Succulent Pests & Diseases that haunt the gardeners!

Introduction to succulent pests & diseases

Gardening lovers are getting attracted to succulents these days. And the reason behind it is the effortlessness to have these plants in your garden. But, without proper care, you can end up with succulent pests & diseases like regular plants. However, they can survive challenging situations with pretty much ease in comparison to regular plants.

Succulents are more tolerant of sunlight, humidity, and other problems, making them perfect garden inhabitants. Moreover, they are available in different varieties. Some are leafy, some have spines, and some bloom with multi-colored flowers. Everyone can get something of their liking with them. 

It is obvious for beginners to panic when they see any foreign object on their succulents. Or when they feel that their succulent is behaving abnormally. It is pretty understandable, as they do not have any info about their lovelies; seeing their efforts go in vain is a baffling and sad situation. 

Commonly found succulent pests & diseases

We found this topic important enough and decided to have an informative article on it. Beginners in succulent gardening will find it quite beneficial. Here they will get to know the common pests and diseases that adversely affect the succulents. They will also get familiar with the necessary steps that they should take to avoid and stop their growth and save their succulent from their scare. We will list the insects and diseases that trouble the succulents most. As mostly they are the surprise and scare bringers for succulent lovers. And having the necessary information about them will help them to avoid and recover from them quickly.

Mealybugs on Succulents:

Probably they are the most deadly bugs, famous for harming the growth of succulents. In fact, they deform the succulents to an unimaginable state as they are feeding on them.

Signs of mealybugs on succulents.

They are tiny, cottony, white substances that attack the soft tissue succulents primarily. And are pretty commonly found pests in succulent pests & diseases, and their spread is relatively fast and vast. 

Their spread starts from leaves at the bottom of the plants where the sunlight is minimal, as they do not like sun rays. If not controlled in the early stage, they spread to the other parts of the plant.

How to get rid of mealybugs on succulents

They are hard to get rid of and come back again to haunt the succulents after some time. So, periodic checks are necessary. Mealybugs leave a sweet water trail behind that attracts ants. So, one should be alert if many ants are crawling upon their succulents. Also, if your plants seem unhealthy, despite the fact they have the right watering and nutrition schedule, there is a reason to be watchful.

What causes mealybugs on succulents

Keep your succulent surroundings clean and dry, and remove the fallen and rotten leaves soon, as they are the invitation for the mealybugs. 

Spider Mites on Succulents

Signs of spider mites on succulents.

Mites are incredibly tiny, sometimes so small that you will need a magnifying glass to see them. They are pretty commonly found in succulent pests & diseases. Famous for its spiderweb-like structure, which is quite similar to the actual spiderweb and might confuse at first sight. But, along with the web, if you can see brown spots on a plant with new ones also turning brown, you can be sure this is a red spider mite infestation. 

Can succulents get spider mites?

Mites feed on the outer layer and may spread to the whole plant, and they might eat up all the parts. They reproduce in dry conditions, and gardens that fall in arid regions are more susceptible to red mite attack.

How to get rid of spider mites on succulents

You can spray your plants with water and keep them away from sunlight to control their spread.

Aphids on succulents:

Aphids are of different types, of which green and black aphids are harmful to them. They can be seen with the naked eye and easily identified. As they start moving around quickly when they are disturbed. Also, they like to thrive in a cluster on nodes or underside of the leaves. As sunlight dehydrates them, they go for shade as soon as they feel the sunlight.

They feed on plant sap and mostly affect the new branches and tips of the succulents. Also, they like over-humid and over-fertilized conditions for population increase. So, giving succulents the daily dose of sunlight is a pretty good method to get rid of them. To control their spread, you must act as soon as you see a single cluster of aphids on your succulent. 

Brown spots on succulents:

Feeding on plant sap, they also release sweet dew trail behind them that attracts ants. However, they are not a quick mover like mealy bugs. They are flat and round brown spots on the stem and leaf of succulents. And, they hide inside a protective covering and can transmit viruses and diseases to other plants too.

When we scrape these spots to pull them off the plant, they leave a fish scale texture, which gives them the name scale insects. They are pretty hard to find due to their spotty texture. And, reproduce very fast and can spread to new growth of the succulents within a few days.

Are Snails Bad for Succulents?

They like to hide under the containers or the fleshy parts and feed on the new growth as it is soft to ingest. When in large numbers, they are very harmful, as together they can destroy the whole structure of the plant within some time. However, they are easy to detect, as they leave a dew trail behind them which dries out and shines in daylight.

They like warm and humid climates and can attack your succulents repeatedly. And, are pretty commonly found succulent pests & diseases. The best move to get rid of them is to pick them from the succulent manually and other hiding spots. However, for large numbers, snail bait is used.

Fungus Gnats on Succulents:

They are tiny mosquitoes like dark black to brown insects with small wings. One can often see them sitting on top of the potting soil or lower parts of the succulent. Gnats feed on decaying organic matter like fallen leaves, flowers, plant roots, etc. However, they can’t fly far; this is also why they prefer to stick near the soil base. 

Although their infestation is not too harmful to succulents, they are commonly found insects and hound them repeatedly. Their infestation increases with over-watering and over-fertilization. And, a simple way to reduce their scare is to control watering and fertilization. It makes living conditions less easy for them.

Ants on Succulents:

Mostly considered harmless for the succulents, they attack the plant in search of food and are commonly found succulent pests & diseases. Like sweet honeydew left by bugs, or some organic material, some ants also like the bugs for their home building. Gardeners don’t like too much spread on succulents, as some of the varieties may be a leaf-cutter or root-cutter. 

Black Mold on Succulents:

The presence of mealy bugs, aphids, whiteflies, and scale gives way to fungal infections as these bugs leave a sweet substance that this sooty mold feeds upon.

However, it is not directly harmful to the succulents, but it may hinder the photosynthesis process, hurting their food cycle if it spreads a lot. The best way to avoid their spread is to keep a check on insect infestation. 

Grey mold on Succulents

Grey mold is also a fungal infection, which is quite a commonly found succulent pests & disease. It spreads mostly in cold and wet weather like early spring. They form grayish-brown spores on the surface of leaves and flowers of succulents.

They spread quite quickly and always look for old, damaged, and dying tissue. You may have to cut off the affected area if the spread is vast, and it is better to use fungicides in the early stage. 

Rot in Succulents.

The reason behind it is quite primary, over-watering, which is the first thing that is disliked by succulents. But, excess humidity can also be caused by a fungal infection, giving way to the rotting of stems and leaves. It mostly starts from the bottom side as moisture is more there, and by the time it comes to the sight, most of the damage happens.

Rotten parts turn slimy and start giving a foul odor, with terrible plant tissues changing their color to red, brown, or black. Limited watering and controlled humid conditions are the best preventive measure for this problem. You should avoid planting the succulent body too close to the soil, as it will catch moisture then.

Bottom Line

The above details must be quite helpful for beginners of succulents gardening & to identify common succulent pests & diseases. And as you will apply this information to your gardening methods, you will develop more effective ways of your own, which we also would like to know; waiting for your suggestions and feedback!