Lithops fulviceps (Yellow Living Stones)

Scientific Name

Lithops fulviceps (N. E. Br.) N. Br.


Lithops fulviceps f. aurea, Lithops fulviceps var. fulviceps, Lithops lydiae, Mesembryanthemum fulviceps, Mesembryanthemum ortendahlii

Common Names

Golden Living Stones, Yellow Living Stones, Tawny Head Living Stones

Scientific Classification

Family: Aizoaceae
Subfamily: Ruschioideae
Tribe: Ruschieae
Genus: Lithops


This species is native to Namibia and South Africa (Northern Cape), found in rocky areas and cold desert regions.


Lithops fulviceps is a small succulent with a body that consists of a pair of fleshy leaves that range in color from red-brown, yellow-brown, gray-brown to gray with greenish or pinkish tinges. The body grows up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) tall and up to 4 inches (2.5 cm) wide. The top surface of the leaves is flattened with many, slightly raised, dark gray-green to blue-green dots and sometimes with yellow, orange-brown, or red markings. Older plants form clumps of up to 10 ten bodies. Flowers are yellow, up to 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) in diameter, and appear in fall from the fissure between the leaves.

The specific epithet "fulviceps" derives from the Latin word "fulvus," meaning "yellowish-brown or tawny" and "caput," meaning "head," and refers to the color of the leaves.

How to Grow and Care for Lithops fulviceps

Light: Lithops have adapted to intense sunlight in the wild, so they require a good amount of direct sunlight when grown indoors.

Soil: These plants thrive best in a growing medium that will drain quickly. Use a commercial succulent soil mix or make your own potting mix.

Hardiness: Lithops fulviceps can withstand temperatures as low as 30 to 50 °F (-1.1 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b.

Watering: Lithops have a specific yearly cycle of growth, and it is important to water only during certain stages, but it is also important to keep the soil dry at other stages of their growth. Never water Lithops deeply when they are dormant.

Fertilizing: These succulents do not need to be fertilized. Lithops will thrive without any feeding. If you decide to feed, use a fertilizer with high potassium and low nitrogen levels.

Repotting: Lithops will happily stay in the same pot for several decades. The common reason for repotting is to divide the plants or to allow space for clusters to grow.

Propagation: If you have multi-headed plants, Lithops can be propagated by division. They are most often grown from seeds.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Lithops.

Toxicity of Lithops fulviceps

Lithops are non-toxic and safe to have around children and pets.

Cultivars of Lithops fulviceps

  • Lithops fulviceps 'Aurea'


  • Back to genus Lithops
  • Succulentopedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus

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Lithops Plant Care

For the most part, Lithops are pretty hardy and easy to care for. But there are a few guidelines that you should know when planting one in your home.


In their natural environment, the lithops thrives in full sun. However, in the gardens or as a houseplant – 5 hours of full sunlight should be sufficient for the plant.

However, if you are keeping it indoors, make sure to place the container near a window that receives bright light during the daytime. Make sure to rotate the plant from time to time as well so each area gets equal amounts of light. Remember that failing to do so will result in a misshaped plant.

Color loss can also occur if your plant is not getting enough light. Change its location if you find the leaves of the succulent fading or appearing less pronounced.


The ideal temperature for growing the lithops is 65 degrees F to 80 degrees F. they cannot tolerate freezing temperature and suffice well in areas falling in USDA Hardiness Zone 10a to 11b.


Lithops are able to tolerate humidity in small amounts as it absorbs moisture from the air to fulfill its water requirements. However, consistent humidity can cause problems for the plants. This is why make sure to avoid keeping the succulent in areas that get high humidity, such as bathroom and kitchens.


In their natural habitats, lithops live in extreme drought-like conditions in the area that gets very little rainfall. Due to this, you can easily get away with some neglect when it comes to watering the pebble plant.

Moreover, its fleshy leaves are filled with moisture to help the plant survive when external sources of water are not available.

