Learn Everything About The Split Rock Plant ‘Pleiospilos Nelii’

Split Rock Succulent Pleiospilos Nelii

When you thought the succulent source was drying out, another entrant comes forward to prove you wrong. But maybe you hadn’t thought you’d heard of all the available succulents; they’re too many.

The sheer number makes it impossible to know what to expect next. With all the shapes, sizes, and colors, there is always an element of surprise for succulents.

Take the split rock succulent (Pleiospilos nelii), for instance. Tiny by all standards, yet its unique look ensures it stands out (well, if there are no pebbles around). But even with the pebbles, these succulents’ bare showy blooms larger than their size just can’t be ignored.

No wonder they’re now priced ornamental pieces in homes.

As a succulent lover, it’s only natural that you know such earth beauties. We’ve made it our responsibility to inform you of all concerning them.

Today, it’s the split rock’s turn to get known – we bet you there’s a ton. Just keep scrolling to find out.

Split Rock Succulent Pleiospilos Nelii
The split rock succulent in a green planter @so0tie

Split Rock – Scientific Classification and Description

Split rock goes by the botanical name Pleiospilos nelii and is a native of South Africa. Its natural habitat is dry for a more significant part – arid and semi-arid areas. Besides the split rock’s common name, others that refer to it include mimicry plant and cleft stone.

The plant itself is devoid of a stem. Instead, it has between 2 to 4 opposite leaves and attains an approximate height of 3.2.

The leaves have a hemispherical shape and can grow to a diameter of 4 in maximum. They are green-grey and separated by a crack, hence the names cleft stone and split rock. A new pair of leaves forms annually.

Flowers emerge during winter from the cleft and usually turn out to be larger than the plant. The blooms are showy and come out in various colors, including orange, white, yellow, and magenta. Expect to see them in winter.

Make sure you go check out “8 Most Popular Succulents from Africa” to see what other unique succulents come from this region.

Pleiospilos Nelii Care – How To Grow a Thriving Split Rock Succulent

You want a good-looking succulent plant. That’s for sure. Here’s what you’ll need to be keen on.

1. Climatic conditions

The split rock can be grown as an outdoor jewel in warmer regions. That’s typically USDA zones 9 to 11. Don’t worry if your area falls out of this range.

You can always grow it in a container to bring it inside as temperatures start going down. The cold tends to take a toll on its general health.

2. Soil requirements 

Since it’s a succulent plant, well-draining soil is the rule. It’s used to growing in largely dry soils in its natural home, so giving it something close will work out favorably.

And be sure to use soil that is poorly constituted in terms of organic matter. Again, this is something the plant has adapted to growing in the wild over the years.

Adding sand and pebbles will sort out these two conditions perfectly.

Make sure to use a pot at least 5 inches deep, as the mimicry plant will need to flex that taproot a bit.

Learn to make your succulent soil in “How to Make Your Succulent Soil at Home“. Try it out!

3. Ideal light exposure

Split rock plants value those rays. Want smiling plants? Let them enjoy the full sun. But in case this is impossible, partial shade is still acceptable.

This plant must be exposed to maximum light to thrive in areas that necessitate indoor growth. Ideally, a spot near a south-facing window will be sure to meet this condition.

Make sure also to check out “Are Grow Lights Bad for My Succulents” to see if growing your succulents indoors with grow lights could be bad for your little guys.

4. Watering frequency

Again, when you go in with the watering, you can remember the split rock’s natural habitat – the driest parts. So that means the water should be just a little to push it by.

The seasons will determine just how this little guy should be.

Naturally, the growing seasons for this plant are spring and summer. During these seasons, pause between waterings to allow the soil to dry out completely.

Come winter. Water needs would have reduced significantly, which means you must cut back on the amount you give. Once every few weeks is enough.

Excess water will cause the leaves to split or, worse, the whole plant to rot.

That said, you can play around with watering patterns to increase the likelihood of your plant blooming. At the onset of summer and later on, when autumn is wrapping up, you can increase the watering to every once per week. You should keep at this until the night temperatures in autumn begin to come down.

Be sure also to check out “How to Care for Succulents in the Winter” to see options for taking care of your succulent plant during the colder season.

5. Fertilization

You can fertilize your mimicry plant in late fall, albeit lightly. While at it, check that your fertilizer does not have a high nitrogen amount. This will induce rapid growth, yes. But the resultant plant will be a soft target for disease.


Split Rock Succulent Pleiospilos Nelii
A young split rock succulent flowering @queeeniie

Propagation of Pleiospilos nelii

You have two options as far as getting a new baby, Pleiospilos nelii is concerned; via seeds and by division.

1. Seeds

You can go with this if you’re willing to wait for some time (longer than the second method below).

Soak your seeds for a full day (24 hours) and sow them in the sand. Remember to keep it light – not too much sand. Also, keep the sand just damp throughout the entire period of germination.

All of these should be done during the summer.

2. Division

You should choose this over seeds. It’s faster and a bit easier.

All you have to do is cut off a leaf from the parent plant in spring just before your split rock has brought out any new growths. And the rules as far as cutting tools are concerned still hold – they should be sharp and sterilized.

Allow the cut part to be callous before placing the leaf in a well-draining mix to root.

Need more guidance on propagating? Check out our piece “How to Propagate Your Succulents Successfully“.

Try these shears out for all your propagating needs!

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06/25/2022 12:05 am GMT

Pest and Problems Of The Split Rock Plants

The good news, this tiny cutie is resistant to pest and disease attacks. So you don’t have to worry about that front.

But like any other succulent plant, rot is still a big issue. And that’s due to overwatering. So keep an eye out on how you do it if you want to grow a glowing plant (who doesn’t?).

Try our guide to “Overwatered Succulent Remedies” for tips on salvaging your succulents if overwatered.

Also, watch your fertilization and the different seasons of the year. As mentioned above, high-nitrogen feed in late fall will sure produce rapid growth but then at the cost of disease resistance (and the whole plant eventually).

Don’t also forget to read “What is Root Rot & How Do You Fix It?” to see how root rot damages your succulent plant and how to fix it.

Split Rock Succulent Pleiospilos Nelii
Split rock growing in a bowl @caluclamom

Final Words

Thank you for reading with us today! Enjoyed learning about the split rock succulent? If so, you’ll enjoy our ebook about “The Most Common Issues Amongst Succulent Growers“. With this ebook, you’ll find more detailed answers to help your succulents grow even better! With thousands of succulent lovers enjoying our ebooks, you don’t want to miss out on what works the best to grow your succulents.

Check out related articles from other rare succulents to add to your shopping list, like “Blooming Beauty: Moon Cactus (Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii)” or “Cutest Succulents: Living Stones (Lithops)“.

Happy Planting!

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Posted in Succulents