Living Pebbles Succulents: How to Care For Them
“Living pebbles” is the common name given to a species of succulents whose shape resembles a heart. These plants are native to South Africa and their scientific name is Conophytum bilobum.
In addition to their shape, they’re characterized by growing without a stem and reaching just three inches in height. As they grow, they form rows, and during the autumn season, they bloom beautiful yellow or orange flowers.
Find out how to care for your living pebbles with the tips you’ll find in the following article!
7 Tips for caring for living pebbles
This heart-shaped leafy plant is very easy to grow at home and is very low maintenance. You may have a pot with only one leaf at first, but know that, with time and proper care, this leaf will thrive and multiply.
1. Prepare good drainage for your plant
Drainage is important for this type of plant, as the root can rot if water remains stagnant. For this reason, you should place a layer of coarse sand or fine stones at the inner base of the pot.
The former will absorb excess water, while if you opt for the latter, you’ll prevent the water from stagnating. Likewise, you need to make sure that the holes aren’t obstructed.
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2. Take care of the lighting
Morning or afternoon sun’s ideal for this type of plant. Avoid exposing them to the sun’s midday rays, as these can burn the succulent’s leaves.
However, if you decide to keep it inside your home or office instead of a window, that’s fine. Just keep in mind that growth will be slower.
3. Use a specific substrate
Living pebbles thrive best in porous, sandy soil that facilitates ventilation and drainage. Similar to the soil used for home-grown cacti.
Keep in mind that these plants don’t need to be transplanted often, so they can stay in the same pot for years.
However, the Conophytum bilobum comes to grow wild in sunny, dry, rocky crevices, needing protection only from excessive winter moisture levels. Occasionally, it’s been cultivated in soils of alpine areas, as they meet the characteristics of being poor and well-drained.
4. Water only when necessary
In these cases, observation will work in your favor. Most succulents, including this variety, require little watering to prevent their outer skin from breaking and causing scarring that can lead to fungus and bacteria.
For example, in summer, water them only when you see their leaves begin to wilt. In the winter, you can do it more frequently, but only after the leaves from the previous season have dried.
5. Use a specific fertilizer and compost
Fertilize it once a year during August through March, which is its growing season. Do this with special fertilizer for succulents. These are usually low in nitrogen and have the necessary micronutrients and trace elements that your plant needs.
When using compost or fertilizer, you should dilute it to half the concentration indicated on the label. Low fertilization inhibits the growth of other vegetation.
6. Make sure the temperature is ideal
The temperature at which the living pebbles are most comfortable is between 50 to 53.5 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s important to keep it cool and shaded during the summer. Conophytum bilobum is a plant that’s most active from late winter to late spring.
7. Stimulate reproduction
Conophytum bilobum can be propagated by cuttings or by seed. If you opt for the first way, keep in mind that the cutting should be from an adult mother plant.
Cut a whole leaf and a small portion of the root, transfer it to a pot, and water it using a spray bottle.
On the other hand, if you choose the seed, you should cover the pot with a thin layer of soil, moisten it with clean, fresh water, and add a fungicide to prevent fungus.
During the first 3 days, cover the pot with a sheet of cling film and, after this time, replace it with a light cloth. Spray 1 or 2 times a day for 2 weeks. In that time, the seed should have already germinated.
After that time, continue watering with the sprayer, but every 3 days until they have a good size.
The characteristics of living pebbles
Living pebbles are plants whose leaves are fleshy, green, and have the shape of a heart. They reach a width of about 1.25 inches and up to 3 inches high.
In autumn, they bloom with yellow or orange flowers without any aroma. In its resting months, during the summer season, the plant forms a new body inside the previous one and the first one gradually appropriates the nutrients of the last one, leaving the old skin dry around the new one.
This serves to protect the renewed succulent from heat and excessive water evaporation. It’s because of this covering that this gets its name.
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The care that living pebbles deserve
It’s impossible not to be attracted to living pebbles. From their peculiar leaves to their beautiful yellow or orange flowers, it’s, in short, a plant that many fall in love with.
With very little care, it’s possible to keep it bright and healthy. Remember to provide it with the right lighting and temperature. At the same time, take into account that it requires fertilization and a specific substrate, but the key is to provide it with good drainage.
A healthy succulent could give your home or office the right decorative touch your looking. Aesthetics are also necessary, and the joy of seeing it bloom is well worth the effort of creating the right conditions for its development!
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- OPEL, MATTHEW R. “Leaf anatomy of conophytum nE Br.(aizoaceae).” Haseltonia 2005.11 (2005): 27-52.