If your plants are looking ill, chances are, you’re wondering what eats succulents and how to get rid of them.

Thankfully, we have the answers to help get your succulent plants back to their healthiest state.

Succulents, with their fleshy leaves and captivating variety, have become staples in many households and gardens.

These hardy plants are cherished for their ability to thrive in various conditions, but they’re not immune to pests and diseases.

As succulent growers, it’s essential to arm ourselves with knowledge about what eats succulents and how to protect our plant collection from these threats.

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What Eats Succulents: Mealybugs and More

Among the most common pests that target succulents are scale insects and mealybugs.

These soft-bodied insects feast on the plant’s tissues, sucking out the sap and leaving behind a sugary substance known as honeydew.

This sugary residue often attracts ants and can lead to the growth of sooty mold, further harming the plant.Red spider mites, tiny insects barely visible to the naked eye, also pose a threat.

They typically infest the underside of leaves, causing stippling and webbing, which inhibit the plant’s ability to photosynthesize effectively.

Fungus gnats are another nuisance, laying eggs in the soil and their larvae feeding on the roots, leading to significant damage.

Succulents, with their unique textures and vibrant colors, are attractive not only to humans but also to various pests and animals.

Some of the common creatures that feed on succulents include:

Scale Insects and Mealybugs:  

These soft-bodied insects are among the most common pests that infest succulents. They suck the sap from the plant’s tissues, weakening it and leaving behind a sticky residue.

Red Spider Mites:

These tiny arachnids feed on the underside of succulent leaves, causing stippling and webbing, which can hinder the plant’s ability to photosynthesize.

Fungus Gnats:

These small flies lay their eggs in the soil of succulents. Their larvae feed on the plant’s roots, potentially causing significant damage and even death if left unchecked.


These small, pear-shaped insects can be found on the stems and leaves of succulents, sucking out the plant’s juices and causing deformities.

Snails and Slugs:

These mollusks are known to munch on succulent leaves, leaving behind jagged tear marks and causing significant damage, especially to tender new growth.

Birds and Larger Animals:

Some outdoor succulents may fall prey to birds, rabbits, or other animals that find them appetizing. These animals may nibble on the leaves or dig up the plants, causing harm to the succulents.

Prairie Dogs:

In regions where prairie dogs are prevalent, these rodents can also pose a threat to outdoor succulents by digging up and damaging the roots.

Environmental Factors:

In addition to pests and animals, succulents may also face challenges from environmental factors such as extreme weather conditions, fungal diseases, and overexposure to sunlight.

Understanding what eats succulents is crucial for succulent growers to implement effective pest control measures and protect their plants from harm.

Regular inspection, proper hygiene practices, and timely intervention are key to maintaining healthy and thriving succulent gardens.

Protective Measures to Keep Pests off Succulents

The good news is that there are effective ways to combat these pests and keep your succulents thriving.

For a simple solution, a spray bottle filled with soapy water can be used to physically remove pests from the plant.

Dish soap or insecticidal soap can be effective in controlling soft-bodied insects like mealybugs and aphids.

For a more targeted approach, rubbing alcohol applied with a cotton swab can be used to remove pests from affected areas.

Just be cautious not to overuse alcohol, as it can damage the plant’s tissue.

Neem oil is a natural repellent that can deter many common garden pests while also combating fungal diseases.

A solution of neem oil and water sprayed onto the plant can help prevent infestations and protect against future attacks.

Protecting succulents from being eaten by pests and animals requires a combination of preventive measures and targeted interventions.

Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to safeguard your beloved succulents:

1. Inspect Regularly: 

Make it a habit to inspect your succulents regularly for signs of pest infestation or animal damage.

Check both the foliage and the soil for any signs of pests, such as scale insects, mealybugs, or aphids, as well as evidence of animal activity, like bite marks or digging.

2. Quarantine New Plants:

Before introducing new succulents to your collection, quarantine them for a few weeks to ensure they are free from pests. This can help prevent the spread of infestations to your existing plants.

3. Maintain Good Hygiene:

Keep your succulent garden clean and tidy by removing dead leaves and debris, which can attract pests and provide hiding places for them.

Regularly clean your pots and containers to prevent the buildup of mold and bacteria.

4. Provide Optimal Growing Conditions:

Healthy succulents are better equipped to withstand pest attacks.

Ensure your plants receive adequate sunlight, proper drainage, and appropriate watering to promote robust growth and resilience against pests and diseases.

5. Use Physical Barriers:

Create barriers around outdoor succulents to deter larger animals, such as birds or rabbits, from accessing them. This can be done using fences, netting, or other protective structures.

6. Apply Natural Repellents:

Some natural repellents, such as predator urine or peppermint oil, can deter pests and animals from approaching your succulents.

Apply these repellents around the perimeter of your garden or directly onto the plants for added protection.

7. Introduce Beneficial Insects:

 Consider introducing beneficial insects, such as ladybugs or lacewings, to your succulent garden.

