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5 Succulent Diseases With Pictures (And Organic Treatment)

A fungal disease that affects your succulents can be deadly. Sadly, not enough people are aware of this fact.

Succulents have only recently been used for indoor gardening, which explains why this is the case. As a result, diseases and their causes have not been studied as thoroughly as in other plants.

In all cases, the cause can be pest damage or care errors that create a favorable environment for the disease to emerge.

No matter how challenging the succulents are, there are still some issues to be aware of. I’ll do my best to explain the most common pests and diseases that affect these plants, as well as the best ways to combat them.

A Couple Of Rules For Dealing With Succulent Fungal Diseases

  • Any damage to the plant’s health necessitates the drying of the damaged surface. The greater the extent of the injury, the longer it takes to dry out. This is also true when cutting cuttings for propagation.
  • As soon as the disease is suspected, the plant should be moved to a dry location and not watered.
  • Look for any areas of decay in the root system. Repot the plant with new soil and a new container after removing the infected parts.
  • All of the plant’s decayed upperparts are removed, leaving only the healthy tissues. Then, you can disinfect the knife with chlorhexidine solution.
  • Check for pests on the succulent, as they can spread fungus or leave a wound that will rot over time.

Fusarium Blight Damages Roots and Xylem Tissues

The same disease that troubles gardeners can spread to your windowsill. The succulent’s roots and xylem tissues are affected, and it grows upward from there. 

An open wound reveals the rust-colored tissues. The stem is black, soft, and rotting when you touch it. It is fusarium that causes internal decay in a humid environment with excess water. The base of the stem is usually the first place to succumb to decay.

External signs include stunted growth, reduced leaf and trunk turgor, and pale coloration. In addition, its stem begins to dry out and may fall off.

Use a disinfected knife to remove and treat the infected area. After that, place the plant in a cool, dry place to heal. 

Make sure the soil is free from infection, to ensure that treat it with fungicide. It is better to replace the old soil with a fresh new one. 

Also, disinfect and treat the old pot with boiling water to remove the remaining fungal spores. 

Fusarium Blight Damages Roots and Xylem Tissues

Traditional Treatment for Fusarium Blight

[1] If your succulent is severely infested, there’s no saving it; better to uproot and bury it elsewhere. If you find any small lesions, you can simply cut out the diseased areas with a sterilized knife and treat the wounds with alcohol or fungicide. 

Treat the pots, window sills, and curtains with Revitalize Biofungicide to prevent further infection. You can grow a new succulent from the healthy shoots of the infected one.

[2] The second solution formula is: 

  • a quart of freshwater
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp dishwashing liquid

Mix them together and spray your infected succulents once a week. If the infection is in its early stages, this method will be effective.

[3] Add one cup of fine wood ash to the soap solution (1 tbsp per 2 liters of water). Use the solution twice, each time seven days apart.

Root Rot or Late Blight

Mushy of Soft Root Indicates Root Rot
Mushy of Soft Root Indicates Root Rot

This disease is most common in succulents that have been overwatered. Wet and soggy soil promotes the growth of the phytophthora fungus, which causes root rot and spreads to the upper parts of the succulent.

Root rot is terrible news for the entire plant. The most important thing is to notice the disease as early as possible. Then, to save your succulent, trim off any diseased parts and allow it to air dry completely. 

You can then use charcoal powder or a disinfectant solution to treat the wounds. All of this, however, will only have an effect in the early stages of the disease.

Therefore, removing the infected plant and its soil is preferable. You must disinfect the pot and dirt to prevent further spread.

Succulent Root Rot Spreading Upper Parts
Succulent Root Rot Spreading Upper Parts

Organic Treatment

Infuse 1 glass of water with chopped garlic for 24 hours. Then filter it, add 10 liters of water, and 1 g of potassium permanganate. Spray three times a week for 15 days.

Brown Spots on Succulents

 Brown Spots on Succulent Leaves
Brown Spots on Succulent Leaves

Succulents and cacti both have round, light-colored spots deepened into the leaf tissue or brown spots where plant tissue dries out, hardens, and becomes crusty.

Treat the brown spots with a sharp knife and charcoal powder, and then treat the cut portion with charcoal. Unfortunately, the one-time appearance of your succulent will not be restored.

