Pleispilos plants are a unique addition to any succulent collection. Sought after for its thick fleshy leaves resembling a cleaved rock, it’s hard to come by.
The Split rock plant is easy to care for hence great for beginners. “Pleiospilos” is derived from two greek words, “pleios,” meaning whole, and “spilos,” meaning spot, because it has speckled leaves
Split Rock Succulent
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The split rock plant, known as the cleft stone or mimicry plant, is a mesemb. Like other members of the mesembryanthemoideae subfamily, they produce spectacular flowers.
These plants are known as the “living cactus” plants. They have two sets of thick semi-circle leaves.
Leave colors of different cultivars, like the royal flush, can be green, grey, or even purple.
They grow up to two or three inches tall, and their flowers bloom from August to September.
The flowers look like daisies but have a coconut smell. If you think such plants only exist in fairy tales, we don’t blame you. When its flower is a bud, its stem resembles Excalibur stuck in its rock.
Types of Split Rock Succulents
There are four types of Split Rock succulents. Each of them has flowers, and you can differentiate them by the color and shape of their leaves.
Pleispilos bolusii Split Rock Succulent
Mimicry plants are the most common type of split rock succulent around.
Chances are it’s the only one you’ve come across. It has green leaves with spectacular yellow flowers.
This split rock plant has the roundest leaves. You can call it the face of the spit rock succulent group of plants.
The mimicry plant doesn’t have a stem and grows three inches tall and nearly six inches wide.
Pleiospilos nelii Split Rock Succulent
Succulent Pleiospilos nelii split rock succulent is also known as the living granite plant. It has a short stem, unlike the Pleispilos bolusii.
Succulent Pleiospilos nelii split rock is named after the African botanist Gert Cornelius Nel.
It usually has grey-green leaves, but succulent Pleiospilos nelii Royal flush has purple rock plant leaves.
Another cultivar, Pleispilos nelii Rubra, has brown-red leaves.
This split rock has leaves reminiscent of Pleiospilos bolusii in shape, but its flowers are yellow-orange instead.
Pleispilos simulans Split Rock Succulent
The Liver plant is now extinct in the wild. However, you can still find it with rare succulent collectors. It has grey leaves, which look the most like actual rocks.
That means this rock plant is the best at camouflaging itself in its natural habitat. This split rock succulent has incredible pink daisy-like flowers.
Pleispilos compactus Split Rock Succulent
Pleiospilos compactus, otherwise known as living rock cactus, can grow two to three inches tall with a four-inch diameter.
This split rock succulent has ovate leaves, unlike its peers.
Split rock succulents, or this variation, have yellow-orange flowers which look enormous compared to the plant’s size.
Split Rock Succulent Care
Split rock succulents have a notable appearance, but their care isn’t so different from other succulents.
There are a few key things to consider to successfully keep your Split rock succulent plant alive.
If you want to do the bare minimum, only water them if you see their leaves wrinkling. However, if you want to give it your best, follow this handy dandy guide, and you’re good to go.
Split Rock Plant Watering
When it comes to watering a split rock succulent, remember, less is more. You are better off forgetting you own one than over-watering it.
Overwatering is the chief concern for split rock succulents. It’s the one mistake you can’t afford to make.
When you buy your Split rock succulent plant, it usually only has two leaves. As time passes, it grows a new leaf pair.
The outer leaves are supposed to completely dry and fall off. If you water the split rock succulent too often, its outer leaves will not start drying.
They will not fall off if they aren’t allowed to completely dry. The next new leaf pair grows while the outer leaves remain. This way, the plant grows six leaves. These leaves are full of water.
There is only so much water the plant can bear. If the old leaves remain while the new leaf pair grows, it will eventually lead to rot.
Once the leaves begin to rot, there’s no saving the plant. You can avoid this by watering it the right amount.
Watering a Split rock During the Growing Season
You water it more often during its growing season, from the early spring to early fall. Employ the “soak and dry” method.
Soak the well-drained soil or split rock succulent planting soil thoroughly with water.
Continue watering until you see it trickle out of the drainage holes. That ensures that all the soil has been adequately moistened.
Don’t be afraid to generously water it. If you use proper drainage techniques, root rot will not develop.
Well-draining soil should efficiently let the access water leave through the pot’s drainage holes quickly. Once you’re done watering your split rock succulents, forget about them.
Do not acknowledge them at all except to show them off to friends.
Do not water again until you feel the soil has completely dried. Drying them too often will cause them root rot.
