Aphids on sedum are a matter that causes unrest to gardeners and require instant elimination. These seasonal insects attack succulents due to high nitrogen levels, changes in seasons, or during the growth of new leaves.
Flowers also attract these insects, but you can eliminate them by spraying them with water or pesticides. Continue reading this article, and you will have the proper insight into the reasons and ways to remove them.
- Why Do Aphids Attack Sedum Plants?
- How To Get Rid of Aphids on Sedum?
Why Do Aphids Attack Sedum Plants?
Aphids attack sedum plants because of the change in season, or they are attracted to the flower on the plant. They would also attack the weak plants, and if the surrounding has high nitrogen content, great number of ant infestation, absence of beneficial insects and presence of weeds.
Fresh succulent leaves are soft and easy to be pierced by the insects’ tiny and weak mouthparts. As the plant grows and the leaves harden, these insects start migrating to other gardens with freshly produced leaves.
– Change In Seasons
Most insects are seasonal, and so are aphids, and note that they mostly come out during spring, when it is less cold and the sun is less scorching, and will hibernate again in summer. The insects attack succulents as a small harmless group. However, they reproduce fast, and the bigger the population, the worse the damage.
Once the insects land on your succulents, they feed on the plant sap slowly and can cause it to weaken and dry. Therefore, plant enthusiasts should start eliminating these destructive insects during the onset of the infestation, and they will stay and infest as they are growing and laying eggs, increasing in their population.
Did you know that aphids and other insects find flowers attractive? The big and more conspicuous succulent flowers are, the more likely aphids will attack the plant.
The insects also pierce through the flowers to get the plant sap. As the sap-sucking continues, the flowers become weaker and start falling. They will aim to go towards the flower and infest around it, and thrive.
– Weak Plants
Weak and struggling plants are a target for many insect infestations and diseases. Aphids and other insects like these plants because they are easily digestible, unlike the healthy and thriving ones. Besides, weak plants cannot fight pests and diseases, so they become a perfect insect habitat.
Plant weakness can be due to watering issues, like overwatering or underwatering. Overwatering causes root rot, leading to the inability of the roots to supply nutrients and water to the other plant parts.
Failure to provide the succulents with proper growing conditions and diseases also weaken plants, exposing them to worse pest infestations which can kill them. This is because they are attracted to the weakened debris that would be found around the plant, like the weakened or older leaves that are no longer as green.
– High Nitrogen Levels
Nitrogen is a requirement for every crop growth, but it is also an attractive nutrient to aphids. The nutrient is a component of chlorophyll which supports photosynthesis. When there are high nitrogen levels, the plant photosynthesizes more, producing more energy.
The energy is used for the growth of plant cells, which leads to the production of new leaves hence plant growth. However, thee high nitrogen level is what you should be careful, as this atmosphere is one where they love to grow in.
While continuous plant growth is every succulent grower’s dream, these leaves attract insects like aphids. The tiny insects migrate to the succulents to feed on the sap in the newly produced leaves, which can weaken the plant.
Another way high nitrogen levels cause aphid invasion is because it favors their reproduction. Areas with high nitrogen also make a suitable habitat for aphids, and if you have succulents near the insect habitats, they will attack your plants, and it will be inviting for them to come and infest as they get to build up the infestation.
– Other Insects Like Ants
Besides nitrogen, small insects like ants can also attract aphids to sedums. These insects carry aphids to different locations. While ants on sedum are not alarming, aphids cause disasters. What happens is that one helps the other to grow and helps in the processes of sheltering, and this way, the ants will invite in the aphids.
Some insects benefit the plants, and eliminating them could stop critical processes like pollination. Instead of killing the ants, you can eliminate the aphids, and they would stop infesting in a heavy way.
– Absence of Beneficial Insects
And speaking of insects, aphids on your succulents could be due to the lack of insect predators like ladybugs and lacewings—these control aphid populations biologically by feeding on destructive insects. The insect predators also destroy aphid eggs before hatching, reducing the population growth rate.
What happens, in this case, is that the beneficial insects would often come and attack the aphids as they feed on them; hence, they would decrease. However, with the lack of them, you will see that the aphid population are growing and infesting the succulent.
Have you checked the type of plants growing near your sedums? These could be the reason for an aphid infestation. Some weeds are favorites to aphids and sedum mites because of their big leaves, which act as food and hiding places.
You can also find other destructive sedum pests on these weeds, which easily migrate to the succulents, as they may grow from the soil as it is possible, and they would be attracted to this weed exactly. Besides hosting aphids, weeds also cause succulent weakness exposing them to insect infestation.
These unwanted plants compete with succulents for water and nutrients, leaving the flowers surviving on the least. As the plants weaken, they become more vulnerable to aphid plague.
How To Get Rid of Aphids on Sedum?
To get rid of aphids on sedum, you can remove them by hand, wash them with some water, introduce the good insects, and spray insecticidal soap. Moreover, you should also use neem oil, pesticides, and also Diatomaceous earth, and grow aphid-repelling plants.
Other ways to eliminate aphids are introducing beneficial insects that feed on the pests, spraying pesticides, and using diatomaceous earth. If the insects have not disappeared, prune the affected leaves, and ensure no aphid-friendly plants are growing nearby.
– Remove With Hands
If you just noticed the first tiny group of aphids on your sedums, don’t leave them to reproduce. Pick the insects by hand and squash them between your fingers. These insects multiply quickly, and killing them at the onset of the infestation helps control their population.
