Do succulents attract bugs? If you are growing succulents for a while now, you might also end up asking this question. In this post, I will talk about whether succulents are bugs’ favorite and how to keep your plants safe from pests.
Succulents are some of the versatile plants you can have in your garden. However, this does not mean that they are safe from pests.
So, do succulents attract bugs? Succulents do not normally attract bugs unless they are overwatered. The constant wet soil attracts bugs in the long run which will ruin the succulents. The most common ones are mealy bugs, scales, aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, fungus gnats, and ants.
These pests can ruin your succulents’ aesthetic features. If not treated properly, they can even cause death to your plants. Below are the common simple remedies you can implement to eliminates bugs in your succulents.
Succulent Bugs and Easy Treatments
As mentioned, there are insects that could potentially threaten the health of your succulent plants. But don’t worry, with proper treatment, you can keep your succulent plants safe and healthy.
Here are the common pests and the steps on how to deal with them.
1. Mealy Bugs
Mealybugs are some of the most common pests on succulents. These creatures are tiny with gray or light brown color. You know that your succulents are infested if you notice a white cottony substance. Also, mealy bugs produce sugary substances that invite molds. When that happens, the plants become also vulnerable to fungal and bacterial infections.
The quick way to treat the mealybug issue is by using a cotton swab. Dip it in rubbing alcohol and directly apply it to the affected area of the plant especially on the white cottony substance. This is the simplest and safest method.
The second thing you can do is to spray rubbing alcohol on the white cottony substance. This is a better method if you want a quick result. You can use pure alcohol or you can dilute it with water. Either way is safe for the plants.
Third, you can also use soap diluted in water and spray it onto the white cottony substance. However, it is important to remember that mealybugs do not retreat easily. It takes a few times before you completely remove them from your plants.
That said, I suggest that you repeat these treatments several times as necessary. During the treatment process, it is also important that you isolate the affected plants from the healthy ones. This is to prevent the spread of the bugs to other plants.
The second common insect that could damage succulent plants is scale. This insect comes in two types: the armored and soft ones. Either of these two can potentially bring problems to your succulent plants.
The common signs of scale insects are small brown bumps on the succulents. if you see these happening on your succulents, there is a high chance that you have a scale problem.
Scale insects’ favorite is the sap of the succulents which will, in turn, cause the plants vulnerable to disease.
The first and the quickest way to remove scale from your succulents is by removing them from the plant. You can do it by hand or scrape them from the affected areas.
The next method you can use is applying alcohol to the affected area. You can use a cotton swab dip in rubbing alcohol and directly apply it to the bugs.
Aside from using a cotton swab, you can also spray the bugs directly with pure alcohol or a mixture of alcohol and water.
Another treatment is soap. You can use dish soap and dilute it in water. Then, using a spray bottle, spray the bugs directly or the affected areas.
Like mealy bugs, scale insects do not leave the succulent plants easily. In some instances, you need to repeat the treatment process several times before your plants are completely free from insects.
The third type of insect that commonly infests succulents are aphids. These insects suck the leaves and even stems of the succulent plants. These insects also secrete sugary substances making the affected succulent plants susceptible to mold. As you can see, aphids are dangerous to succulent plants.
The quick remedy to aphids’ infestation is spraying them with a mixture of water and soap. Make sure to target the affected areas.
Other strategies may involve neem oil. Many succulent growers use neem oil to treat aphids. Mix 1 tablespoon of neem oil with 8 cups of water. Spray the affected areas with this mixture.
When using neem oil mixture, make sure that you spray the plants at night. Avoid doing it during the day. It is to prevent the plant from burning.
Repeat the process as necessary.
4. Spider Mites
Another insect that can harm the succulent plants is spider mites. These tiny intruders are so tiny making them unnoticeable. Succulents that are attacked by spider mites usually turn into almost white and silvery color. This is because these mites suck the sap of the succulent plants.
If you see these in your plants, make sure that you isolate the affected ones. This is the best way to stop the spread of the spider mites while implementing the treatment.
Like the mealy bugs, the quickest way to get rid of spider mites is by applying rubbing alcohol onto the mites and the affected areas.
Another technique is spraying the mites with a mixture of water and alcohol. This can also be an effective treatment to spider mites.
Lastly, you can also use a dish soap diluted in water. Spray it directly onto the spider mites and affected areas. This should scare the mites. Repeat the process if necessary.
But remember that these strategies only work well in less severe cases. If plants are already heavily affected, repotting the plants is the best idea. In some instances, starting with a new plant is the only option.
If you have leafy succulents, you might already familiar with whiteflies. It seems that leafy succulents are the favorite of whiteflies. The problem with these flies is that they produce honeydew which will make the affected plants susceptible to molds.
The best remedy for whiteflies is rubbing alcohol diluted in water. Spray the flies with this mixture. You can also use soapy water instead of alcohol. The effect will be the same.
Repeat the treatment process as necessary. Sometimes, it takes a lot of treatments before seeing the results.
6. Fungus Gnats
Fungus gnats are common problems in overwatered succulents. If the soil remains wet for a long period of time, it attracts fungus. Fungus gnats will stay in plants.
Because fungus gnats are caused by constant wet soil, the best remedy is to minimize the watering of the plant. Allow the soil to dry. The fungus does not like dry soil. In severe cases, change the soil of the succulent. Make sure that you use fast-draining soil (check my recommended soil on Amazon).
Ants are not naturally harmful to succulent plants. But if your succulents are affected by the mentioned insects, there is a high chance that the sugary substances that insects produce will invite ants. An army of ants will definitely cause damage to the succulent plants.
The quickest thing you can do is to spray the ants with insecticidal soap. You can also spray the ants with a mixture of alcohol and water. Repeat the process until the ants are totally gone.
Final Thoughts on Do Succulents Attract Bugs
Bugs are not a common problem in succulent plants. But there are times when succulents do attract bugs. This happens when the soil is constantly wet for a long period of time.
As discussed, there are many potential threats to succulent plants. However, the good news is that there are quick and simple remedies you can do to eliminate the bugs from your succulent plants.
You can adopt the remedies shared in this post to keep your succulent plants free from pests. I hope this helps. Thank you for reading.