Watering a split rock During its Dormant Season
Split rock Succulents, like Pleiospilos nelii, do not need much watering during the dormant season. Regular water was necessary while the split rock grew a new leaf pair.
The plant is drought tolerant, which means it can survive long periods without water.
You are best watering it only after periods of several weeks. The split rock will use up the water in its outer leaves to sustain itself.
The dormant period lasts from summer through winter and ends in spring.
Split Rock Plant Sunlight Requirements
When taking care of your split rock, aim to imitate its natural habitat as much as possible. Split rock succulents can be grown outdoors and indoors, where they get plenty of sunlight.
The perfect conditions for a Pleiospilos nelii or other split rock to thrive require more than eight hours of indirect bright light.
You would get the best light from a south-facing window.
However, if you live in a place without a south-facing window, you can make do with any window you have.
If the window you have access to doesn’t get any natural light, don’t worry. You can still enjoy caring for plants indoors.
Indoor plant grow lights make it possible for you to grow plants anywhere.
You can invest in such lights and grow plants all year long. You will have more power to control the time your plants get light. That means you can create near-perfect conditions at home.
A jungle could spring from even a tiny windowless apartment with grow lights.
If you are planting your Split rock succulent outside, opt for areas with partial shade to full light. If the temperature is on the lower side, you can place the cleft stone plants in full light.
In contrast, choose partially shady areas if the temperature is scorching, like in Arizona.
Split Rock Fertilizer Requirements
Do you need to fertilize your Pleiospilos nelii or split rock? Yes, you do. While the plant could survive without it, If you want the fullest leaves or the prettiest flowers, you should.
Split rock succulents don’t need much organic material in their planting mix. You can make up for any lack of nutrients by adding liquid fertilizer while watering it.
Be advised the liquid fertilizer should not be higher than half strength. Dilute the liquid fertilizer to a great extent, so you do not burn the leaves.
However, you may find special liquid fertilizers, like the Espoma organic cactus succulent plant food, for cacti. You can follow the instructions on how much to dilute them.
You can only fertilize split rock succulents during their growing season. Once the new leaves have fully grown, discontinue any fertilizer use until the next season.
Meanwhile, you can focus more on fertilizing your winter cacti.
Relying on fertilizer allows you to use less than 10% organic matter in the Split rock potting mix. That means less water retention and fewer chances of root rot.
Split Rock Temperature Requirements
Split rocks are native to temperate habitats. They are more tolerant to wide ranges of temperatures, unlike most tropical cacti.
They will not bear a temperature drop below thirty degrees.
During the winters, you will excel as an indoor plant gardener by keeping your split rocks and tropical plants safe from cold temperatures.
There are many strategies to do that.
Split rock temperature care for outdoor garden
If you have planted your Pleiospilos nelii split rocks outside, you must move them indoors if you experience freezing temperatures. Before the temperatures drop, you should transfer your plants into pots.
You can place them outside again during the active season in the spring. You may find it more convenient to keep them in containers, even when back outside.
That way, you will not have to keep shifting them to and from a pot.
If you only experience moderate cold weather, you may get away with covering them with plastic. The plastic will create a makeshift greenhouse environment.
However, if you live somewhere where summer never ends, like California, you don’t need to bother about temperatures.
If you see the leaves of your Pleiospilos nelii split rock succulents starting to crisp up at the edges, They may be losing too much water.
As surprising as that sounds, it’s possible at really high temperatures. So always observe your plants as the seasons change.
You can move them somewhere where the sunlight is less intense or give them a little more water. Be careful not to overwater them.
Split Rock Temperature care for indoor gardening
While indoors, we have much more control over factors like temperature and humidity. While indoors, you only need to ensure that the temperatures do not drop below thirty degrees.
If you like to keep your home chillier, you can place a glass dome over the plant to maintain a higher temperature under it.
Split Rock Humidity Requirements
Pleiospilos nelii Split rock succulent growing does not require too much humidity. The plant naturally grows in semi-arid areas. You can get away with doing nothing special at all.
However, if you want to provide it with an ideal environment, ensure the humidity is between 40% and 50%.
If the humidity is too high, such as closer to 60%, the leaves would be more likely to rot during the active growth season while getting regular watering sessions.
Split Rock Succulent Growing Soil Requirements
Like other succulents, split rocks such as the mimicry plant, or succulent Pleiospilos nelii grow best in sandy soil.
Since a leaf set looks like a cleft stone, it isn’t surprising you’d add stones to the planting mix.
These tiny plants desperately need a well-draining soil mix to thrive. This plant absolutely detests damp soil.
