You may think they're pebbles, but they're actually plants.

By Rachel Wermager
Updated October 02, 2019

We can always count on Trader Joe’s to stock fun houseplants. When their colorful sugar skull planters filled with various succulents hit stores this fall, for example, we couldn't resist dropping a few into our cart. And now TJ's is selling a super cool plant called living stones, which looks a lot like the name suggests. At first glance, you might not think they're a plant at all—but in fact, living stones are a type of succulent.

Scientifically known as Lithops, these cute little succulents have a pair or round, fleshy leaves that typically come in shades of brown, gray, and green with unique patterning. Their resemblance to small stones is actually about survival—it helps camouflage them from grazing animals in the rocky South African terrain they're native to. Their unusual appearance also makes living stones an interesting addition to your succulent collection, but they can be a little tricky to care for.

Lithops require bright light to grow and lots of it. Place them in a spot in your home where they can get direct sunlight for at least four or five hours a day, such as a south-facing window. These oddball plants don't need much water, but timing is key since they do most of their growing in fall, winter, and spring, then go dormant in summer.

While the plants take their summer siesta, don't water unless they look a little shriveled, and then only give them just enough to perk them back up again. Around mid-August, drench the pot with water to jump start their active growth again. When living stones reach 3 to 5 years old, they may produce one small white or yellow blossom in the fall. Once it has flowered, cut back on water as the leaves shrivel and dry up. Between them, you'll see a new set of leaves starting to grow. Don't water at all in the winter but leave the withering leaves in place to provide water for the new leaves. By spring, you can remove the completely dried out leaves and begin watering again. 

What all this boils down to is a houseplant that you don't have to water for months at a time. And Trader Joe's is selling them for a mere $4.99, so it's well worth giving these amazing succulents a shot. 

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