Brown Spots on Succulent

Organic Treatments For Brown Spots on Succulents

  • Infuse Two heads of garlic in two liters of water for 12 hours. To the resulting concentrate, add liquid soap and 4 liters of water. Spray the succulent three times every ten days.
  • A glass of soda should be diluted in 10 liters of water. Then spray the sick succulent four times every 14 days.

Soft Rot Disease of Succulent

 Soft Rot or Crown Disease of Succulent
Soft Rot or Crown Disease of Succulent

Soft rot spreads quickly and can quickly kill a succulent in days. It is caused by the bacterium Erwinia carotovora. You may notice the disease when a rotten spot covers most of your succulent’s stems and leaves. 

Sometimes the rot affects the crown first, then it is called crown rot. The entire diseased tissue should be cut out and sprinkled with charcoal powder or a special preparation if the area is small. Even hardy succulents like lithops are not safe from this rot. 

Most of the time, you need to discard your affected succulent.  However, this problem is more likely to arise when the soil is overwatered in the winter and fall. It is also triggered when cold water is used for irrigation.

Organic Remedy for Soft Rot Diseases

  • Allow five liters of hot water and 50 grams of mustard powder to sit for two days. Then, spray the solution on the leaves of your sick succulents after diluting it with 5 liters of water (making it 10 liters).
  • Another traditional method is to spray the plants three times a week with 10 drops of pharmaceutical iodine diluted in 10 liters of water.

Dry Rot Disease Damages The Root Collar

Succulent Root Collar Rotting
Succulent Root Collar Rotting

Dry rot is a fungus that attacks the root collar of plants and causes them to rot. 

As a result, the succulents develop brown-red round spots with a yellow border. They dry out and crumble as the infected tissue decomposes.

The most invasive disease, even though there is no rot as such. Dry spots appear on succulent stems, under which the dried tissue of the plant hides. 

It is impossible to treat this disease, so it is best to destroy the plant and disinfect the window sill and containers in which the plant was. A single treatment with fungicides is recommended for prevention:

Succulent Dry Rot Disease
Succulent Dry Rot Disease

Traditional Treatment Methods

  • Water the succulents with a weak potassium manganese solution once every two weeks to prevent disease.
  • There are no effective treatments for dry rot. To prevent disease spread, discard the entire plant and spray other plants with a broad-spectrum fungicide.

For the treatment of fungal diseases. Here are the fungicides I recommend:

Name of The FungicideAmountAmount of Water
Bonide 811 Copper 4E Fungicide1-4 tablespoons (.05-2.0 fl oz)1 gallon of water
Garden Safe Brand Fungicide32 tablespoons (1 fl oz) 1 gallon of water
Southern Ag – Liquid Copper Fungicide3-4 tablespoons1 gallon of water

The Physiological Disorders of Succulents

Viruses or fungi cause not all diseases; some physiological disorders can mimic these conditions. Unfavorable environmental conditions frequently cause damage to succulents. Plants’ natural processes are commonly hampered by careless gardening.

Understanding the needs of succulents ahead of time is crucial for successful cultivation, as failure to do so can result in the development of physiological disorders.

The first step in successfully growing succulents is providing the ideal environment for them, especially during the active growth phase. A temperature that is too low can slow or even stop plant growth.

It’s also not a good idea to add dry air to a room to raise the temperature by a lot, as this can cause heat stroke. This makes succulents lose their leaves and causes burns and white spots on the surface of their leaves or shoots.

Providing the plant with the proper substrate when growing succulents is critical.

If the pH isn’t correct, succulents can’t absorb iron properly, which causes chlorophyll to disappear and the leaves to turn yellow. The soil should also be light and well-drained to avoid water retention, leading to root rot.

Plenty of sunlight is also necessary for succulents. Lack of light causes plant wilting, abnormal coloration, and deformation.

Why Do Succulents Get Diseases?

The Succulent Is Susceptible to Diseases Due to a Lack of Light

Succulents have a lot of issues if they don’t get enough sunlight. Because of a lack of light, plants grow long and thin; their color fades, and they may even change so dramatically that it is impossible to tell what kind of plant they are.

The lack of light causes a wide range of diseases, including rot. So before you buy exotic succulents, check to see if you can provide them with adequate lighting.

You may need to purchase special lamps for extra lighting during the fall and winter months.

Insufficient light prevents flowering species from forming flower buds, so they will not bloom. But if you hang daylight lamps over these flowers and extend the daylight hours to 10-12 hours, the situation can be remedied.

