Pleiospilos Nelii – Split Rock Succulent How To Care For It

The Pleiospilos Nelli, or split rock succulent, is a tiny succulent that almost everyone that see’s it adores. But people who wish to find answers to their questions on the best tips and tricks to grow their little friend are having a tough time looking for anything useful online!

So, we have written an article covering the top growing tips and put it into a nice, detailed list below that will help you grow your Split Rock Succulent like a pro!


What Are Split Rock Succulents – Pleiospilos Nelii?

Pleiospilos Nelii , or “Split Rock Succulents”, is a species of flowering plant of the Aizoaceae family that is native to South Africa.

The plants are short stemmed with thick leaves that resemble cracked rocks which help to protect against herbivores, seasonally sporting daisy-like yellow and orange flowers that grow upward from the center of the plant.

What Is The Common Name Of The Pleiospilos Nelii?

The common name of Pleiospilos Nelii is the “Split Rock” or “Splitrock” succulents. Its common name refers to the plant’s resemblance of a cracked or rock that has been split in half or into several pieces.

History of Split Rock Succulent

The Pleiospilos Nelii was discovered by the South African botanist Gert Cornelius Nel and the plant was named for in honor of his discovered. The Split Rock Succulents have been given the Award of Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society, The United Kingdom’s leading gardening charity.

How To Take Care Of A Split Rock Succulent?

Although each plant is unique, the species in all have the same basic needs and requirements for care.

The succulents do not like a soil with lots of organic material. Provide your plant with well-drained soil, sandy if possible with only 10% organic compost blended in, and only fertilize it with a fish dilution during the Spring and summer growing periods.

This succulent doesn’t need too much water and is suggested to tend to it only when the soil feels dry to the touch. During the winter, avoid watering it too much. Your split rock will be dormant during the cold months, and you must avoid watering it too often to prevent the risk of over watering, causing it to burst or rot.

Yes, split rocks have been known to burst open if they attempt to uptake too much water during a particular rainy season.

While this may sound like a flaw in the plant’s survival mechanism, it’s actually a blessing in disguise.

When they recognize an abundance of water, they over saturate and split into pieces. Then each piece becomes its own new plant. In this way the plant takes advantage of the boon is moisture and propagates in an interesting and unique way.

These succulents prefer full to partial sun, so indirect light is heavily suggested. If grown indoors, place your plant in a bright area and if grown outside, put it under some bright shade.

The Split Rock Succulent is not cold hardy and does not do well in excessively hot temperatures. It can only handle temperatures above 30° F (-1.1° C) and dies if frozen. It is suggested to grow these plants in 50-80° F.

It’s this reason that you see them grown so often as indoor plants so that their temperatures never exceed their maximum boundaries.


How Often Should I Water My Split Rock Succulent?

You should water your succulent only when the soil feels dry. To prevent the succulent from bursts or rotting, water your plant super sparingly during the winter when it is dormant.

What Is The Best Soil For A Pleiospilos Nelii?

The best soil for a split rock succulent is a well-drained soil, it is highly suggested to use a sandy type of soil like perlite, in a pot that has great drainage to prevent over watering.

What Is The Best Fertilizer For A Split Rock Succulent?

Regular fertilizer without too much organic material is suggested to be used only during the growing periods of Spring and Fall. By fertilizing it during those prime growing times, your succulent will grow vigorously and healthfully.

How Much Sunlight Should My Split Rock Succulent Get?

You should give your succulent indirect light to prevent scorching. If indoors, place the plant in a bright area without direct sunlight and if grown outdoors, put the plant in some bright shade.           


What Are The Best Temperatures For A Pleiospilos Nelii?

The best suggested temperatures for a split rock succulent are between 50 and 80° F and keep the temperatures above 30° F, this plant is not cold hardy and will freeze below 30° F which has been known to cause death in this plant.

What Are The Growing Periods For Split Rock Succulents?

Split rock succulents actively grow during the spring and summer. During those seasons giving them fertilizers and taking care of them more will help them grow better and stay healthy.

The rest of the year they need very little care or maintenance. Just test the soil and when it’s super bone dry, water it, if it’s even a little moist, don’t.

How Tall Does A Split Rock Succulent Grow?

Split Rock Succulents tend to grow up to 2 to 5 inches (5 – 13 cm) tall and 3 to 4 inches (10 cm) wide. Depending on what type and how well you take care of the succulent, the growth size may vary.

There are also size variances between the different sub-species just as there are in cacti or even roses for that matter.

How To Propagate A Split Rock Succulent?

You can propagate Split Rock Succulents from the leaves. Use a sterilized knife, scissors, or whatever tool you choose to use to cut, and carefully cut your desired leaf from where it connects to the stem or base of the main plant.

Let the freshly cut leaf callous or dry and develop a soft protective outer tissue, over a day or two. When your leaf has calloused over, plant your leaf into a pot of well-draining sandy soil. You can water it normally as you would with the main plant and you can expect roots to form in about 4 weeks, sometimes longer.

