Succulents, like any other plant, also suffer from pests and diseases. If you are wondering how to deal with them, you came to the right place! Here at Eden Succulents, we love to share our knowledge about succulents. In this article, we will discuss succulents’ pests and diseases. Hopefully, we will be able to help you deal with the pests and diseases that can attack your succulents. By being able to equip yourself with the knowledge you will know how to deal with all the pests and diseases that can attack your beloved succulent collection.
Pests and diseases are a natural part of gardening and normally occur when you grow and care for plants like succulents. Some pests and insects can be difficult to deal with, especially if they are small and can hide in places and some may develop resistance when used with insecticides or pesticides.
Some insects can be used to improve the health of the plant while some are invasive and affect your plants and even spread to other plants and may infect the other plants in the garden. Succulents are not usually bothered or affected by common insects but some pests and diseases can be extremely harmful and can be lethal to your beloved succulents.
When growing plants, it is normal to encounter pests and diseases as well as bacterial and fungal diseases that can be caused by over-watering. When you are growing succulents you can encounter pests and diseases that may affect your succulent collection. Check out the list of the pests and diseases that can affect your beloved succulents.
1. Mealybugs – Mealybugs are one of the most common pests that can affect succulents. They are small and they usually measure 1/5 to 1/3 inch in length and have a white, waxy, and cottony appearance. They move slowly and are commonly found in clusters on a plant’s vein or spines and sometimes they are also found on the underside of leaves and hidden in joint areas of the succulent.
There are different mealybugs, the root mealybugs live under the soil and they look like white deposits on the roots. The mealybugs can damage the succulents when they suck the juices from the plants and this can cause them to become weak with shriveled and wrinkled leaves. Sometimes if the infestation is excessive it may result in the death of the affected succulent.
Symptoms – The first symptom of the presence of mealybugs is when the succulent has a sticky residue or black mold found on the different parts of the plant. You may find white cottony substance in the plant. Mealybugs secrete a sugary substance that can promote mold growth and can also cause the affected succulent to become more susceptible to bacterial or fungal infection. If your succulent is affected with mealybugs, make sure to isolate them as it can easily spread from plant to plant.
Treatment – Mealybugs can be difficult to remove and you must follow these instructions so you can remove them completely. You have to use a systemic pesticide to get rid of them completely. Use contact insecticides but it needs to be used in high concentration since the insect has a protective covering.
If you will be using contact insecticides, it can be quite risky because of the plant’s oily texture and this can cause it to burn when exposed in the sunlight, which is also known as phototoxicity.
Mealybugs can also be removed by using a cotton swab dipped in alcohol and applied directly on the bugs and any part of the plant that is covered with the white cottony substance. This method is safe and will not harm your succulent plant. You can also use a spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol and spray it directly on the bugs and the white cottony substance. You can dilute the alcohol with water as well.
You can also get rid of the bugs using dishwashing soap diluted in water. You can mix a few drops of soap with 2 cups of water and shake it to form a soap mixture. Spray the soap mixture on to the bugs and other affected areas. You can also remove the mealybugs with a toothbrush or high-pressure water spray.
2. Spider Mites – Spider mites are very small and often go undetected for a long time since they are only 1/50 inch in length. The most common variety of spider mites is the red spider mites. The spider mites cause damage to succulents by sucking out the plant’s juices.
Symptoms – When the succulent is infested by spider mites they usually become lighter in color and may turn almost white or silvery. One of the first signs that you will notice is that there are webbing and small brown dots present in the affected plant.
Treatment – If you found out that your plant is infested you must immediately quarantine the plant so it will not affect the other plants in the garden. Spider mites can be removed from the plants by using a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.
You can also use dish soap diluted with water and use a spray bottle to apply the soap mixture to the affected plant. If the infestation is worse, repotting the plant must be done. Allow the plant to dry for a few days and repot them in a fresh potting mix that has well-draining soil, you can use this cactus/succulent mix.
Systemic pesticides can be used as a preventive measure. Pesticides can create a phototoxic reaction on the epidermis of the plants, so you have to take out the plants under the direct sunlight after the treatment for at least several weeks.
3. Scale – There are a lot of species of scale insects. The scale insects resemble small cottony shells and they are commonly found attached on the stems and leaves of the affected succulent plant. They can be scraped off using a toothbrush or high-pressure water spray. Scale insects suck on the plant juices of the succulent, causing it to become weak and have shriveled and wrinkled leaves.
Symptoms – When the succulent plant is affected with scale, you will see small brown bumps on the plant. Scale insects will attach to the plant tissue and if removed, it can cause a small scar on the plant. Scale insects can multiply quickly and affect other plants as well. This can give the plant a fuzzy appearance.
Scales usually prefer shade and avoid parts of the plant that are exposed in the sun. If a succulent has dense spination this will provide shade for the scale and they can spread to other parts of the plant that is not exposed to the sun. Scale insects are often found on plants that are new growth such as seedlings.
Treatment – Scale insects must be physically removed from the affected succulent plant. You can use a hose with a spray nozzle; just make sure the water is not strong enough to cause damage to the plant. For cactus plants, make sure to check the cracks and under the spines.
