatten up and the dead skin cracks, revealing a new bulb of green growth. This is followed by a set of cute little leaves, growing from inside the bulb. This should all happen within 1-2 weeks after watering.


I don’t expect mine to flower. Ever. I’ve heard about keeping Monilaria in small pots and making sure they get enough light in winter when it’s actively growing, but that’s not doing it for me. This winter I’ll try feeding them early on in the hope that they build up enough energy to flower before spring sets in.

Lithops, 3 years + 10 months

My Lithops seedlings are now barely 4 years old. The few I have left have finally started to grow a little faster. I’ve read that Lithops can flower after somewhere between 3-4 years, but I think mine are still too small. It would be so cool to raise a Lithops from seeds and then see it flower for the first time. This was my original goal with this blog (hence the blog name).