Are Pleiospilos Nelii Toxic To Pets And Humans?

Split Rock Succulents are not poisonous! If you or your pet consumes the plant, it’s not guaranteed that they will not experience any bad side effects, they may vomit or get diarrhea from the fiber, but, they won’t have been poisoned.

Are Split Rock Succulents Edible?

While the Split Rock succulent is edible and non-toxic to humans, it’s still not advised to eat it. The flavor has been described as ultra-bitter.


Are Split Rock Succulents Seasonal?

Yes, they most commonly bloom in the spring and it’s uncommon for them to bloom in the late summer or fall. The split rock succulent blooms a daisy-like yellow orange flower and grows it upward from the center of the plant.

Why Does My Split Rock Succulent Have Black Spots?

If your Split Rock Succulent develops black spots, it’s because of sun damage. It means that your plant is getting too much direct light, it is also possible that the plant could develop black spots if you have experienced heatwaves or intense heat recently.

To avoid these, keep your plant in a place where it doesn’t get direct sunlight such as bright shade and if you get a heatwave move it inside where it’s cooler.

How To Save A Rotting Pleiospilos Nelii?

If your Split Rock succulent is rotting, there is a chance to save it!

First, gently pull and remove the outer bottom leaves that are rotten. If you still have leaves that have some rotten bits, you can use a sterilized cutting tool like a knife or scissors and carve out those rotten pieces.

While you are removing all the rotten parts from the succulent, sanitize your cutting tool between cuts to help prevent bacteria from spreading.

Rinse the plant and pat it dry with a towel and leave the plant out undisturbed for a week and then repot it in a fresh clean pot with new well-drained sandy soil. You must not water your plant for a week after it has been transported to a new pot!

If you plant looks like there is no chance to save it, look for a leaf that is not rotten and propagate it. Cut the leaf out with a sterilized cutting tool from the stem, let it callouses over the next two days and then plant it in well-drained sandy soil.

Why Is My Split Rock Succulent Squishy?

If your Split Rock Succulent feels squishy or soft, it’s not getting enough water. Give your succulent water every so often when the soil feels dry.

However, you may experience that your succulent’s leaves feel soft in the winter, do not water your succulent as often as you would in other seasons even if you experience this, it’s just part of its dormant season.

Why Is My Split Rock Succulent Rotting?

The reason why your Split Rock Succulent is rotting is because of over watering. Split Rock Succulents love indirect sunlight and very little water, giving your plant water every so often only after the soil feels completely dry is very important for its long-term health.

Pour the water around the plant in the soil and DO NOT water directly on top of the leaves, the water will be caught there and can increase risk of rotting leaves and the plant will have a smaller chance of recovery.

Why Is My Split Rock Succulent Shriveling?

If you notice that your Split Rock succulent looks shriveled and not smooth, it is probably not getting enough light, or you need to adjust its lighting. These succulents don’t like direct light, putting them in indirect light, such as bright shade, is good for their growth.

If you notice that your plant is still shriveling if it is indirect light, you might have to adjust the light or move it to another location with indirect light, there might be a chance that light is bouncing off somewhere and is beaming against your succulent.

What Are Common Split Rock Succulent Pests?

The most common Split Rock Succulent pests are aphids and scales.

If you notice misshapen, curling, or yellowing leaves and possibly a sticky substance on the leaves, it means that your succulent suffers from aphids (look under the leaves, they like to hide there).

To remove aphids, you can either spray ice cold water on the leaves, neem oil, insecticidal soaps, or horticultural oils. If you have a large aphid infestation, use flour to dust the leaves.

If you see clusters of tiny, shelled bumps on your leaves, you most likely have a scale infestation. To get rid of scales, use horticultural spray. The oils will clog the insect’s breathing pores once sprayed with it and the hoard will eventually go away.


Why Does My Pleiospilos Nelii Have Brown Spots?

If you look closely, you will notice tiny green or brown spots on your Split Rock Succulent. Do not worry! Your succulent is not dying!

Unlike most succulents, these small spots on your plant are used for photosynthesis and attract sunlight. They serve as “little windows” for your succulent and help the plant get the right amount of sun to grow.

However, if your Split Rock has large black spots instead of brown ones, then your succulent is suffering from sun damage. If so, place your plant in an area that gets enough in-direct sun, but not direct sunlight.

Is A Split Rock Succulent Considered A Lithop?

Although the two are very similar, the Split Rock succulent is not a Lithop. The two succulents do share the same look of leaves resembling rocks to protect themselves against herbivores, but the Split Rock is larger and cannot be grown under grown, unlike Lithops.

The Split Rock blooms in the spring and doesn’t flower in the fall like the Lithop, however, they can produce more flowers than the Lithop, which can produce only one.