When squashing the insects, you can use a paper towel to pick and crush them from the leaves. Ensure you also wear gloves to keep your hands clean. Avoid crushing the insects between the leaves because the friction injures the cells, causing plant wounds.
Once you have crushed the insects, do not leave their dead bodies behind because this could lead to a re-infestation. Instead, throw them in the garbage bin or burn them, and make sure that they don’t grow and infest on other plants as well.
– Wash Them With Water
If you have insect phobia and cannot kill aphids with your hands, use clean water to wash them away. You require a hose pipe with high pressure to splash the water under high pressure.
However, since sedums are tiny succulents, use a small pipe. Ensure you target the top and undersides of the leaves where aphids hide the most. You can spray them with some pressured water, and this will get them away from thee sedum.
While water provides a natural method of eliminating aphids, it has disadvantages. Sedum soil should be moist to dry, and too much water can cause root rots and other insect infestation. Therefore, always leave the soil to dry before the next spraying.
Also, spraying the water on the plants under high pressure can damage sedum leaves, cutting some and causing them to fall, which leaves the plant with wounds. Instead, use smaller pipes with a lower pressure to avoid such accidents.
– Introduce Good Insects
An alternative to spraying aphids with water is introducing beneficial insects. Ladybugs and lacewings are natural enemies of aphids, and they feed on destructive pests without damaging the plant parts, which is every gardener’s dream.
You can get good insects from the nearest plant store. Another way to attract ladybugs to your garden is by having plants these insects like. The plants keep the ladybugs near your sedums, and once they spot aphids, they will feed on them, and this way they will go away and keep the plant thriving.
– Spray Insecticidal Soap
If you tried other ways that didn’t work, you might also try using a soapy solution so that it would work effectively. The soapy water is made by mixing dish soap with water in the proper proportions. The soap kills aphids by drying their outer skin, which suffocates the insects, and the soap also causes dehydration to the insects, killing them.
Apply a soapy solution on the upper and lower parts of the leaves. It can also help to remove spider mites on sedum and other annoying insects. However, rinse the soap with clean water to avoid scorching the leaves with the chemicals.
– Use Neem Oil
An alternative to insecticidal soap is neem oil, note that the oil is extracted from neem trees and kills aphids by smothering them. When it comes into contact with the insect’s skin, it blocks their breathing pores and suffocates them. The oil also has a compound called azadirachtin which stops aphids from eating sedum leaves.
You can use essential oils like peppermint, cloves, and thyme to eliminate aphids if you don’t have natural oil. These work similarly to the oil and have few side effects on the sedums in the right way.
– Use Pesticides
How bad is the aphid attack? If the population is too high, water and soapy solutions will not be effective. Instead, use pesticides to kill the insects. Pesticides are either organic or inorganic, and they are effective and fast in insect control.
Organic pesticides are made at home by mixing ingredients like sap, water, or cayenne pepper. Spray the product on the plants to kill the aphids and chase the rest away.
You can also use commercially made pesticides to eliminate aphids. These are stronger because they are made with harsh chemicals, which is why you shouldn’t go for this at thee beginning stages, rather than leave it for the last.
However, while commercial pesticides work perfectly, they have side effects. These products are environmentally powerful and cause pollution to the soil and rivers when it rains.
– Prune the Affected Leaves
If the aphid population is beyond control, consider pruning the affected leaves. This controls the pest population and helps the plant heal from the damage. You can propagate the succulent if the affected parts exceed the healthy ones, so you should get the healthy leaves and plant them in a new pot.
When pruning sedums, always use sharp and clean tools so that you wouldn’t risk any disease contamination. You should also disinfect them to avoid transmitting infections to a struggling plant. And once you pot the new plant, give it all the proper growth requirements, like enough light and water to thrive into a fresh and healthy sedum.
– Use Diatomaceous Earth
Dusting succulents with diatomaceous helps to eliminate aphids. The product is not toxic to humans but has sharp particles that insects can feel. However, it also affects other vital insects like bees, which help with pollination, and is more expensive, because it can get into the body of the pest and destroy them.
– Grow Aphid-Repelling Plants
The plants surrounding your sedums could be the leading cause of aphids. These insects hide in big-leafed plants like eggplants, lettuce, and other vegetables and can easily migrate to sedums. Ensure you don’t have aphid-friendly plants near your garden to keep the succulents safe.
Instead of keeping lettuce and roses attractive to aphids, grow aphid-repelling plants like basil, garlic, and chives. They have strong scents that aphids cannot stand. Therefore, the insects will stay away from your plantation, keeping sedums safe.
Aphids on sedum are less destructive, but a higher population can cause damage, so here is the recap of what we covered:
- The insects feed on the succulent sap, causing plant weakness and exposing it to more pests and diseases.
- Aphids are caused by changes in seasons, high nitrogen levels, and weeds growing near sedums. Also, these insects find flowers attractive and will invade flowering sedums.
- A lack of insect predators in your garden could be due to the absence of ladybug-attractive trees like marigolds. You can introduce these essential insects to your garden by growing these trees.
- You can eliminate aphids using clean water or add dish soap to make a soapy solution. You can also use chemical methods like pesticides and diatomaceous dust.
The aphid elimination method you choose depends on how bad the infestation is. Use water if the aphids are in low populations, and stringer methods like pesticides to kill a heavy infestation.
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