The Most Common Pest Problems for Succulents

The Most Common Pest Problems for Succulents
There are many common pests and diseases that affect succulents. Find out what they are and how to prevent them from harming your plants.

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Pests and diseases affect succulents much like any other plant. You’ve come to the proper site if you’re wondering how to cope with them! We at Eden Succulents like sharing our succulent knowledge. Succulent pests and illnesses will be discussed in this article. We hope to be able to assist you in dealing with the pests and illnesses that can affect your succulents. By arming yourself with knowledge, you will be able to cope with all of the pests and diseases that may assault your prized succulent collection.

Pests and illnesses are a natural aspect of gardening and are common while growing and caring for plants such as succulents. Some pests and insects can be difficult to control, especially if they are little and can hide in places, and some may develop resistance to insecticides or pesticides when used in combination.

Some insects can be employed to boost plant health, while others are invasive and can harm your plants, spread to other plants, and infect other plants in the garden. Common insects rarely bother or influence succulents, but some pests and illnesses can be exceedingly destructive and even death to your prized succulents.

It is typical to meet pests and diseases, as well as bacterial and fungal infections caused by over-watering when cultivating plants. When growing succulents, you may come into pests and illnesses that might harm your succulent collection. Check out this list of pests and illnesses that can harm your favorite succulents.


Mealybugs are among the most prevalent pests that can harm succulent plants. They are little, about 1/5 to 1/3 inch in length, with a white, waxy, and cottony appearance. They travel slowly and are typically seen in bunches on a plant’s veins or spines, but they can also be found on the underside of leaves and concealed in succulent joint areas.

There are various mealybugs; the root mealybugs reside beneath the soil and appear as white deposits on the roots. When mealybugs suck the liquids from the plants, they can cause the succulents to become feeble, with shriveled and wrinkled leaves. In some cases, if the infection is severe enough, the infected succulent will die.


The presence of mealybugs is indicated by the appearance of sticky residue or black mold on various areas of the succulent. The plant may have a white cottony material. Mealybugs emit a sugary material that promotes mold growth and makes the infected succulent more prone to bacterial or fungal illness. If your succulent has mealybugs, make sure to isolate them because they can easily move from plant to plant.


Mealybugs can be tough to eradicate, and you must follow these procedures to ensure that they are entirely removed. To entirely eliminate them, you must use a systemic insecticide. Apply contact insecticides, but use them in high concentrations because the insect has a protective covering.

Contact pesticides can be dangerous because of the plant’s oily nature, which can cause it to burn when exposed to sunlight, a condition called phototoxicity.

Mealybugs can also be eradicated by applying a cotton swab dipped in alcohol directly to the bugs and any other parts of the plant that are covered with the white cottony substance. This procedure is harmless to your succulent plant. You can also use rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle and spray it directly on the bugs and white cottony stuff. You can also dilute the alcohol with water.

Dishwashing soap diluted in water can also be used to get rid of the pests. To make soap, combine a few drops of soap with 2 cups of water and shake. Spray the soap solution on the bugs and affected regions. Mealybugs can also be removed with a toothbrush or a high-pressure water spray.

Because systemic insecticides are not absorbed into plant tissues, they must be used only when the plant is growing. Treat your succulents at the start of the growth season to keep mealybugs away from your plants. Examine the entire succulent, especially if the plant’s joints are impacted. You can also unpot the plant and look for any concealed mealy bugs in the roots.

Spider Mites

Spider mites are quite little and often go undetected for long periods of time because they are only 1/50 inch long. Red spider mites are the most prevalent type of spider mite. Spider mites harm succulents by sucking away the plant’s juices.


When spider mites infest the succulent, it usually becomes lighter in color, almost white or silvery. One of the first indicators you’ll notice is that the damaged plant has webbing and little brown dots.


If you discover that your plant is infested, you must quarantine it quickly so that it does not affect the other plants in the garden. Spider mites on plants can be eradicated with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.

You can also dilute dish soap with water and apply the soap mixture to the damaged plant with a spray bottle. If the infestation is severe, the plant must be replanted. Allow the plant to dry for a few days before repotting it in a new potting mix with well-draining soil, such as this cactus/succulent mix.

As a prophylactic approach, systemic insecticides can be utilized. Pesticides can cause a phototoxic reaction on the epidermis of plants, thus keeping the plants away from direct sunlight for at least several weeks following treatment.


There are several scale insect species. The scale insects have the appearance of little cottony shells and are frequently seen adhering to the stems and leaves of the infected succulent plant. They can be removed with a toothbrush or a high-pressure water spray. Scale insects feed on the succulent plant liquids, causing it to weaken and develop shriveled and wrinkled leaves.


