Overwatered lithops are characterized by problems such as brown spots, root rot, white dots, and yellow leaves. In addition, overwatered lithops feel mushy or swollen between your fingers as you touch them.
Upon noticing these signs, it is essential that you quickly take action in reversing them before it’s too late. If you are interested in gaining knowledge about how to save overwatered lithops, read on.
- Why You are Dealing With Overwatering Lithop?
- How To Save the Overwatered Lithops
Why You are Dealing With Overwatering Lithop?
An overwatered lithop is a result of incorrect plant care methods such as the absence of a watering schedule, poor drainage, invasion of the plant by pests, and lack of indirect sunlight.
It would have to do with poor execution of the humidity, having damaged roots, and even splitting of the leaves.
– Poor Soil
In case you are growing your Lithops plant in poor soil that is not well-draining, overwatering is highly likely to occur. The reason is that you will water it over and over again thinking that it is what the plant needs, however the soil is the reason and how it isn’t draining well, hence you are being left with a soggy soil.
The ideal potting mix for growing your lithop should be a mixture of 75 percent pumice and 25 percent cactus mix.
– Container Size
In addition, it would even be the type of container that you select for growing also affects how water is going to be retained. It is important that your pot have enough drainage holes, otherwise overwatering tends to occur.
You must note that as your lithop plant has very shallow roots, using a shallow container is preferable. The use of a deep container when growing your Lithops is likely to result in overwatering.
This is because a deep pot has the risk of overly retaining excess water. In addition, can you imagine how awkward the small-sized lithop plants would look in a deep container?
– Absence of Watering Schedule
The most common problem that you can face when growing lithops is the challenge of overwatering due to the absence of a well-planned schedule for watering them, or worse still, watering lithops at the wrong time of the year.
Your plant does not require a lot of watering in spring and winter, therefore, you should avoid exposing your lithops to water during this period. However, if you water your plant during winter and spring, overwatering occurs because the plant is dormant during this time. As a result, you will be supplying the plant with the water that it is less likely to use.
This plant is also known as the living stone or split rock is a succulent plant that can thrive in dry, sandy soils with very little water. Due to the ability of the plant to do well in limited amounts of moisture, it tends to be easy to overwater them if you are nurturing them as houseplants.
You must consider that you can water your plant during summer, especially in the heat, but you have to use the soak-and-dry method of watering your lithop. Failing to follow this schedule will result in an overwatered lithop, which in turn gives rise to lithops diseases.
Remember to set a timer when watering your lithop, or you may forget and let your plant sit in water too long which means that overwatering would take place. For you to water your plant, it is important to ensure that the soil is completely dry.
When setting up your schedule, take note of the period of time between one watering and the next. This allows you to know how long you should wait before watering your plant again, thereby reducing the chances of overwatering your lithop.
– Pest Invasions
Pest infestations are also likely to cause overwatering on your living stone as you try to eliminate them using the hose method. Pests such as thrips, spider mites, scale insects, aphids, snails, mealybugs, and slugs can be attracted to your lithop. All these pests may have different types of damage that they can cause to the lithop.
To counteract the damage caused by these pests, you may want to wash them off your plant using running water. However, note that this method of pest control may be the reason for overwatering of your lithop.
Overwatering causes your lithop to split open and eventually kills the plant if the problem persists. If you notice a random lithops splitting of a certain leaf, it is important that you avoid watering your plant until the leaf has healed.
– Poor Lighting Conditions
If your lithops does not receive sunlight, it may become overwatered. Keep in mind that the living stones prefer indirect as compared to direct sunlight.
With the necessary sunlight requirements, which in turn can provide elevated temperatures, excess amounts of water may be eliminated, thereby saving your lithop from overwatering. However, if the plant does not get the sunlight that it needs, the water it receives may seem like too much.
However, make sure that you don’t leave it under too much light as well, hence it needs indirect lighting so that it would avoid getting sun burnt in anyway.
– Not Detect the Dryness of Soil
If you fail to detect the dryness of the soil in your lithop’s pot, you are likely to overwater your plant. Methods such as the finger method where you have to place your finger in the soil to check if it is dry are not really reliable.
This is because the method requires an assessment from individuals, but you should take note that people are prone to human errors. Overwatering of your plant may occur if you use such methods to check if your plant needs a drink.
