Watering requirements are a bit unclear!
(Marietta, Oklahoma, USA)
Recently I lost my Split Rock from over-watering. (I only watered it twice in a month's time, but didn't know summer was a bad time to do that.) I have since purchased a new one, along with Baby Toes, and Stone Faces (Lithops). Before I doom any of these new plants, can you help me get a good idea of exactly how to water each? I have read so many websites and not all of them match up. Being a newbie succulent grower, I am finding that there's not as much info out there as I thought. I have had all three of these plants for less than a week. They have been potted in small 3 or 4 inch containers with a succulent/cacti soil mixed 50/50 with perlite. The Split Rock and Stone Faces look quite healthy right now. The Baby Toes looks good, but has a few leaves that have a small bit of wrinkling. Thanks!
Hi Erin, so much of the correct way to water has to do with the soil type, how established the plant is, and also other things such as the humidity and temperature, and the difference between day and night time temperatures, as well as day length. These all come into play when you are learning to water.
It doesn't help that you've started with one of the more challenging plants, Lithops. These are particularly finicky because they hate over watering, or being watered at the wrong time, as they have two periods in the year when they absolutely require dry dormancy. They are best grown separately from your other plants so they can be on a more regimented schedule, and not get watered accidentally during one of their dry periods.
There, now that's out of the way; I would say that these plants are all on the side of being somewhat harder to grow, sorry to say. I might be inclined to suggest some easier plants to get started with, such as some of the Echeveria and others related such as x Graptoveria and x Pachyveria. These are a little less likely to keel over completely if things aren't exactly to their liking.
For your little collection, I would use rain water, or distilled water only, not water from the tap which might be chlorinated, or worse, run through a water softening unit. Then, when you do water, don't tease. Give them a good soaking, and then let them completely dry out. I mean that; the soil should be almost totally dry.
Depending on what the pot is made of, you can usually get quite good at hefting the pot to see if it's dry yet.
Don't ever do what many house plant growers do, and use a saucer under the pot, and don't let them soak in a bucket. The water should run freely out of the bottom of the pot, and hopefully you've got good drain holes in the pot. Pretend that you're out on the African veldt in a pouring rainstorm, which only last a few minutes but are incredibly intense, after which the soil dries out as the sun comes back out.
Don't use pottery shards or pebbles in the bottom of the pot. I sometimes use a small piece of newspaper to hold the soil in until it's settle, and eventually it will rot away.
I hope that answers your questions, if you have more don't hesitate to ask!
See these pages: Lithops, and how to grow Lithops.