Scale affects succulent plants, causing little brown bumps to appear on the plant. Scale insects cling to plant tissue and, if not removed, might leave a minor scar on the plant. Scale insects reproduce swiftly and can harm other plants. This can cause the plant to appear fuzzy.

Scales often favor shade and avoid sun-exposed areas of the plant. If a succulent has strong spination, the scale will be shaded and will spread to other sections of the plant that are not exposed to the sun. Scale insects are frequently found on newly growing plants, such as seedlings.


Scale insects must be physically removed from the succulent plant in question. You can use a hose with a spray nozzle, but make sure the water is not too forceful to harm the plant. Examine the cracks and under the spines of cactus plants.

To prevent scale outbreaks, you must treat your plant with a systemic insecticide. The insecticide will be absorbed in the roots and plant tissue, rendering the plant toxic to the scale insect. The systemic insecticide must be administered during the plant’s developing stage and at the start of the growing season. Remove the scale manually and wait for the pesticide to take effect.

Scales can also be treated using neem oil. If the infestation is severe, neem oil may not be sufficient. You can use 15 ml of neem oil mixed with 8 glasses of water and thoroughly blended. Spray the solution over affected areas as well as the undersides of leaves. You can use neem oil to protect the plant from overexposure to sunlight by applying it at night. You may purchase neem oil here.

Fungus Gnats

Long black bugs that resemble mosquitoes are fungus gnats. They range in length from 1/8 to 1/16 inch. They are most usually found above ground. Fungus gnat larvae dwell in the soil and feed on the organic matter and roots of the succulent plant. Seedling succulent plants may have restricted growth or be killed as a result of root damage caused by fungus gnat infestation.


If you overwater your succulent plants, fungus gnats will become attracted and begin multiplying. They prefer soil with a high moisture content.


You must only use well-draining soil and let it dry between waterings. You can also utilize pots or containers, such as these terracotta pots, to drain excess water. To avoid damp soil, use a succulent/cactus soil mix, which you can find here. Pumice can also be used to help drain water and regulate excess moisture; you can obtain it here.

You can also sprinkle cinnamon powder on top of the soil because cinnamon has natural antifungal effects. You can also use sticky insect pads, which will attract fungus gnats and aid to reduce the infection.


Aphids are small insects that have teardrop-shaped bodies. They normally come in a range of hues, with green being the most prevalent. Aphids enjoy sucking on leaves or flowers and exude a sweet white material while they feed. This white material promotes the growth of black mold on the damaged succulent.


Aphids are commonly found in plant soft tissues, sucking on the plant’s juices. They are typically seen in succulent plant blossoms and buds. They enjoy soft, new-growth plants like seedlings. Because aphids suck on the plant’s tissues, they cause stunted growth and misshaped leaves.


Aphids can be eradicated with a high-pressure water spray; repeat multiple times to ensure that all aphids are entirely removed. The water pressure should be low enough to avoid injuring the plants throughout the procedure.

If the problem persists, you can apply a soapy combination to all damaged sections of the succulent plant using a spray bottle. If the infestation is severe, you can use a systemic pesticide, but only during the plant’s growing season so that the chemicals can be absorbed by the plant tissues.

Pests and Diseases Management

  1. Use suitable practices when caring for your succulents. A healthy succulent plant is more resistant to pests and illnesses than an unhealthy plant. Succulents must be grown in the specified circumstances for each species. Temperature, sunshine exposure, and water drainage must all be considered. Remove dead leaves and flowers from the pots and containers to keep them clean.
  2. Place new plants in quarantine. If you have recently purchased succulents, do not immediately incorporate them into your existing succulent collection. Examine the new plants for the presence of pests or diseases, and treat the problem as soon as feasible.
  3. Use insecticide soap with caution because it can harm the succulent. Cactus contains wax and lipids that prevent it from being harmed by insecticidal detergent. Before using the soap, check the product label to see if it is suitable for plant usage. Before spraying the pesticide to the entire succulent plant, you can apply a little amount to a small part of the plant.
  4. Apply insecticides such as neem or pyrethrins. To protect the safety of your plant, always read the product label.
  5. Use a systemic pesticide like acephate or imidacloprid to control pests that sprays cannot reach. Before applying the product on your succulent, check the labels and directions to ensure that it is suitable for your plant.

Do you have any other suggestions for dealing with succulent pests and diseases? Please do not hesitate to contact us! We’d love to hear from you!

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