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Diseases of succulents
Those who are commonly referred to as "succulent plants" are actually a very specific category of plants that is called "succulent plants". The characteristic that distinguishes them from other normal plants is the ability to be able to accumulate large quantities of water inside them to be able to exploit them in times of drought. The accumulation takes place thanks to the so-called aquifer parenchyma which releases its contents gradually giving the plant the possibility of having a very high autonomy. This degree of specialization was reached in the course of the centuries as a response to the difficult conditions of the habitats chosen by these plants. In fact they originate from very arid and desert areas characterized by particular climates that see the alternation of highly rainy seasons and completely dry seasons.
Problems related to incorrect cultivation
As mentioned above, the major problems created for succulents are those related to a cultivation that does not follow the basic rules.
One of the elements that must be considered first of all is the vase. It is advisable to use one of terracotta, which is able to accommodate the plant comfortably and above all that has the drain holes in the lower part. This aspect is fundamental to avoid the creation of stagnation in the vessel. Succulent plants do not need a constant water supply so a quantity of excess water can cause the death of the individual. Other elements that could affect the health of the plant are linked to the characteristics of the environment in which it is found. High humidity causes the same damage as excessive water; temperatures that are too low are not welcome and even cause deep fractures on "leaves" and stems that very often cannot be recovered.
In general, a situation of uneasiness of the plant can be recognized, linked to the problems described above, based on its bearing and coloring.
The first symptoms are the loss of turgor and the formation of roughness on the surface of the plant. As for the coloring, it is probable that after having administered large quantities of water for a long time, there will be clearly visible dark spots and that, in any case, you pass from green to yellow.
If you notice these symptoms in time, the plant could be recovered by modulating the water you give it and making sure there are no stagnations inside the pot. These are just some of the problems that lead to the onset of diseases.
Diseases related to the presence of parasites
Every plant, succulent or not, is often subjected to the attack of parasitic insects that invade it completely until it dies.
There are many species of small pests that are sometimes species-specific, preferring one plant to another. As each animal organism has its pool of bacteria and viruses, each plant has its own pool of parasites.
In the case of succulent plants, the most widespread and dangerous are aphids, cochineals and red spider mites.
Aphids are also called "plant lice" because of their parasitic characteristics. They do not prefer one or a few species of plants, but they manage to adapt almost in all, from those more resistant to the weaker ones. They have a mouthparts with a perforating and absorbent function, in fact they feed on the sap of the plants, with a high sugar content. The excess is expelled in the form of honeydew that attracts insects and mushrooms. The proliferation of the latter, to form the so-called fumaggine, blocks the photosynthesis of the plant by removing the light and bringing it to death.
Scale insects are small arthropods that infest different plant species by feeding on the liquids contained within them and facilitating the entry into the tissues of other harmful microorganisms including viruses. There are about 200 species of scale insects. The first symptoms are given by the presence of anomalous colorations on the plant and molds or fungi that feed on the waste materials of these arthropods. Also in this case there is the formation of fumaggine of dark color and therefore a decrease of the photosynthetic activities of the plant.
The red spider mite is a small mite that infests succulent plants and sucks its sap. It is one of the most difficult problems to eliminate due to its rapid reproductive cycles. Its presence is shown thanks to small plant macules which take on a bronzed color. Sometimes it can lead to the formation of real wounds on the surface that expose the internal tissues to the attack of other pathogenic organisms.
Succulent plants diseases: How to treat succulents from infection by parasites
Obviously care must be given promptly and the number one advice is to use chemical insecticides that are effective and rapid. For those wishing to try their hand at self-care, they can remove the parasites manually with the help of a brush and vaporize on the seed oil or soy plant (which prevents the parasite from adhering to the plant), or clean it with a wad soaked in denatured alcohol; in both cases, avoid the excess of product that could create problems in carrying out the normal physiological processes of the plant.
In case you have a large number of succulent plants you can also use biological methods to combat pests, for example with the use of ladybirds.