My Lithops have had a nearly a year since then to grow and change, and I've made some observations that relate to that long-ago post.
Some Lithops, most certainly from ancestors that were "domesticated" at least 10 generations ago, seem to need less light and more water than their wild cousins. It makes sense, because in order to survive nursery life, particularly big-box nursery life, they are going to get a lot more water than they require in the wild. And they're usually grown under covers of some sort, so they don't always get full sun. Those Lithops that can't cope with the excess water and diminished light are going to rot. Those than can handle it, for unknown genetic reasons, will be propagated and continue to be sold throughout the world.
|L. dorotheae, May 2013|
Some of my Lithops that didn't seem to be thriving completely with the very minimal watering I give them went outdoors. I guess you could say they volunteered to pioneer in the outdoor garden, in the interests of science! They are exposed to drenching rains about once every 5-7 days now, and powerfully hot sun. I made sure they are planted in very porous soil that drains rapidly. So far, they are doing exceptionally well out there. And they are getting about 10 times the water they'd get in their native home of Southern Africa. That supports my theory that "domesticated" Lithops can handle, and may even need, more water than their wild relatives.
Another set of Lithops in my collection don't seem to want strong sunlight in great quantity. They like filtered bright light. Interestingly, this is the same sort of light they had at the nursery in Central Florida where they were raised, and where their entire line was grown over many years. Rather than grow leggy in filtered light, the new leaves are actually quite squat. They're saying "That's enough sun for me, thanks!"
So what do you think? Are we "domesticating" our Lithops to accept more water and less full sun?? And if so, do you think that's a good thing, or a bad thing?