Monday, May 27, 2013

Visiting Old C&S Friends

Lithops bromfieldii var. insularis 'Sulphurea'

This is my oldest lithops.  It is also one of the few lithops I have that I did not grow from seed.  It was purchased as a single headed plant in 1986 from Ed Storms nursery.  It cost $3.50 at that time, which seems rather expensive in that you can purchase plants today from U.S. nurseries for only $4.00.  

While the size of the clump looks impressive, remember, it is now 27 years old, and this is a cultivar that clumps extremely fast.  Steven Hammer describes it as having a manic disposition and clustering uncontrollably.   It is also very slow at shedding its old leaves and is a pain to water correctly in the spring.  In some years half the heads have their new leaves and half are way behind.  But now, after 27 years it is an old friend.  It survived the tornado that hit my home in 2002 when more than 200 other succulents did not.  It always brings surprise reactions from the public when I enter it in our local C&S Society shows.  The photo above was taken last year and I think I'll have to repot it next year, as this year it is almost going over the sides of the pot.  My next largest lithops is L. bromfieldii var insularis at eight heads.  I don't have a current photo of that plant but I'll try to get one soon.  

Although 27 years is certainly an OLD friend, it is not my oldest plant.  But I'll save that old friend for another post.  Happy succulent growing.        


  1. This is one amazing plant with a great story! Can't even count all those heads. And so healthy and "fat" (in a good way). This plant must be just a little older than me :)
    I'm going to post photos of my sulphureas soon. They indeed do regenerate in a weird way sometimes: this winter I've had two plants regenerating twice. And all the others have turned two-headed. I've noticed bromfieldii generally grow well at my place, compared to some other lithops species.

  2. Wow! I'm only 2 years deep into my lithops adventure - can't wait til I have an old friend that looks like yours (or even half of what you've got). Looking forward to more posts.

  3. Hi Rika. I was just looking at your 'Sulphurea" plants and they have better color than mine. More "sulfur" looking whereas mine have more green. I like yours better but I won't tell mine that. :-)

    Hi ellie T. You seem to understand a lot about these plants for only growing them for a couple years. I've been growing them for a long time and they are still a challenge for me.

    1. I think the beautyful plant on your picture just has larger windows than mine and that's why appears more green. :)
      Regardless of that, it's funny how different lithops' colors are depending on the conditions. When I buy an adult plant it always has a completely different color after it regenerates.

  4. That looks like one very happy, healthy & intelligent plant! :) Congratulations! I love 'Sulphurea' also & yours is a wonderful specimen.

  5. Thanks Lithopsland. I kind of like it too. It has been a bit of a pain to grow. I wanted to take a picture of it a few days ago when I wrote the blog entry but even now, a number of the heads are still in the process of absorbing their old leaves. It's very erratic in how it regenerates each year. I also like it because it has a history. When you first start growing C&S, or any plants, it's all about the future, which is very nice. As you get older, (both you and your plants) you build up a history, and your plants become old friends. Then history shares equal footing with future. Hope you are enjoying your Autumn. Today in Maryland it's going to be hot, high temp 34 C.

  6. 27 years! I am humbled by this plant. It is a beauty. Congrats!