Aphids on string of pearls is a problem no gardener wants to experience because of the effects. These insects mostly attack unhealthy pearls plants, those growing in areas with high nitrogen levels, and pearl gardens without predators.
Continue reading our article as our gardening team has written in details the right reasons why they come and the correct measures you can take to tackle them off.
- Why Are There Aphids on String of Pearls Plants?
- How To Remove Aphids on String of Pearls Plant?
Why Are There Aphids on String of Pearls Plants?
There are aphids on the string of pearl plants because you may be growing them in an unhealthy way, and weeds are growing in the garden. In addition, they can also be present because of the lack of predators, high nitrogen levels, and attracted to the damp soil.
– Unhealthy Plants
There are many reasons aphids invade string of pearls gardens. First, like most insects, aphids are attracted to unhealthy plants. Unhealthiness makes plants weak and vulnerable to infections and insect attacks. Whether it is insufficient watering or even doing so excessively having, poor soil conditions, and fertilizing in the wrong way, there are some reasons for plant weakness.
When plants are unhealthy, they cannot resist infections and insect attacks, and the same applies to pears with aphids. For instance, when you don’t water them the right way, you would be over doing so or even insufficiently watering, it will hinder the growth of pearls in poor soil mixes.
In addition, if you have been keeping them in the dark and poorly vented areas, and failing to repot them are causes of unhealthy growing pearls. Moreover, insufficient water dries the roots, weakening the entire system and slowing plant growth.
Overwatering causes root rot in plants, reducing their ability to transport nutrients and water to other parts. In such a case, you will notice that unhealthy and stressed pearls have more sugar and nitrogen concentration, which are more helpful to insects like aphids.
Also, the weak plant has softer stems, making it easier to feed on by the insects, as the string of pearls not enough light is one of the reasons why your plant is becoming weaker in the long run, and the aphids would feel welcomed.
– Weeds in the Garden
Another reason for insect attack is if pearls grow near a forest. Many trees in the woods are aphids attractive, and the insects could migrate to pearl gardens. Farmers who let weeds grow in their pearl gardens are also at risk of dealing with aphids, spider mites, and fungus gnats.
This is because the aphids prefer plants with more extensive and softer leaves to hide in and feed on. These plants are primarily weeds growing in gardens and yards. If you have aphid-friendly weeds growing near your pearls or in the pearl garden, they could invade the succulents.
Some weeds aphids live on are sow thistle and mustard. The insects could also hide in vegetables with big leaves, like cabbage, spinach, and kale. Since you can hardly tell the weeds liked by aphids, it is best to remove unwanted plants frequently, and this way, they will find the right location to grow and develop.
Also, controlling insect infestation could be challenging if you grow your plants near a forest. This is because the forest has many trees that house these insects and are also a perfect environment for the insects’ habitats. Don’t start the garden near a forest to avoid an aphid attack on your succulents.
You should also avoid growing string of pearls with vegetables that attract aphids and other plants like nettle and cosmos. If you suspect the trees around your pearl garden are aphid-friendly, grow the pearls indoors, or choose a different area for the garden.
– Lack of Predators
Senecio rowleyanus, is another word for string of pearls, and they can survive some neglect but can’t deal with aphids. The absence of beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings to feed on pests and destructive insects can lead to an infestation, resulting in plant weakening and yellowing.
In such a case, beneficial insects, or insect predators, are as important as water and sunlight to your plants. These predators protect your flowers and succulents from common pests like aphids.
What happens is that thee predators will attack and start to feed on the insects and destroy their eggs to control the population. The beneficial insects can feed on an entire aphid attack, especially when the population is manageable, and clean your garden from them.
– High Nitrogen Levels
Every plant requires nitrogen for growth and survival, and so do pearl plants. Aphids also prefer areas with high nitrogen levels because they need nitrogen-rich plant sap. Besides, the nutrient ensures plant growth and continuous production of new leaves that are easier for aphids to feed.
Nitrogen helps with plant health and growth, making it an essential nutrient in all plants. It is a significant compound in chlorophyll, which must be present for photosynthesis. Photosynthesis produces sugar and energy for plant growth, and this is what draws them near the plants even more.
High nitrogen levels ensure continuous plant growth, meaning constant leaf production exists. While this benefits the plant, it is risky because aphids prefer environments with high nitrogen levels.
Since nitrogen supports the production of new leaves, aphids always have enough food, encouraging reproduction. The higher the numbers, the more plant damage, and in such a case, the aphids also like plants’ sap rich in nitrogen and sugar so they can invade your pearls plants.
– Damp Soil
Also, since pearls are succulents, they mostly grow in dry areas. Unluckily for these plants, dangerous insects like aphids also prefer dry areas with hot climates, so they could have their habitats near most pearl gardens. If this happens, aphids easily migrate to the pearl gardens leading to worse destruction.
Aphids like moist environments so they will reproduce more in wet soils. Wet soil can be a result of overwatered string pearls or heavy rainfall. Besides attracting aphids, the damp soil exposes the plant to common problems like root rot and weakness.