– Poor Execution of Humidity Control Methods
When there is a need to increase the humidity around your plant, you might end up having to deal with overwatering if you are not careful enough.
For example, if you use the pebble tray for increasing humidity levels, any contact between the bottom of your plant’s pot and the water in the tray may cause overwatering. The longer the period of contact, the more water moves into the potting soil through the drainage holes.
– Damaged Roots
It is a terrifying experience to find no roots at all on your plant, especially after the damage by root rot. Sometimes you may examine the plant’s roots to see if there are damaged roots. Discouraging as it may be, a scenario where there is an absence of roots may occur.
You can notice an absence of roots on your plant, do not panic because this is common in succulents when they get excess water. If the roots of lithops sit in water for long periods, they can dissolve because they are extremely fragile.
The absence of roots on your plant does not initiate that it is the end of the road for your plant.
– Splitting Sign
Splitting is caused by overwatering lithops, and this should be a sign that you are overwatering your plant. The more you water it, the more the plan shows you this.
When there is an overload of water such that the water doesn’t have else to go but to simply burst open as a way of adjusting. The result is a split-up appearance or a jagged cut on the leaves of your lithop.
How To Save the Overwatered Lithops
There are several ways to save your overwatered lithop including repotting, creating a watering routine, and using a moisture meter. In addition, you can mist it often depending on the reason, fight the pests, and adjust the humidity. Lastly, you can propagate it to save the plant.
– Remove and Dry the Roots
To see how affected your plant is, it is significant that you remove the plant from the pot so that you can be able to evaluate any damage. Carefully take off your plant from its container because they have very small roots that can easily break, especially when they have been exposed to this issue.
Once your lithops is out of the container, shake off the soil gently prior to looking at the roots. Quickly evaluating the roots as well as the entire plant helps in knowing the severity of the situation.
If your plant had not been affected by root rot, dry the roots using indirect light in a well-ventilated place, the reason for indirect light is not to burn them as they are very thin. This should be enough to help the plant recover after several hours, depending on how much excess water the lithop had.
It is wise that you avoid using hair dryers when it comes to drying the plant. Naturally drying the plant is preferable prior to repotting the lithop in a new pot with many drainage holes and well-draining soil.
– Adjust Watering Schedule
During late summer, through fall, it is better for you to use a soak and dry watering routine.
If your plant is thirsty, it will develop a slightly wrinkled top. Ensure that you water lithops from below using rain, bottled, or filtered water. To give your plant a good drink, you could place it into a water container for between 15 and 20 minutes.
It is important to set a timer so that you avoid forgetting and leaving your plant standing in water for longer than needed. After giving your plant a good drink, take it out of the water container to permit the draining of excess moisture.
It is key to remember that you should not water your plant if it is going through healthy splitting, in this case, because the splitting is a good sign, new sprouts are shooting.
However, note that you should not water your plant after your lithop starts blooming, in springtime, or winter. Simply put, your lithop only requires water half of the year, so your watering timetable should be centered around this particular period.
Lithop shriveling and shrunken leaves are signs to show that your plant needs a drink. When watering your plant, avoid tap water because it has added minerals that are not good for your plant’s health but use filtered or fresh rainwater instead.
In case you have overwatered your lithop, repotting your plant is another way to save it. You start by removing your lithop from its current pot to assess the roots so that you can see if they are damaged.
If the roots are damaged, prune the affected areas with a sterile, sharp tool. Pruning the affected areas will help in stopping the disease from spreading.
When rinsing the roots, make sure that you do it thoroughly with running, lukewarm water. Afterward, dry the roots by patting them using a paper towel or a soft cotton cloth before exposing the plant to air drying for several hours.
However, once it has sufficiently dried, you should treat the roots with a fungicide before placing the plant into a new, shallow terracotta container with light, fresh, and airy soil. Remember, a shallow container is conducive because lithops have shallow roots.
Lithops also require well-draining soil that does not retain water and a container should have breathable terracotta material to help with adequate drainage holes.
You are at an advantage if your plant has some offsets because these can be separated and potted independently to provide more chances of success. Once you have repotted your plant, make sure that you avoid overwatering it again.
– Using a Moisture Meter
Moisture meters are a great help when it comes to checking the amount of moisture that is in your lithop’s potting soil. Using a moisture meter to evaluate the moisture content of the potting mix is a better idea. This is because this device is less influenced by human opinion, this would give more accurate results.