Excessive Sunlight Causes Sunburn

Sunburn occurs when plants from a shady window sill are placed on a sunny terrace in direct sunlight. First, spots may appear, and the plant may die out completely if left in the sun for too long.

If you’re growing succulents outside during the summer, you should use a lightweight cloth to provide some protection from the hot sun.

In some cases, bright sunlight can devastate plants from their winter dormancy. Succulents need to be gradually exposed to sunlight, starting with just an hour or two in the afternoon on the first few days.

Then, slowly increase the amount of time. After that, you can leave the plants out all day, but if it’s scorching, you’ll need a dark curtain. Burns appeared in the form of brown spots and the eroding of the upper layer of leaves. 

Improper Watering Can Lead to Diseases

Ideally, the watering schedule should mimic a natural environment for succulents. However, some are desert and semi-desert natives, so water them only when the soil is dry.

To ensure the health of your succulents, you must determine how much and how frequently to water them. Lack of water and overwatering are risk factors for fungal and bacterial disease in succulents.

The best time to water is in the morning, so the water droplets have time to dry before the midday heat begins. 

The best time to water is in the morning, so the water droplets have time to dry before the midday heat begins. 

If you water in the evening, the water on the leaves will have time to evaporate. This is done so that the water droplets do not act as lenses, magnifying the light on the succulent’s surface.

Spraying a plant in the sun during the day will cause burns that are difficult to heal, so you shouldn’t do it.

Winter Watering

Some succulents, such as Haworthia, do not entirely go into dormancy during winter. During the winter months, you should wait until the soil is arid before watering. The leaves will also tell you that everything is okay by their elasticity. 

Wilting leaves and weak shoot turgidity indicate either under-or over-watering or the presence of disease.

Generally speaking, you should water the succulent once every two to three weeks, but only a little at once. The amount of water needed for a small plant is about 5 ml.

Increase Watering Frequency During summer

Summer brings a new set of physiological activities to the fore. Some begin to adjust to the heat and attempt to establish deep roots. 

When the top 1-2 inches of soil on your succulents become dry, it’s time to water them again. You can also mist your succulents with clean water if the weather is too hot.

Use filtered water instead of tap water to water your succulents. You can also let the tap water sit overnight before using it to water your plants, as heavy materials and impurities will have time to settle. Alternatively, you can boil the water to soften it. Rainwater is the best water for succulents, but water should always be at room temperature.

Temperature Changes Can Affect Plant Disease Resistance

It’s critical for succulents’ growth and resting periods to be at the proper temperature. For the rest period, succulents prefer a cool, ventilated place and are ideally suited to the temperature of our apartments.

Bring heat-loving succulents indoors if the winter frosts are severe, but keep them away from heating radiators.

Temperatures between 77 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (25 and 27 degrees Celsius) are ideal for succulent growth and development.

Higher temperatures and humidity can cause your succulents to burn. A lack of fresh air can lead to the death of plants.

Succulent growth slows down at low temperatures of 50-60 °F (10-15 °C), usually during the winter rest.

On the other hand, overwatering during this time can result in severe fungal and bacterial diseases and pest infestations.

Suitable Growing Medium For Healthy Succulents

Aloe, Gasteria, and Agave are all true succulents and are not suitable for store-bought peat-based soil mixtures. 

They have adapted their roots to the solid, breathable rocks that these succulents thrive on.

It is necessary to create a mineral substrate with a small amount of organic matter: gravel, pebbles, zeolite, and acadama are examples.

Add sand after washing it in a disinfectant solution and drying it. Make sure that crushed charcoal is present in the substrate. Mineral fertilizers supply all the nutrients that plants are missing for healthy growth.

Rotting diseases of the roots and root collars of plants can be prevented by well-aerated soil. Because of this, it is best to make the substrate yourself.

Here’s how to make your succulent soil. 

Stir the mixture thoroughly to ensure that it’s evenly distributed:

  • 1 part commercially available peat-based transplanting soil;
  • 2 parts sand, perlite or pumice;
  • 1 part zeolite;
  • Ground charcoal.

It is best to check the recommendations for a specific succulent before deciding on a substrate formulation. In some cases, shungite from water filters is used by succulent growers.

It should take up about a third to a fourth of the pot. Make sure you have plenty of drainages, and don’t skimp on them. 

In general, choose wide and not tall pots for succulents based on the length of the roots. In addition, the pot’s bottom must have large enough holes for water to drain freely.

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