White spots on succulents are an issue that you may encounter due to several reasons such as mildew, excess salt build-up or even insect infestation. If you want more details about the common causes, then this is the article you got to read right away.
Our experts list out and lay bare the exact conditions that result in white spots. Read on to also find out ways by which you can fix the issue.
- Why Are There White Spots on Succulents?
- How To Fix the White Spots?
Why Are There White Spots on Succulents?
White spots on your succulent are caused due to either powdery mildew, excess salt buildup in the plant, insect infestation or edema. In addition, it would also be from bacteria, fungus, mineral deposits, natural aging, and even irrigation with hard water.
– Powdery Mildew
One of the most prominent causes of white spots is the occurrence of powdery mildew on the surface of the leaves. This is a typical fungal infection that manifests in the form of splotches all over the foliage. It generally occurs when the soil has excess moisture or the roots have been allowed to sit in water for a long time.
The succulent would look as though it has been dusted with a white powder or a grayish coating. The condition begins as a circular white spot and as the infection progresses, these spots will become yellow or brown. However, over time and if left unattended, they can result in the leaves turning distorted, and eventually wilting and then the death of the plant.
– Insect Infestation
Insect infestations too cause white spots on succulents. The most common ones that can be devastating to the plant are whiteflies, spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids. These pests attack the tender foliage to suck out the sap from the leaves.
They also excrete honeydew, which further results in the growth of fungus or sooty mold, appearing as white spots.
If the condition is left unattended, the pests can damage the entire foliage, and this would damage the plant as a whole. Additionally, note that the sooty white mold can block sunlight and prevent photosynthesis, thereby making the succulent go limp.
– Excess Salt Build up
The build-up of excess salt in the soil also causes white spots on the succulent leaves typically seen as ogre ear succulent white spots. Even succulents such as the jade plant are sensitive to high mineral content and salts that are generally found in fertilizers. The plant variety does not require much fertilizing, and a light feed should keep it going for days.
Thus, over-fertilizing succulents similar to jade plants can create a situation where the salts leach into the soil and coupled with excess watering the build-up gets transported to the leaf margins and tips, overall, bearing white spots. Hence, these white marks can turn brown over time and can kill the plant foliage in its entirety if left unattended.
Edema is yet another common condition that causes white spots on succulents, and it occurs because of excess water retention in the foliage. You will notice a tiny bump on succulent leaves which can be several and appear in small clusters. It is a condition that can easily damage the plant.
Excess water around the plant or in the soil causes the leaf cells to fill up and over time they will rupture due to over saturation and can get harmful to the plant. Edema is a sure-shot sign that you have over-saturated your succulent or that your soil is not well draining, and neither is it a retaining in the way that it has too much moisture.
Farina is a natural condition that appears in the form of white spots. You will notice these spots have a typical flaky texture, which makes it easy to identify the condition.
The important point to note here is that farina is not a dangerous condition but is just a natural defense mechanism of the plant to fight against infections and infestations, water loss and overexposure to direct sunlight.
This white powdery coating is thinly spread and if it bothers you, all you have to do is gently rub it away with your fingers. Note that you can very simply remove it and your plant will once again begin to look green and healthy.
Bacterial infections are a hazardous condition and their presence can be noticed in the form of white spots on the succulent leaves. These white spots will typically look like sprinkled powder all over the leaf and over time it causes the leaves to become crusty and change color to yellow-brown or even a grey mold succulent.
Bacterial infection if left unattended can kill the plant in its entirety. The most common reason for the occurrence of bacterial infection is unsterile soil or exposure to other infected plants.
White spots also occur due to fungus on succulents which commonly appears in the form of a cottony and fuzzy texture all over the succulent leaves. The most frequent fungal diseases which occur are gray mold, blight, leaf rot, black spot fungus on succulents in the form of root rot and rust. However, all of them damage the foliage of the succulent as well as its longevity.
The plant becomes susceptible to developing such fungal infections if it has been exposed to excess humidity levels in your garden. You will generally notice that they start from the bottom sections of the succulent and then move upwards, and over time they will make the plant wilt if left unattended.
– Mineral Deposits
Mineral deposits are white crusty spots on the fleshy leaves of the plant which also appear on flower petals, buds, and stems. It takes place due to the high levels of magnesium sulfate, Epsom salt or calcium carbonate at the roots left behind as a residue of fertilizers. These leach into the plant’s foliage through the soil, and over time they cause damage to the plant.
– Natural Aging
The natural aging of succulent leaves also causes spots on their surface. As the plant leaves age, the bright green color may fade and turn white. It is a normal process before the leaves eventually die off.
It is to make way for new leaves as the old leaf begins to shut down. Furthermore, there is not much of a concern unless you notice your leaves falling well before time and fresh leaves do not seem to be appearing to take their place.
– Hard Water
If you have been watering your succulent using hard water, you are most likely going to see white spots, which is nothing but scaling, which would be like residue on the leaves. Hard water is high in calcium, and the gradual build-up of these salts can form a layer over the leaves. However, over time, It affects the general health of the succulent as well.
How To Fix the White Spots?
To fix the white spots in succulent, you must quarantine the plant, remove the affected areas, water less, soak the infected part, tackle the infestation, spray insecticides, provide proper light, watering, drainage, and use proper fertilizers, and softer water like rain water.
– Quarantine the Plant
The most important thing to do as soon as you spot these white spots is to quarantine the plant especially if you suspect bacteria, fungus, and pests and if you have several other plants nearby. Take it away from the rest of the plants, so that nothing would contaminate the rest of the plants nearby.