It will forgive you if you don’t water it for weeks but succumb to rot quickly if the potting mix retains too much water.
Good drainage means ensuring there is the right amount of water and air around the roots of a plant.
If the plant roots are too saturated with water, they will not get enough air and begin to rot.
Similarly, the plant’s leaves begin to wilt if there isn’t enough water. Unless you forget to water your split rock plant for months, that won’t happen.
You only have to water a Pleiospilos nelii three or four times a year.
When you water a container plant, you must ensure that all the soil gets wet. If not, then only the top will get wet, and the remainder will remain dry. The roots at the bottom of the pot will not get any water and will start dying.
While that is the same for most other succulents, this plant requires even more care so that it is not overwatered. If water is retained in the cactus mix for too long, it will not allow the older leaves to fall.
That eventually leads to it remaining while the new pair of center leaves grow. Then the plant will rot shortly.
That is why we water generously until it trickles out of the drainage holes. This is when proper draining soil comes in handy.
To avoid rot or leaf retention, the soil must lose all excess water as soon as possible. That means the Pleiospilos nelii soil or mineral mix should not contain more than 10% organic material.
The rest of the cactus mix should be drainage material like rocks, perlite, sand, or sphagnum peat moss. The plant will grow well in a rocky soil mix.
It also looks aesthetically pleasing to see stone mimicry succulents on top of rocky soil. You can buy pretty colored rocks for the top.
If you aren’t confident enough to mix your own soil mix, you can buy it online or at the gardening store.
Products like black gold cactus mix can be used straight out of the bag.
However, you could alter them by mixing different soil amendments at your discretion. Add more pebbles or vermiculite if need be.
How Pot Size Influences drainage
Another thing you must be mindful of is the size of the pot you choose. If your pot is too big, even if you use well-draining soil, the plant will not use up all the water in time.
If you want to find the best pot for Split rock succulent growing, ensure it’s long. Since the Pleiospilos nelii plant has a long tap root, it needs ample space to grow down.
The soil’s drainage will be compromised if the pot is too wide. So a tall pot with a small diameter is the best choice.
Growing Stone Mimicry Succulents From Seeds
Watching your seeds germinate into a new plant is exciting. You can grow split rock plants by sowing the seeds in the summer.
Keep your pot in a warm place. To ensure your seeds grow, soak them in water for twenty-four hours before planting them in the soil.
That will help them get adequately hydrated.
In a few weeks, you will start seeing two small leaves begin to grow slowly. You will see two fleshy leaves by the end of the active-growth season.
during the dormant season, water the plant only when you see the lease are beginning to shrivel. The plant’s second set of leaves will begin growing in the early spring.
You can collect split rock seeds from the seed pod of your existing mother plant. However, you can also buy them online. The seed pod forms after the flower petals fall off.
Propagating Stone Mimicry Plants
You can propagate several plants from the same mother plant. As with other plants, you will need a sharp knife and a pot for the new plant.
Before the new growing period begins the next spring, you can remove the old leaves to propagate into new plants.
To do so, take a sharp knife and remove one or both of its old leaves. Place it in a dry place for a couple of days until it develops a callous or scab.
We do that to ensure the leaf does not rot.
If we place it in the new pot right away, it could rot. The new split rock grows along the new set of leaves in the mother plant.
If you over-watered your Pleiospilos nelii split rock during the winter, then you are about to face the new growing period with an extra pair of leaves.
Usually, that means certain doom for your plant since it will rot as the new leaves grow.
However, you can save the plant by removing the extra leaves and using them to propagate more split rocks.
If you have a popular cultivar like a royal flush, you could sell the new plants too.
Split Rock Flowering
Split rock flowers are daisy-like and yellow. The split rock plant is perennial, meaning they have a yearly blooming cycle.
The flower bud starts growing after the brand-new pair of leaves has fully grown.
Like most succulents, the flowers are much bigger than the rest of the plant. Once the flower bud mature, they bloom.
The flowers open during the day and close at night.
Get this plant if you want to enjoy a subtle coconut smell in your home in late August or early September. The Pleiospilos nelii bright yellow-orange daisy is bound to make everyone who sees it smile.
Some rare cultivars also have bright pink flowers.
The liver plant, existing only in exclusive private collections, has pale pink leaves.
To Wrap It Up
Rock plants are fascinating, unique, impressive, and sometimes elusive. They are the best beginner-friendly plants for your collection. With minimal watering and bright indirect light, you can grow your own.
They have beautiful flowers too!