What will you do if there are aphids on succulents? This is one of the common yet challenging problems you can have with your plants. Fortunately, there are easy and effective remedies to resolve this issue. In this post, I will share with you some of the simple steps you can do to keep your succulents safe from pests.
There are so many plants that give beauty to our surroundings. Still, succulent plants are more attractive, especially when they grow in different shapes and colors that surely enhance the beauty of our outdoor garden or even inside the house.
Succulent plants are low maintenance because they can store water to survive in dry weather. That’s why they can last longer than any other plant.
As we can see, succulents look like a pest-free and robust plant, especially the variety of cactuses, but there was still an insect problem that arises from this kind of plant.
Even though insects are a natural part of gardening, but there are those insects that damage plant growth. An example of this is Aphids. In my experience, almost 3 of my succulent plants died because it gets dry and has plenty of tiny green dots in their leaves.
As I researched, it is because of aphids that are removing vital fluids of plants; that’s why it gets dry.
If aphids are continuously damaging succulents leaves, it blocks the plant’s survival. Insects like Aphids are one of my problems in growing my succulents.
Aphids are those tiny green, yellow, pink, or soft-bodied black insects that are damaging the leaves and stem of the succulents.
Almost all plants have Aphids, but it is more likely with succulents because unlike any other plants, most succulents have fat leaves filled with nutrients that the Aphids need for their survival.
Some Aphids have their wings, but others don’t have. Most Aphids are in the underside of the leaves to be hard to detect by a human. As a result, succulent leaves will turn yellow and become distorted.
In cactuses, however, the first sign is not the yellowing of the leaves. It is not easy to detect if cactuses are still healthy or not because they look like a strong plant because of their thorns and fattier structure.
We can only recognize when something is happening with cactuses if this plant is continuously turning thinner with whitey dots because the fluid or nutrients inside it is getting by the Aphids.
After a few weeks or months, its thorns become brown. At that moment, the only choice is to cut the damaged part and replant the non-damage part for it to survive.
But if it only had few Aphids, we can use some home remedies to control the damaged part.
The Common Causes of Aphids
- Due to the lack of sunlight and water
- Strong heat is not suitable for the plant
- Excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides
- Transplanting and changing of climate
- are predominant when springtime
- The unnecessary death of leaves
- Yellowing and honeydew on leaves
- The stem is getting dry
- Wilting or folding of leaves
How to Control Aphids on Succulents with Home Remedies?
In some cases, the problem with aphids can be resolved by spraying water in the affected foliage every morning until the insects will be gone. But in other succulents, it doesn’t work that way.
However, here are some of my suggestions about home remedies to control aphids.
1. Dishwashing Liquid-Oil-Water-Spray
One of the easiest ways to treat aphids is by getting one tsp. Dishwashing liquid, one tsp. Vegetable oil and two cups of water.
Pour the ingredients in a spray bottle, shake gently, then finally lightly spray into the affected area, or it is better on both sides of the leaves.
The combination of oil and dishwashing liquid covers the spiracles that will suffocate the aphids. After 3 to 4 hours, wipe the leaves and stem with a soft rag or tissue to remove the soapy residue.
It takes three days to see the result if the home remedies are effective or not for the succulents.
The second natural way to kill or repel those aphids are using Onion-Garlic-Solution made from two medium-size onion, two garlic cloves, and three cups of water (depending on your needs).
Chop them very finely, or if there is access with blender or food processor, it is much better. Mix the garlic and onion with water in a container and leave it to soak overnight.
After that, it can now use to spray in the succulent leaves and stem. The smell of garlic and onion makes the aphids stay away from the plant. The remaining solution should be kept in the refrigerator for future use. Repeat the process every seven days or so to keep away aphids from your succulents.
3. Baking Soda-Dishwashing Liquid- Oil-Water-Spray
Third natural remedies are the Baking Soda-Dishwashing Liquid-Oil-Water-Solution, made of one teaspoon of baking soda and one-third cup of vegetable oil or regular oil if possible. It may not kill all aphids, but it has a repellent action and progress to get rid of the pests.
4. Dishwashing Liquid-70% Alcohol-Water-Spray
Fourth home remedies is a mixture of 70% alcohol, a little bit dishwashing liquid, and water. It is one of the least choices to treat succulents, but if you don’t have oil, onion, or garlic, this remedy is possible. It can also stick to the plant like any other remedies.
5. Tomato Leaf-Water-Spray
Fifth home remedy is the mixture of tomato leaves and water. In this solution, it is still possible to add one tsp. of oil to become more effective in killing aphids on succulents.
Tomato has a toxic compound called alkaloids that can be found in its leaves. What you need to do is chop the leaves, and soak overnight with water in the spray bottle. It is a natural aphid’s killer and is not dangerous for humans or pets. The same process with other remedies, it should be sprayed on both sides of the leaves and stem for a better result.
As a succulent lover, I already tried the dishwashing liquid and oil solution to my cactuses, Zebra Haworthia, or the “alligator tail” succulents, as well as, to my water plant like Lucky Bambo. I found that the solution is effective.
Zebra Haworthia or “Alligator Tail” is the most amazing and my favorite because aphids don’t typically come in this plant, and they don’t need so much maintenance.
Two Basic Techniques to Trap Aphids
1. Yellow Glass
Get yellow glasses and add water, as well as soap or detergents to break water tension. Place these glasses inside your garden or near your plants and eventually, aphids will drown inside the glass and die. We can also trap and capture aphids by yellow paper with sticky substance or tape and let the aphids walk into it.
2. Fake Garden
We can also install or make a separate fake garden to distract or trap aphids. Just make sure that the plant inside the fake garden is not placed in the real and original garden. For this project, you can use Larkspur, Cosmos, Aster, Tuberous begonia, and Mum plants for your fake garden.
Even though we can successfully have killed aphids on succulents, it doesn’t mean that it will no longer attract pests. From time to time, cactuses and succulents develop different problems related to their conditions, pests, and diseases.
But there are basic ways on how you can prevent the aphids from attacking your succulents.
Pest Prevention and Proper Care Tips:
- Succulent must be strong and healthy during the growing season.
- Always remove dead leaves of the succulents to avoid aphids and other insects hiding and breeding into it. Also, it helps to prevent molds.
- Don’t use running water for the succulents because too much water will kill the plant. Utilizing a spray is more applicable. If the soil of succulents is always wet, it may also attract aphids and other pests.
- Never reuse soil or putting dead leaves from plants that are affected by aphids, because there are still survivor eggs of insects into it that will infect your healthy or new plants.
- Maintenance of natural or home remedies spray for the succulent will help them to grow and become healthier continuously. It is a 100% solution that was non-toxic to humans, but it can repel harmful aphids.
- Lastly, it is the least choice of repelling aphids, use pesticides if we don’t have time to make home remedies for the succulent pests.
I hope that this post helps you figure out how to keep your succulents safe from pests, especially from aphids.
To learn more about how to care for succulents, feel free to read my ultimate guide on How to Grow Succulents.