To prevent the repeated outbreaks of the scale, you must treat your plant with a systemic insecticide. The insecticide will be absorbed in the roots and into the plant tissue making the plant poisonous for the scale insect. The systemic insecticide must be applied during the growing stage of the plant and must be applied during the onset of the growing season. Make sure to physically remove the scale and wait for the insecticide to take effect.
Neem oil can also be used for treating scales. If the infestation is extreme, the neem oil may not be enough. You can use 15 ml of neem oil and mixed with 8 cups of water and mix it well. Spray the mixture on infested areas and the lower side of leaves. You can use the neem oil and apply it during the night to prevent the plant from getting exposed to too much sunlight. You can get the neem oil here.
4. Fungus Gnats – Fungus gnats are long black flies that look like mosquitoes. They measure 1/8 to 1/16 inch in length. They are commonly found above the soil surface. Larvae of fungus gnats live in the soil and consume the organic matter and roots of the succulent plant. Seedling succulent plants may have stunted growth or be killed because of the root damage that occurs during an infestation on fungus gnats.
Symptoms – If you water your succulent plants too much, the fungus gnats will become attracted and will start breeding. They prefer soil that is rich in moisture.
Treatment – You must only use well-draining soil and allow the soil to dry out in between watering. You can also use pots or containers like terracotta pots like this so it can drain the excess water accordingly. Use a succulent/cactus soil mix to prevent moist soil, you can get it here. You can also use pumice to help drain water and control excess moisture; you can get the pumice here.
You can also sprinkle cinnamon powder on the top of the soil, cinnamon is known for its natural anti-fungal properties. You can also use sticky insect pads and the fungus gnats will stick on the pads and help lessen the infestation problem.
5. Aphids – Aphids are tiny insects with bodies that look like teardrop shapes. They usually come in a variety of colors; the most common color is green. Aphids love to suck on leaves or flowers and as they feed they also excrete a sugary white substance. This white substance causes black mold growth on the affected succulent.
Symptoms – Aphids are often found in soft tissues of the plant and they suck on the plant’s juices. They are commonly found in the flowers and buds of the succulent plants. They prefer soft and new growth plants such as seedlings. As the aphids suck on the plant’s tissues, they also cause the plant to have stunted growth and misshaped leaves.
Treatment – You can get rid of Aphids by using a high-pressure water spray; make sure to do it several times to ensure that all the aphids are thoroughly removed. The water pressure must not be strong enough so you can avoid damaging the plants during the process.
If the problem persists, you can use a soapy mixture in a spray bottle and apply it to all affected areas of the succulent plant. If the infestation is worse, you can also use a systemic insecticide but you must only use it during the growing season of the plant so the plant tissues can absorb the chemicals.
Pests and Diseases Management
1. Practice proper techniques in taking care of your succulents. A healthy succulent plant can fight off pests and diseases better than an unhealthy plant. You must grow your succulents in the recommended conditions for each species. You must consider proper temperature, sunlight exposure, and water drainage. Keep the pots and containers clean by getting rid of the dead leaves and flowers.
2. Quarantine new plants. If you have newly bought succulents, do not immediately mix them in your current succulent collection. Check the new plants for any presence of pests or diseases, if you find any, make sure to treat the problem as soon as possible.
3. Use insecticide soap but you must use it in caution as it can damage the succulent. Cactus has wax and oils that do not make them susceptible to any damage from the insecticidal soap. Before applying the soap, make sure to read the product’s label instructions if it is safe for plant use. You can also apply a small amount in the small area of the plant before applying the insecticide to the entire succulent plant.
4. Use insecticides like Neem or Pyrethrins. Always check the product’s label to ensure the safety of your plant.
5. Use a systemic insecticide like Acephate or Imidacloprid to control pests that are not accessible with sprays. Before using the product on your succulent, make sure to read the labels and instructions to see if it is safe to use for your plant.
Do you know any other ways to deal with succulents’ pests and diseases? Feel free to send us a message! We would like to hear from you!
Do you have a succulent collection? Do you know how to deal with succulent pests and diseases? If the answer is no, you came to the right place! Here at Eden Succulents, we love growing succulents and our passion for taking care of succulents has given us the drive to share our knowledge with the rest of the world.
If you want to know more about succulents, make sure to visit our website. If you have any questions, inquiries, comments, or suggestions please reach out to us! We will make sure to get back to you as soon as possible!
Huouo 8.8 Inches Wood Planter Succulent Container Box
Josh's Frogs Succulent Soil
- Use for HEALTHY succulents and cactus
- Allows water to drain quickly to PREVENT ROOT ROT
- Allows AIR CIRCULATION around roots
Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix
- High Quality Mix That’s Ideal for Succulents, Cactus, Plumeria, Christmas Cactus, and Epiphylliums.
- Hand-Crafted in Small Batches Everyday to Ensure Quality and Freshness
YXMYH Terra Cotta Pots with Saucer
Pumice Bonsai and Succulent Soil Amendment
- Improve Aeration
- Moisture Control
- Good Drainage
- PH Neutral
- Doesn’t easily break down
Ceylon Cinnamon Powder
- NOTICE: PRODUCT NOT SHIPPED OR
- AVAILABLE FOR NEVADA
6 oz. (net) 100% USDA Certified Organic Ceylon Cinnamon powder with authentic USDA certification number (C832849NOP-01.2019) packed at source in Sri Lanka.