This is to prevent their spread and to curb damage that can occur to the other foliage around. Overall, isolate the plant until you have treated it to a satisfactory level before including it back in your garden.
– Remove Affected Areas
Remove the affected areas you will have to remove the affected leave areas, especially if you suspect disease or infections. If it is in its initial stage, removing affected areas prevents any damage to buds, flowers, and stems, and you will be able to bring the situation back into control pretty soon, as a way to prevent white spots in the easiest of ways.
– Cut Back on the Water
Scale back on the watering as soon as you notice white spots. Most of the causes are related to the excess level of moisture in the soil and around it.
Additionally, remember to move the plant to a bright and well-ventilated spot where there is adequate airflow, because if it has been effected by any insect, it needs airflow to restore itself. Succulents seldom thrive in damp and dark places.
– Soak Infected Plant
It is recommended to soak your entire infected plant in water for half an hour especially if it is caused by fungus. Allow it to dry entirely and then repot it into fresh potting soil.
In this way, the fungus will not spread through the route contact. Of course, this is one of the ways to know how to treat white spots on succulents in a hassle-free manner.
– Tackling Powdery Mildew
If you suspect powdery mildew as the main cause for causing your white spots on the succulent make a mixture of baking soda with vinegar and use it as an organic solution applied all over the affected area.
Remember that this method can also be used to clear up several other fungi as it acts like a succulent fungicide or also to fix the damage caused by salt buildup. Once the spots have cleared up, you will have to follow it up by drying it out and putting it in fresh soil before watering it again.
– Spray an Insecticidal Solution
To tackle the notorious pests that cause those white spots, apart from quarantining the plant you will have to treat it using an insecticidal soapy solution or an organic spray found in most local gardening stores.
Additionally, to get rid of the pests, you could also spray neem oil or similar diluted to one third of its strength, the odor of which will repel the pest and would not damage the succulent’s tender leaves.
– Provide Bright Light
Provide bright sunlight for the succulent to grow and develop healthy foliage. Dark corners and damp conditions are not suited and make the plant more susceptible to problems, thereby white spots on leaves. Provide the plant with natural sunlight and adequate ventilation, and your issue of white spots will disappear on its own time.
– Provide Proper Watering
Tackle your watering schedule. Succulents do not need much water, and just a slightly moist soil is enough. If your white spots are due to overwatering, so this means that the first thing to do is to dry out the plant completely before you add more water.
If your roots had been staying in water for a long time, it is time to transplant them into fresh potting soil. Snip away any black spots if you notice root rot, and gently remove all the moist soil around it before you move it into the fresh soil mix.
– Proper Drainage
Keep the soil draining as excess moisture can cause white spots, and this is because the soil will weaken the function of the nutrients passing to nurture the plant. Overall, the best thing to do is to provide the plant with well-draining, aerated soil. You must mix in orchid bark, worm castings or peat to increase the aeration in the soil.
Additionally, ensure the pot has well-draining holes so that water can run through easily. Never let the roots sit in water as this is one of the biggest causes for the development of fungal diseases, thereby white spots on the leaves
– Use Fertilizer Sparingly
Succulents should not be exposed to a lot of fertilizer use. You could pass in just a bit of organic manure, especially during the growing months of the plan in spring and summer, because they will need sufficient strength to thrive and grow. However, you must at all costs avoid heavy formulas to prevent the mineral and salt from leaching into the roots.
– Use Filtered or Rain Water
Avoid hard water and use filtered or rain water instead to prevent any form of scaling on the leaf surface. Flush out the pot by running water through the soil and once it dries out completely begin watering it with filtered water. This should reduce the impact of hard water to a large extent.
– Regular Maintenance
Much as the succulents are hardy and easy to care for, regular maintenance is required to keep them thriving, to detect issues early and to keep pests at bay prune dead and decayed parts, especially in the era;y days of spring to boost growth and to give space for fresh foliage. However, you must also remember that pruning also reduces the occurrence of diseases.
Maintain good plant hygiene by regularly wiping the plant with a damp cloth. Overall, the latter will permit adequate sunlight to penetrate for photosynthesis. You may also wipe will also clear the white mold and farina on the leaf surface to make the plant look beautiful and green again.
Now that you know what is causing those white spots on your succulent leaves, you can easily tackle the problem without any hassles.
Let us summarize all that we have learned about this in the article above, in the section that follows.
- Several reasons can cause white spots on succulents such as mildew, excess salt buildup Farina, fungus, bacteria and mineral deposits. The problems may be several but the solutions to tackle them are easy.
- Powdery mildew is a white fungus that appears in the form of splotches and generally occurs when there is excess moisture around the plant.
- Insects such as mealybugs and white flies attack the plant and leave behind the sooty white mold. Additionally, fertilizers also cause excess salt buildup in the plant.
- Another condition that causes white spots is edema due to excess moisture which can lead to white tiny boil spots.
- To tackle the conditions, maintain proper plant hygiene, reduce the use of fertilizers and ensure the plant has a proper watering schedule. Succulents need bright light, proper drainage and well-draining soil.
Taking care of these are ways to keep the plant foliage healthy and green without any white spots for a long time.
Having understood how easy it is to manage and maintain a succulent free of any spots, you can now include them in your garden and grab eyeballs. Wait no longer and get them into your life soon, so that they can add some charm and delight in every way.
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