Besides damp soil, another reason for the string of pearls shriveling on top due to aphid attack is the warm climate. They can survive and reproduce better in these climates, and if your garden is in generous climate zones, you could suffer an infestation.
How To Remove Aphids on String of Pearls Plant?
To remove aphids on the string of pearls plant, you can start to spray them with some water, and handpick them to remove them. In addition, you can start to resume a healthy growth, introduce some predators, remove the weeds surrounding the plant, use insecticidal soap, and the right pesticide.
– Spray Aphids With Water
You can control plant pests like aphids by spraying them with water. Put water in a hose pipe, and set it in the high-pressure setting to wash away the insects. The pests are lightweight, so the water sweeps them off the plant, and in a few times your plant will be free from these pests, and with all ease the succulent will thrive again.
However, you must be careful not to cause overwatering to your string of pearls when using this pest control method. You may also go ahead and wait until the soil dries completely before spraying the aphids with water again to avoid overwatering problems.
– Handpick Aphids
If you just noticed the first batch of aphids in your pearls garden, you can reduce the population by handpicking them. The insects mostly attack one string in a group so that you can look for the green or black group of bugs.
While touching the plants, you could wonder, ‘Why is my string of pearls sticky?’ while stickiness is a defense mechanism of the plant to keep pests off, it could also result from pest infestation. Look for all the possible locations the insects could hide to confirm the infestation.
Once you handpick the aphids, crush them between your fingers. Don’t crush them while still on the string because this can lead to plant injury and infections. In addition to this, you must also ensure you dispose of the dead insects in the garbage bin so that they wouldn’t return.
– Grow a Healthy String of Pearls
Another natural method of preventing aphid infestation is by ensuring you grow healthy plants. Ensure the potting mix is the best for string of pearls, pour the right amounts of water, and propagate string pearls at the right time.
In short, you will see how you will have little or no insect attacks and plant diseases if you have healthy plants. You must adhere to the plant care guide, like watering them correctly, providing enough sunlight, and pruning at the right time.
A string of pearls overwatered vs underwatered problems are almost similar, and they cause plant weakness making it vulnerable to pests. A sunburned string of pearls due to direct sunlight could easily be invaded by aphids, destroying and killing the plant. You can ensure you grow string of pearls in well-lit environments, and protect them from scorching sun.
– Introduce Predators
Predators keep destructive insects like aphids away from your pearls garden. You can buy lacewings or ladybirds and introduce them to your garden to keep insects away. So for this, you must make sure that you have ladybird-friendly plants to keep the insects in the garden longer.
Without ladybugs and lacewings, a minor aphid attack in the pearls will quickly grow due to a lack of control. On a positive note, you can buy the predators and place them in your garden. But ensure you have other plants that attract the beneficial insects, like ferns and coriander, to keep them in the garden for longer.
Just as you go ahead and grow or get some beneficial insects, they kill the aphids and destroy their eggs. This controls the population, reducing the destruction they could have caused, and you don’t need to use any chemicals either.
– Remove Weeds
Before introducing predators to your garden, remove weeds that could be hiding places for aphids. These weeds compete for nutrients and water with the pearl plants making them weaker and more vulnerable to insects.
You should also be picky with the companion plants you grow with pearls, or you can pour some acid on them, and they will directly die. Avoid growing big-leafed plants near your succulents because aphids and insects use them as hiding places and can quickly fly into your pearls.
– Use Insecticidal Soap
Whether you are looking for natural, biological, or commercial ways on how to get rid of mealybugs on string of pearls, there are plenty of options. You can spray the succulents with water in a hose pump to wash the insects away or use insecticidal soap.
If you want a quicker aphid removal method, consider insecticidal soap, and you will see that this is made by mixing dish soap with water. Note that you should spray the soap on the plants and repeat the process until all the aphids die, and then you must also resume the correct pearls care.
An alternative to insecticidal soap is neem oil or other essential oils, but be keen that you diluteee them. You can apply these to the plants in the morning or evening until the bugs disappear. Neem oil kills bugs by smothering and suffocating them to death.
– Use Pesticides
If none of the mentioned methods here worked, consider using pesticides. It is a suitable aphid control method if you have much string of pearls or if the infestation is heavy.
On the other hand, you must also remember that chemical-based pesticides have strong materials to kill aphids but could also kill pollinators and other beneficial insects. These chemicals also cause environmental pollution and allergies to some people.
Now that you are done with this article, you must take the following points from this article, you will notice that:
- Aphids attack plants for various reasons, like weeds near the garden or unhealthy plants.
- Another way to remove aphids from pearls is by handpicking them. Once you notice the insects on the plants, collect them and crush them between your fingers.
- You can control aphids by handpicking and crushing them, using insecticidal soap or essential oils, or using strong chemicals like pesticides.
- You can prevent aphid attacks on string of pearls by ensuring the plants are healthy and introducing beneficial insects into the garden.
You should consider natural methods to control aphids, like crushing and killing or spraying them with water. However, if the infestation is too high, you can use pesticides and other chemicals to control them.
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