Powdery Mildew on Succulents: All You Need to Know

Does your houseplant collection include cacti or echeverias? If it does, you may be wondering what causes the growth of powdery mildew on succulents.

Powdery mildew can form on succulents due to fungal infection, infestation by insects such as mealy bugs, and mineral build-up from tap water. The best way to treat powdery mildew is to use neem oil or vinegar-based fungicidal sprays.

Read on to learn more about how to deal with powdery mildew.

What Is That Powdery Mildew on Your Succulents?

Powdery Mildew on Succulent

If your succulent plant has developed a powdery formation on its stem and leaves, you must be wondering what it is exactly.

The culprit is most probably the Ascomycota family of fungi. The effect of these fungi isn’t limited to succulents, though; it can cause the formation of powdery mildew on a variety of plant species. They’re also responsible for the occurrence of apple scabs and black knots in plants.

The ill effects of Ascomycota fungi can also affect humans, causing a variety of ailments, primarily skin infections.

Why Is Powdery Mildew Forming on Your Succulents?

The powdery mildew that’s all over your succulent’s surface may also be a result of factors other than a fungal infection.

Here are some possible things that may be the reason for the issues you’re facing with your succulent plant:

Exposure to Tap Water

When you’re watering your succulents, you should ideally be using distilled water. This is because using tap water makes your plants susceptible to mineral buildup in their system.

The same is true for mineral water since it contains salts and minerals that alter the pH of the soil. In both cases, this stunts the growth of your plant and causes powdery mildew to form.

The succulents that are most at risk of mineral build-up are Haworthias and Jade plants.

Natural Wax Coating

It’s important to note that the presence of powdery mildew on your succulent doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s a problem. It may actually be a sign that your plant is healthy and thriving

For some variations of succulents, including Echeverias, it’s completely normal for them to have a waxy layer on their leaves. This can easily be mistaken for powdery mildew.

The purpose of this wax formation is to shelter your succulent’s leaves from excessive sun exposure. It also makes it easier for excess water to slide off the leaves instead of being absorbed by them.

Mealy Bug Infestation

Another possible reason for the powdery mildew on your succulent plant is a pest infestation, mealy bugs in specific.

These are pesky insects that latch themselves in the crevices between your plant’s leaves. Once one of them gets a hold of your plant, they can multiply at a lightning pace.

The result is the build-up of powdery white growths on your succulent.

Also Check: Black Spots on Succulents: What Causes Them and What to Do About Them?

How to Prevent Powdery Mildew From Forming on Succulents

Despite the fact that the powdery formation on your succulent may simply be its naturally occurring wax layer, there’s a greater chance that it’s a real threat to your plant’s health.

So, it’s important for you to know the measures you need to take to limit the possibility of powdery mildew growing on your plant.

Here are some of them:

Using Protective Sprays

watering succulents 6 1

One way in which you can significantly reduce the risk of your succulents developing powdery mildew is to use preventative sprays. If you want this measure to be effective, it needs to be a consistent aspect of your succulent care regimen.

When deciding on which substance to use, you should keep in mind that going natural is almost always the best option. This is because the chemicals in synthetic sprays may harm your plant, as well as the environment.

The best option to go for is baking soda sprays.

Placing Your Succulents in a Well-Ventilated Area

Another factor to keep in mind is how well the air is circulating in your plant’s immediate vicinity.

Providing your succulents with adequate airflow and ventilation is key because it creates an environment that’s not conducive to fungal growth.

Since fungal infection is the number one cause of powdery mildew, preventing it should be the primary concern.

Making Sure Your Succulents Have Adequate Space

Even if you have your succulents placed in the most well-ventilated spot in your home, this won’t do much good unless you also give each plant room to breathe.

Sufficient spacing goes a long way in making your plants less likely to develop powdery mildew. It also limits the speed with which diseases and pest infestations can spread between each plant and the next.

Reader Also Checked: How to Propagate Succulents in Water

How to Get Rid of Powdery Mildew on Your Succulents

If your succulent plants have already fallen victim to powdery mildew and prevention is no longer an option, there are still steps you can take to rid your plants of their ailment.

The most effective cure for powdery mildew is the use of fungicidal sprays. As we’ve previously mentioned, you’re better off using sprays that are made of natural substances to limit the possibility of negative side effects.

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

1. Isolate the Plant

The first step in dealing with powdery mildew on your succulents is to separate the infested plants from the healthy ones. This mitigates the risk of the infestation spreading.

Ideally, you’ll want to cut off the infested leaves altogether. However, most people decide against this since it puts a damper on their succulents’ beautiful appearance.

Instead, they simply move the infested plant in its entirety to a spot that’s far away from the rest.

2. Apply Fungicidal Spray

Now that you’ve isolated the plants that are experiencing issues with powdery mildew, the next step is to start the treatment process.

This is when you’ll need to take out that fungicidal spray and use it on the ailing plants. Luckily, most natural sprays are based on substances you can find around the house.

Here are some great ones you can use:

Vinegar

One highly effective active ingredient you can use to make your own fungicidal spray is vinegar.

Preparing the spray will require you to mix three tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with a gallon of water. Shake the mixture well, and now you’re good to go.

Make sure to spray your plant once a week for a month. It’s important to not over-spray since the acidic nature of vinegar can actually harm your plant.

Neem Oil

Indian Neem Oil

Another excellent choice for combatting the powdery mildew on your succulents is neem oil. This substance is a powerful pesticide, so you should reserve it for plants with particularly nasty infestations.

To get your neem oil spray ready, mix two tablespoons of neem oil with a gallon of water and two drops of organic soap. Make sure you shake the mixture well.

You’ll want to spray your plants once every week or twice a month until there are no more signs of powdery mildew on them.

Conclusion

There are several factors that can cause the formation of powdery mildew on succulents. They include fungal infection, mealy bug infestations, and mineral build-up from tap water.

As in most aspects of life, prevention is better than cure when it comes to dealing with powdery mildew. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that your succulents are adequately spaced and in a well-ventilated environment.

If it’s already too late, you can combat that pesky powdery mildew by using fungicidal sprays. Some organic sprays you can go for rely on active ingredients such as vinegar and neem oil.