In most cases, however, the watering schedule should vary according to the season. During the growing season, water the plants slightly every two weeks – or when the soil appears dried out.

Most lithops living stones go into the dormancy stage during the winter season so it’s best to avoid watering during this time.

Always remember that overwatering is a silent killer of the succulents and it’s ideal that you hold back on the water as much as possible.

Keep an eye on the rainfall if you have planted them outside as well. If your specific area experiences long periods of rainfall and storms, I suggest bringing them indoors to prevent it from getting too much water.

Lithops Soil

When they are in their natural habitats, the lithops soil is basically sand and other natural material that does not retain water.

At home, I usually prefer planning the lithops in the cactus mix. You can also try your hand at a DIY soil mix by blending half potting soil with half sand.

As I mentioned above, overwatering is a strict no-no for the succulent. So make sure any growing medium you use has the ability to drain quickly.


Lithops are generally non-fussy plants and can thrive perfectly well without being fed. But if you want, you can add a little fertilizer to their soil just before their flowering period to help them produce bigger and better flowers.

You can also choose a fertilizer with high potassium content to encourage blooming. However, make sure to take caution as the plant can burn very easily. And if you are unsure about the content of the fertilizer, I suggest that you let it be without it.


Repotting is rare for lithops and you can happily keep them in the same container for years – even decades.

The only reason to repot them is for propagation or to change their container. But regardless of the reason, if you do decide to repot, I suggest that you be very careful with the root system. The taproots of the succulent are very sensitive and an essential component of the plant’s survival. Any damage to the roots can cause the plant to die


Pruning is another part of lithops care that you don’t have to worry about when it comes to lithops. When the new leaves erupt, the set of old leaves eventually slough off on their own – saving you from the hassle.

Lithops Overview

Lithops quick care illustration by Seb Westcott.
Common Name Lithops, living stones, living stone plant, split rocks, split rock plant, pebble plant, Karas Mountains living stone, Lesliei living stone, Lithops terricolor, Truncate living stone, Salt-dwelling living stone
Scientific Name Lithops aucampiae, Lithops dorotheae, Lithops fulviceps, Lithops hookeri, Lithops karasmontana, Lithops lesliei, Lithops localis, Lithops optica, Lithops pseudotruncatella, Lithops ruschiorum, Lithops salicola, Lithops verruculosa, Lithops viridis and other species
Family Aizoaceae
Light Full sun to partial shade
Water Extremely light to none at all
Temperature 65-80 degrees optimal, can take heat to 90-100, do not go below 50 degrees
Humidity Tolerant of short bursts of humidity
Soil Gritty or rocky, extremely well draining sandy soils preferred
Fertilizer None to extremely light high-phosphorous
Pests Spider mites most common. Can also attract thrips, scale insects, mealybugs, aphids, snails, slugs, and root knot nematodes. Mice and other small animals may eat it for its water content.
Diseases Almost none, but can develop rot if overwatered, exposed to cold conditions, or damaged

Lithops Species, Living Stones


Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual

Suitable for growing in containers


Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

8.6 to 9.0 (strongly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

From seed winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed sow indoors before last frost

From seed direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant break open to collect seeds

Allow seedheads to dry on plants remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Plants→Living Stones→Living Stones (Lithops fulviceps 'Aurea')

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit:Cactus/Succulent
Life cycle:Perennial
Sun Requirements:Full Sun to Partial Shade
Leaves:Unusual foliage color
Other: Flowering is usually an indication the plant is preparing for its water rest and watering should begin to be reduced.
Suitable Locations:Xeriscapic
Propagation: Seeds:Other info: A pollinated seed pod will form a capsule that looks like a pentagon flower shape and will gradually dry to a brown color. It is closed when dry, but if water is placed on it, it will open out to release some of the seeds. If no rain or watering is prese
Containers:Needs excellent drainage in pots

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Watch the video: Growing Lithops from Seed - the Living Stones

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