6 Signs Of Underwatered Lithops

While living stones are incredibly low-maintenance, ignoring these signs of underwatered lithops might lead to their swift demise!

Have you forgotten to serve water to your lithops in the hustle and bustle of life? Are they showing you a set of mixed signs that you’re unable to figure out? Keep your worries aside, as we have a list of solutions to revive your cute lithops.

Signs Of Underwatered Lithops

1. Horizontal Wrinkles

Horizontal Wrinkles - Signs Of Underwatered Lithops

Lithops are extremely smart water conservators. They show vertical lines when they naturally draw water. These lines indicate that the plant is using its saved water and shouldn’t raise any alarms. However, keep an eye out for horizontal wrinkles that form across the flat top surface of the plant, which eventually deepen as dehydration progresses.

2. Shriveled Leaves

Underwatered Lithops

Living stones communicate their need for water through their plump, fleshy leaves. These leaves act as water reservoirs, keeping the plant hydrated during dry spells. When underwater, these reserves get depleted, and the leaves lose their juiciness and get shriveled.

3. Aerial Roots

Lithops have a shallow root system, meant for absorbing moisture from the top layers of the soil. But, when chronically underwatered, they might develop aerial roots in a desperate attempt to find water. These thin, white roots will appear above the soil surface, looking a bit like stray hairs. These aerial roots are a clear indicator that your living stone is parched and desperately seeking water.

4. Burying Lithops

Burying Lithops

An underwatered lithops tries to burrow deeper into its pot. This behavior is basically a survival tactic. By reducing the surface area exposed to the dry air, the plant attempts to conserve any remaining moisture. If you notice your lithops seemingly sinking lower in the pot, it’s a desperate plea for a drink. Don’t wait any longer – it’s time to give your living stone a good watering.

5. Leaves Turn Brown

Leaves Turn Brown

A healthy lithops shows plump, fleshy leaves. When underwatered, these pads lose moisture and begin to shrink. In severe cases of dehydration, the lack of water can disrupt chlorophyll production, leading the leaves to lose their characteristic green color and turn brown.

6. Slow Growth

Lithops are naturally slow-growing succulents. But, if your plant seems completely stalled with no signs of new growth, underwatering could be the reason. Water is essential for all cellular functions, including cell division and growth. Chronic underwatering disrupts these processes, leading to stunted growth or dormancy.

How Do You Troubleshoot Watering Issues?

If you have mistakenly underwatered your living stones, then don’t feel like there’s no going back. They can be easily revived, provided you understand the early signs. Following are some quick methods that you can try to troubleshoot the watering issues:

How Do You Troubleshoot Watering Issues


1. Soak-And-Dry Method

Drench the pot thoroughly until water runs freely from the drainage holes. Then, let the soil dry completely before watering again. This method lets your lithops get a good drink kicking out excess moisture.

2. The Weight Watchers Method

Feeling the pot is a great way to gauge watering needs. Pick up your lithops when the soil is dry. It should feel lightweight. After a good soak, the weight will increase noticeably. As the soil dries out, so will the pot. This weight difference becomes your watering guide!

3. Give it Some Sunlight

Lithops thrive in bright, indirect sunlight. This helps them efficiently use water through photosynthesis. These are like little solar panels – good light translates to less frequent watering needs.

4. Hydrate with Caution

Even a thirsty lithops needs a gentle approach. Don’t subject a severely dehydrated plant to a sudden deluge. Instead, try bottom watering. Place the pot in a shallow dish filled with water, allowing the soil to absorb moisture from the bottom up for 10-15 minutes. This rehydrates the plant gradually.

5. Check Moisture Level

Before watering, stick your finger into the soil or use a moisture meter. If it feels dry to the touch or the meter reads low, it’s watering time. Also, a simple calendar note or phone reminder can help you avoid underwatering or overwatering your lithops. Always keep in mind that a forgotten watering is better than a drowned one.

Note: Once you’ve addressed the watering issue, your lithops might take some time to recover. Be patient and avoid further watering until the soil dries completely. New growth will often appear from the center of the plant as it recovers.

Leave a Comment