How to Get Rid of Aphids on Succulents

Succulents are becoming more popular among plant lovers. They’re easy to care for, aesthetic, and aid in air purification and humidity control. Unfortunately, succulents can be prone to aphids, which are tiny sap-sucking insects.

Aphids can cause serious damage to succulents, but you can easily get rid of them using water, soap, alcohol, insecticides, or predator bugs. Picking the best way to eliminate aphids depends on the type of succulent and the severity of the infestation.

If you see aphids on your succulents while watering them, don’t worry. In this article, we’ll tell you how to get rid of aphids on succulents using different methods.

Aphids on a plant

How to Identify Aphids on Succulents?

Aphids are small sap-sucking insects that often appear on succulents and other plants. They aggregate on the underside of leaves where they insert their proboscis to suck the plant’s sap.

To get rid of aphids, you have to identify them first. Here are some signs to look for if you suspect you’re dealing with aphids:

Inspect Your Plants for Aphids

Regular inspection is the best way to detect aphids on your succulents. Aphids come in many colors, including green, yellow, white, black, and brown. They’re soft-bodied and pear-shaped, which makes them hard to identify if you don’t inspect your plants carefully.

Check the underside and crevices of the leaves; aphids like to hide there.

Look for Aphids’ Eggs and Honeydew

Another handy way to detect aphids is to look for their eggs. Aphids lay eggs in clusters. They’re usually yellow, orange, or black. Also, aphids produce honeydew as they feed, which is a sticky sugary substance.

When honeydew accumulates, it might form a sooty mold, which is a black mold that can prevent light from reaching your plant’s leaves.

If you see honeydew or sooty mold on your succulents or the ground below them, you can be pretty sure that you’re dealing with aphids.

Read more: How To Bottom Water Succulents (Plus Care Tips)

How to Remove Aphids on Succulents?

Once you’re sure you’re dealing with aphids, it’s time to take action. It’s good to note that the sooner you remove them the better. That’s because aphids can spread quickly and infest nearby plants.

Here are 10 ways to get rid of aphids on succulents:

1.   Use a Paper Towel

A simple and effective way to get rid of aphids is to remove them manually. This method only works if you encounter a dozen or fewer aphids.

To do this, use a wet or dry paper towel and pick up any visible aphids, and crush them. After that, dispose of the dead aphids in a garbage bag and inspect your plant again for any aphids left.

You should avoid rubbing aphids off and let them fall into the ground as this will cause re-infestation. After you finish removing aphids, make sure to clean your plant of any residue or sap to prevent future infestation.

2.   Spray Aphids With a Water Hose

Surprisingly, a strong stream of water from a garden hose is usually more than enough to get rid of aphids on your succulents.

Spray your succulents and plants carefully every morning, and ensure you spray the undersides of your leaves until you remove all aphids.

3.   Kill Aphids With Soap

Want an effective home remedy for aphids? Dish soap is your best friend. Soap prevents aphids from breathing as it clogs their spiracles.

You can prepare an aphid-killing solution at home using only dish soap and water. Mix three teaspoons of soap with one quart of water in a spray bottle and shake well.

Spray your succulents regularly with the cleaning solution until the aphids are gone. Additionally, you can use a small cotton swab to reach any tight areas where aphids may hide.

4.   Get Rid of Aphids Using Alcohol

Another homemade insecticide is mixing 70% alcohol with water and spraying it on the affected areas of your succulents.

To prepare, mix five cups of water with two cups of alcohol in a spray bottle. You can add dish soap for a stronger mixture.

Note that this mixture shouldn’t be sprayed over the entire plant but only on the affected parts. You might also need to repeat applications depending on how many aphids are there.

5.   Use Insecticidal Soap

Spraying Insecticidal Soap

Insecticidal soap is a traditional and effective tool to get rid of aphids on succulents. Simply put, insecticidal soap is soap mixed with an insecticide. It’s made of potassium and fatty acids and has been used for centuries by farmers and gardeners.

It kills soft-bodied insects, bugs, and aphids by disrupting their cell membrane. Also, it’s safe for plants, animals, and humans.

You can buy insecticidal soap from local stores or make it at home. To prepare insecticidal soap at home, mix one cup of vegetable oil with one tablespoon of dish soap. Then, just spray your succulents in the morning, and it will kill any aphids it contacts within 24 hours.

6.   Use Neem Oil

Neem oil is a natural pesticide that’s obtained from the neem tree. It aids in killing aphids, pests, and insects. To add, it’s organic, non-toxic, and doesn’t kill beneficial insects.

You can either make your neem oil or use commercial neem oil to get rid of aphids.

7.  Introduce Predator Insects

Not all insects harm your plants and succulents. Introducing beneficial insects such as ladybugs or lacewings to your greenhouse can help you get rid of aphids by feeding on them.

You can either buy beneficial insects online or from a local store or plant flowers that attract beneficial insects.

8.  Grow Insect Repelling Plants Nearby

Oregano plant

In case you’re not a fan of spraying insecticides or introducing predator insects, you can plant strongly scented plants nearby to repel insects.

Plants such as onions, garlic, sage, oregano, and basil have strong scents that can repel insects away from your succulents. If that’s not enough, they make an excellent addition to your home-cooked meals.

9.  Use Diatomaceous Earth to Repel Aphids

Diatomaceous earth is a natural and organic way to repel aphids and pests. The powder is made from the remains of algae and other aquatic organisms. It kills aphids by absorbing lipids from their body which causes them to dehydrate and die.

To use diatomaceous earth for aphids, sprinkle the powder around your plant’s base. You might need to reapply it after raining or watering, but it’s an excellent method to maintain resilient succulents in the long term.

10. Remove Infected Leaves and Branches

In cases of heavy aphid infestations, spraying insecticides might not be optimal, especially if aphids invade the whole succulent plant.

You might need to cut back the infected leaves and branches carefully leaving only the healthy leaves. It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t remove more than one-third of the branches or your plant may die.

After you remove the infected leaves, dispose of them properly in garbage bags and never put them near other plants.

Related: Fast Growing Succulents

To Wrap Up

Aphids can cause major damage to your plants and succulents as they disrupt their ability to photosynthesize. What’s more, aphids can easily spread from one plant to another. That’s why it’s essential to get rid of them as soon as possible.

Answering the question of how to get rid of aphids on succulents, there are several approaches to this. In case you have only a few aphids, you can go ahead and remove them manually using a dry or wet towel.

If you have more than a dozen of aphids, it would be best to get rid of them using your garden’s hose. Using chemicals or insecticides is also effective in getting rid of aphids.

You can spray aphids with alcohol, dish soap, neem oil, or insecticidal soap. If all else fails, then cutting the infected leaves and branches might be your last option.