With brilliant red colour, Lithops optica ‘Rubra’ and the hybrids it provides is one of the rarer of mesembs.
Found naturally in dry areas of western South Africa this is the red form of Lithops optica which is green to grey in colour. Like all Lithops they are slow growing however very long lived given proper care.
This is a species that has been hybridised to produce a number of named cultivars including the sought after Sato’s violet.
You will see the green form listed as Lithops optica C286 and the red form as C287 C81a all found in Namibia.
The part of the foliage that appears above the ground is windowed, shades of pink to red and purple often with patterns near the margins.
Major care factor are growing medium, light and watering and these will differ depending on climate and growing conditions.
- Growing Medium
In all zones the growing medium or soil need to be open and free draining.
Lithops optica ‘rubra’ requires good light and sun to grow well. The amount will depend on your climate. In areas with very hot summers exposure to the heat of the afternoon sun should be avoided to prevent burning of the leaves.
This is a summer dormant plant and it will require very little water over summer. It is in active growth during the cooler months and this is when it appreciates more water and also more warmth in colder climates.
If you can maintain a daytime temperature between 16C and 26C you will usually be in the right range for good growth.
It is important to maintain good air flow to keep humidity low, protection from cold winds and frosts is also required.
- Botanical Name – Lithops optica ‘Rubra’
- Common Name – Vygies.
- Family – Mesembryanthemaceae (mesembs)
- Origins – South Western Cape area.
- Height – To around 3-5cm.
- Spread – Clump forming over time
- Growth rate – Medium to Slow
- Position – Light shade. good filtered light, morning sun, sun through winter.
- Soil – Well drained
- Flowers – White.
- Flowering Time – Winter
- Foliage – Red with patterns.
- Frost tolerant – No
- Drought tolerant – Yes