By simply inserting the meter into the soil, you will be able to read the moisture level in the soil. This method is remarkable because it is accurate, as it eliminates guessing by sticking your finger in the soil to see how dry it is. If the meter does not display ‘dry’, you are better off without watering your lithop.
– Fighting Pests on Overwatered
Apart from using running water to eliminate pests from your lithop, there are many other methods to use to lessen overwatering. These can be manual or chemical-based. Sometimes, pest control may be done through organic means.
Most of the methods used to fight pests on your overwatered lithops plant are somewhat similar. The first step is to move your lithop away from other plants. Depending on the type of pest, you can use your fingers, tweezers, or small tongs to remove it from your lithop. An insecticide or soapy water can be used to eliminate pests like mealybugs and scale.
If your plant has been attacked by snails, you can use snail bait to do away with them. You could also spray isopropyl alcohol onto your lithop in order to get rid of pests. A solution of Neem oil and water can be used to spray the infected plant. It is important to do a series of treatment repetitions when it comes to eliminating any survivors on your lithop.
– Adjust Humidity Control
Humidity control methods will not cause waterlogged conditions if you use them correctly. Make sure that there is absolutely no contact between the pot and the water in the pebble tray.
You can do this by ensuring that the pot is seated on the pebbles in the tray. However, when you use methods such as misting, be sure not to do it too frequently, and this is because misting increases the wetness of the potting soil.
When in late winter you can mist your plant every twenty days or more. If it is early spring, between one or two moderate misting are fine, especially if you notice that the new leaves are shriveled. Remember, this is only in wintertime.
Lithops does not require water during spring and winter months, so you should not water your plant even if the moisture meter reads ‘dry.’ When summer comes, a moisture meter would be a great tool to devise a sound watering routine.
– Propagate the Plant if it Has Been Severely Affected
If your overwatered plant gets to a situation where problems such as root rot severely affect it, you may not be able to save it.
However, you may do so indirectly by using the healthy parts for propagation. Lithops can be propagated from seeds or division from already-existing plants. Due to the slow growth of lithops, divisions are usually avoided as compared to seed propagation.
Seed propagation is best done between March and April. If you can’t buy the seeds for propagation, you can prepare your own by pollinating your own plants with a paintbrush. Brush the inner side of the flowers of as many lithop plants as possible to increase the chances of pollination.
Get succulent soil and add it to a pot, prior to adding a thin layer of pumice or fine lava on top. Spread the seeds on the top layer that you have created. Add some water and await germination, which should take place within a week or two.
– Plant it Outdoors
You can plant your lithops plants on the ground outdoors, just as long as you provide them with the necessary care needs so that they are not exposed to overwatering. Ensure that the soil you use is well-draining so as to avoid rot roots.
Also, make sure that you have put in place measures for your lithops care to protect it from harsh weather conditions such as freezing so that your plant’s roots do not rot. Your plant will love it if you could add some rocks on the soil surface in such a way that a third of its stem is covered in the soil while two-thirds of the plant remains above ground.
Upon successfully transplanting your lithops plant, it is crucial that you do not provide it with any water for a number of days up to a week. This helps your lithops to get used to their new soil and to promote root growth. Care to water your plant after a week, but be sure to check that it really needs the drink.
Another point to note in order to provide your plant with the best care it requires is to avoid disturbing your plant in its dormant period. Also, you should not repot the plant during this period. However, if you like, you could repot it before its blooming cycle begins. The blooming cycle usually occurs in early Spring.
This article is rich in providing in-depth knowledge as far as saving your overwatered lithop is concerned.
It would be great to have a quick run-down of the important points.
- To see if your lithop needs watering, it is best to use a moisture meter.
- It is best to create a watering schedule for your little plant so that you prevent overwatering it.
- If your plant has been affected by the rotting of roots, it is wise for you to remove the affected dark brown areas using sterile pruning shears, treat the remaining parts with a fungicide, and then repot your plant.
- In case your plant has been overwatered but does not have rotten roots, it is best for you to let the plant naturally dry in good ventilation and indirect sunlight.
You are now well-equipped with information to help you save your overwatered lithop, if there is a need to. Use the tips provided in this article to revive and enjoy your stone-like beauty!
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