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Rather chuffed – my Lithops rubra flowered! [pictures]

Monday 7 December 2009

I’ll explain Lithops soon, probably next month.* If you’re impatient there’s always Wikipedia. Briefly, Lithops are succulent plants (the family with cacti, but look like pebbles, neither attractive nor interesting – but when you know a little about them they’re captivating and fascinating, either that or i’ve gone loopy at last, so bear with me.

Or maybe you already know all about them. (If so, you’ll notice the effects of our past three almost sunless summers.) Either way, enjoy these pictures. The flower is described as ‘daisy-like’ but it’s a little more exotic.

Just a little.

Sorry it’s not completely in focus, but this

2009_10_27 Lithops rubra in bud (1)

was the first sign that i’d done something right.  :0)  I’m no purist about any kind of plant care, even though all the internet info on Lithops seems to expect that everyone is fastidious about timing of watering, heat lamps, and that kind of thing. I hardly expected to get any flowers, and even though last year i got a couple, i missed them by being away for the New Year. (Those fastidious purist information-writers would have cancelled their holidays, i expect.**)

Actually it wasn’t the first sign, but it was the first i photographed. First of all came a little bump that could have been a new head emerging but turned out to be a budding bud. Then it got bigger, as plants are wont.

That photo was six weeks ago. These were at Hallowe’en:

2009_10_31 Lithops rubra in flower (2)

2009_10_31 Lithops rubra in flower (1)

and a fortnight later, it was only just beginning to look tired.

2009_11_16 Lithops rubra, flower fading (1)

I rather liked it like that, reminds me of silk. And look at those miniature flecks of pollen!

2009_11_16 Lithops rubra, flower fading (1)

Perhaps it kept its energy up by remembering to rest (a knack i despair of mastering myself) in the evenings:

2009_11_02 Lithops rubra in flower, sleepy

We were all the way into December before it finally gave up. (Bathos, anyone?)

2009_12_03 Lithops rubra flower died (2)

Which was more than a month in bloom – as well as being a pretty flower, the sense of achievement is worth all the wait.

Looking for an alternative to ‘pedantic’ and finding ‘fastidious’ in WordWeb, i came across ‘xerophyte’. Which is serendipitous, as Lithops are xerophytic.  :0)

UPDATE: I do know this isn’t a Rubra **facedesk** but can you believe I didn’t realise for several weeks after posting it? Then was too embarrassed to draw attention to the mistake by putting this update… then forgot… then remembered… and it’s kept coming back into my mind so I have had to succumb and explain. The flower is still gorgeous, but it’s here under false pretences. This post gets traffic via the search term ‘Lithops’ and a fair few of those searches include ‘Rubra’ so really I’m letting people down if I don’t explain. But I can’t explain. There is no explanation, only my perpetual brain fog. Apologies, and please witness this my official AAAGH. Thank you.

* I know next month isn’t soon in blogosphere terms, but it’s soon in MY terms.

** Joke. (Just in case strict purists don’t recognise them.***)

*** Joke.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Tuesday 8 December 2009 12.25 am

    How fabulous is that? I tried to grow Lithops from seed, but no luck so far. I’ll keep trying, as sometimes they’ll surprise you, as you found from the bloom.

    • Tuesday 8 December 2009 2.06 pm

      Welcome to the Travel Hopefully Blog, woman-of-many-leaves! Great website you’ve got over there – and great to see you describe your climate as the best of all worlds. The Brits may be intrepid gardeners but they do whinge about the weather… and i can’t think of a weather i dislike. I miss deserts, though.

      Haven’t tried Lithops from seed; i’m told it’s not too slow but no one (sellers) warned me it’s difficult so you make me glad i’ve stuck to buying baby plants. I was overtaken by a passion for them for a while, then got a little bored (fickle as i am) and now they’re rewarding me for patience. :0)

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