Cleft Stone, Mimicry Plant

Pleiospilos Nelii "Split Rock"

Pleiospilos Nelii "Split Rock" is a beautiful egg-shaped, stemless dwarf succulent plant, which grows up to 5 inches (13 cm) tall and 4 inches (10 cm) wide. It has two to four opposite to each other, spherical in shape and gray-green to brown in color leaves and patterned with black spots, with a deep fissure in the center. New pair of leaves are produced each year and grow at right angles to the split.

Its name comes from two Greek words 'pleios' means many and 'spilos' means spot. It has daisy-like flowers yellow to orange in color, up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) in size, from early spring to mid-summer, and smell like coconut. The flowers bloom in the afternoon and close at sunset.

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Details about Pleiospilos Nelii "Split Rock" "Cleft Stone, Mimicry Plant"

How to Care for Pleiospilos Nelii "Split Rock"

"Split Rock" succulent is a light-loving plant. So place it where it gets enough sunlight (south-facing window), but protect it from direct sunlight, especially from afternoon sun in very hot months. It is suited for both beginner growers and pros.

It is native to South Africa and grows in arid desert-like regions that get very little rainfall (6 times in a year). That's why protect it from rain.

"Split Rock" is known as a mimicry plant, because it mimics stones, creating camouflage to blend in. It also has specks on its leaves, these "windows" allow sunlight into the body of the plant for photosynthesis.

It actively grows from Spring to Fall. So do care a little extra in these seasons. You should also fertilize if possible, especially if growing in a pot.

Soil Need for Pleiospilos Nelii "Split Rock" Plant

The plant naturally grows in South Africa where the porous soil gives them well drainage. So you'll also need the same type of well drainage soil for it to grow well. It likes no organic materials in soil, so don't mix organic material in the soil when making for split rock, and also make the soil sandy because it grows in desert-like areas.

If you need to make your soil, you can check my in-depth guide on preparing the perfect DIY succulent soil for containers.

You can also get the pre-mixed succulent soil from amazon, OR if you need other choices, you can check out my reviews about the top 10 best soil for succulents with a buying guide.


Pleiospilos Nelii "Split Rock" plant requires a bit of less water than typical succulents watering schedule Some of the successful growers, water split rock only twice a year, once water it in the early spring and again in the early fall when the temperature starts to drop and days get shorter. Water split rock sparingly in winter and very hot weeks of summer. If the old leaves still present at the end of the summer, it is because of too much water. Over-watering can also cause your plant to burst or rot.

Fertilizing Split Rock

In the active growing seasons, i.e. in the Spring and Fall, fertilize it slightly with a succulent fertilizer once a month. But hold off on fertilizing in hotter weeks of summer and winter months.

Known Diseases

Generally, Pleiospilos Nelii "Split Rock" is a "disease-free" succulent. However, if you over-water your succulents, especially if you let water sit on its rosettes, then it will rot and die. Over-watering is the main problem with "Split Rock". So try to never over-water your succulent plant.

Known Bugs

The "Split Rock" plant may get aphids and scales. Use an insecticide to prevent your plant from these bugs.

Aphids are sap-sucking insects. If you see small green color insects in a group in your plant these are aphids, they feed in a large group.

Scales are sap-sucking insects. They are small insects and generally target the undersides of leaves or around leaf joints. They live in warm and dry environments.

Is it Poisonous?

The Pleiospilos Nelii "Split Rock" is a non-poisonous and is considered a safe succulent plant.

Where should you Plant it?

If you live in a colder environment, where temperature can go below 30 °F (-1.1 °C), You should plant it in a pot (better with a drainage hole). Because it is not cold hardy and you'll be able to bring it inside in winter.

It grows well in a brighter area where it gets enough sunlight. But keep it away from direct sunlight in very hot weeks of summer. When you are taking this succulent plant outdoor in warm months, just make sure that it is protected from the rain.

How to Propagate Pleiospilos Nelii "Split Rock"

"Split Rock" can be propagated by seeds and division.

Propagate by Seeds

After a few years, some cool-looking yellow or red flowers may appear. These flowers will produce hundreds of seeds when pollinated. "Split Rock" usually flowers in spring after winters.

Take these seeds, and put it in a container filled with well-draining soil (Preferably Sandy).

If you live in a hot environment, then place the pot outside, where its bed temperature will be warm. Otherwise, set it indoors, with the addition of bottom heat of some kind. Keep the seeds in damp soil not too wet either way in bright indirect light and where the temperature is warm.

"Split Rock" can be easily grown from seeds propagation method.

Propagate by Division

To propagate Pleiospilos Nelii "Split Rock" by leaves division, remove the clumps in the spring before it begins to grow new leaves. Cut a leaf from the main plant using a sharp knife. Allow the removed stem to callous over for some days. Then place it in well-draining soil (Preferably Sandy).

Propagation by leaves division is not recommended for beginners as it is a little bit difficult, so they should stick with the seeds method.

Remember to give water when the soil is completely dry.

Read more about the watering schedule for babies succulents at the last in watering succulents guide.

Where to Buy?

The plant might be available on your local nurseries, and you can easily get it from:

Pairs Well With

  • Lithops

Pleiospilos Nelii Videos

Check out the amazing time-lapse video of "Split Rock" flowering.

Time-lapse video of "Split Rock" flowering

Facts & Features

  • 4" x 5" Size

    This plant grows up to 5" (13 cm) tall and 4" (10 cm) wide.

  • Grows in Spring and Fall

    Need more care during these times.

  • Indoors Lit Area

    Better to keep it near a window where it gets enough sunlight. OR, keep it outdoors.

  • Less Water

    You should water it less often than the typical succulents watering schedule.

  • Non Toxic

    It's safe for humans and pets.

  • Not Cold Hardy

    Protect from very low temperatures.

  • Partially Shady Sunlight

    You can keep it in full sun but protect it during the afternoon.

  • Propagation by division and seeds

  • Zone 10a

    In this zone, the temperature can drop up to 30° F ( -1.1° C )

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