At Desert Creations, some specimens impress visitors with their vibrant color, impressive spines, or a massive caudex. But it’s the diminutive, rock-like Psuedolithos that continually steal the show with an appearance absolutely challenging the popular conception of what a succulent “should” look like. These squat, stony-looking spheres are studded with bumps all over their diminutive forms and could hardly be in the running for any plant-based beauty contest. But it’s these unconventional looks which have won this “anti-succulent” a popular following among our customers.
The name of the genus derives from the Greek words pseudo “false” and lithos “stone”, an obvious reflection of their appearance. Those adventurous enough to venture to the hot, arid habitats in Yemen, Somalia, and Oman, where Pseudolithos are found will have to look carefully to find them as Their stony camouflage allows these rare succulents to easily blend in with their rock-strewn surroundings to avoid predators and curious collectors alike. Making a home for themselves in coarse, gritty soil, Psuedolithos while away the days under the hot sun, blooming foul-smelling carrion flowers to draw flies and other unlikely pollinators.
While Psuedolithos are very appealing to collectors for their unique look, they do require a degree of care which may be difficult for beginning collectors. While tempting to keep in a fancy pot on your work desk, this genus does best when situated outside where it can enjoy variable temperatures and generous sunlight to promote measured growth and flowering. The growing period for these specimens takes place in the spring and autumn but water in moderation as Psuedolithos is quite vulnerable to rot if overwatered. Plant these specimens in a fast draining potting mix with a high concentration of pumice to ensure fast drainage and quick drying time.
Despite their higher than average care requirements, Psuedolithos can be very rewarding specimens to look after as they’re capable of growing into large, show-stopping specimens given time. They will hold a unique place in any collection, displaying the extremes to which succulents can adapt to in order to survive in habitat. If you feel ready to start caring for a Psuedoltihos, we currently offers P. cubiformis and P. eylensis on our web store or stop by the nursery Thursday through Sunday. Don’t sleep, these specimens tend to depart our nursery as quickly as they arrive!