These natural predators can help control pest populations by feeding on common pests like aphids and mealybugs.

8. Implement Targeted Treatments:

If you notice signs of pest infestation, such as insect activity or damage to the foliage, take immediate action to address the problem.

Depending on the severity of the infestation, you may choose to use insecticidal soap, neem oil, or other organic pesticides to control the pests.

9. Monitor and Adjust:

​ Keep a close eye on your succulents and monitor their health regularly.

If you notice any signs of pest activity or damage, adjust your pest control measures accordingly to effectively manage the problem.

By following these preventive measures and implementing targeted interventions, you can effectively protect your succulents from being eaten by pests and animals, ensuring they remain healthy and thriving in your garden or home.

Preventative Measures for Succulents

To prevent pests from taking hold in the first place, inspect new plants thoroughly before introducing them to your collection.

Pay close attention to the underside of leaves, where pests often hide.

Quarantine new additions for a few weeks to ensure they’re pest-free before integrating them with your existing succulents.

Creating a physical barrier around outdoor succulents can also deter larger animals like prairie dogs or birds from causing damage.

Furthermore, placing rocks or gravel around the base of the plants can prevent digging and protect against root damage.

Natural Predators and Repellents for Succulents

Introducing beneficial insects like ladybugs or lacewings to your succulent garden can help control pest populations naturally.

Ladybugs, in particular, are voracious predators of aphids and mealybugs, making them valuable allies in the fight against pests.

For those dealing with outdoor pests like prairie dogs, predator urine can be used as a deterrent.

Sprinkling the urine around the perimeter of the garden can discourage these animals from getting too close.

Natural predators and repellents play a crucial role in controlling pest populations and protecting succulents from being eaten by pests and animals.

Here’s a closer look at how these natural methods can be used to safeguard your succulent garden:

1. Beneficial Insects:

Ladybugs (Lady Beetles): Ladybugs are voracious predators of aphids, mealybugs, and other soft-bodied insects that feed on succulents. They can be purchased and released into your garden to help control pest populations.

Lacewings: Lacewing larvae are effective predators of aphids, thrips, and other small insects that infest succulents. Adult lacewings feed on nectar and pollen, making them valuable pollinators as well.

Praying Mantises: Praying mantises are skilled hunters that feed on a variety of pests, including flies, moths, and beetles. They can be introduced to your garden as natural predators of insect pests.

2. Predatory Birds:

​Certain bird species, such as sparrows, finches, and warblers, feed on insects and other small pests that may infest succulents.

Encouraging bird activity in your garden by providing bird feeders, bird baths, and nesting sites can help control pest populations naturally.

3. Predator Urine:

Predator urine, such as that from foxes or coyotes, can be used as a deterrent to keep animals like rabbits, deer, or prairie dogs away from succulents.

Sprinkling predator urine around the perimeter of your garden or near vulnerable plants can help prevent animal damage.

4. Peppermint Oil and Other Repellents:

Peppermint oil and other essential oils, such as lavender or citrus oils, have strong scents that can repel pests like aphids, ants, and mealybugs.

Dilute the essential oil with water and spray it directly onto the succulents to create a natural barrier against pests.

Additionally, certain plants, such as marigolds, chrysanthemums, and garlic, contain natural compounds that repel insects.

Planting these repellent plants alongside your succulents can help deter pests.

5. Neem Oil:

Neem oil, derived from the seeds of the neem tree, has insecticidal properties and can be used to control a wide range of pests, including aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites.

It acts as both a repellent and a growth regulator, disrupting the life cycle of pests.

6. Physical Barriers:

Physical barriers, such as netting or row covers, can be used to protect succulents from birds, rabbits, and other larger animals.

Install these barriers around vulnerable plants to prevent access and minimize damage.

By harnessing the power of natural predators and repellents, succulent growers can effectively manage pest populations while minimizing the use of synthetic pesticides.

These eco-friendly methods not only protect succulents from being eaten but also promote a healthy and balanced ecosystem in the garden.

What To Do with an Infected Plant

Dealing with an infected succulent can be difficult and feel disheartening. However, with prompt action and appropriate measures, you can often save the plant and prevent the spread of the infection to other succulents in your collection.

Here’s what you should do if you discover that one of your succulents is infected:

1. Isolate the Infected Plant: 

The first step is to isolate the infected plant from your other succulents to prevent the spread of the infection. Move it to a separate location, preferably away from other plants, until the issue is resolved.

2. Identify the Cause of Infection: 

Take a close look at the infected plant to identify the type of infection and its underlying cause.

Look for signs of pests, such as scale insects, mealybugs, or aphids, as well as symptoms of fungal diseases, such as mold, rot, or discoloration.

3. Remove Affected Parts: 

Carefully inspect the infected plant and remove any affected parts, such as damaged leaves, stems, or roots.

Use sterilized pruning shears or scissors to prevent spreading the infection further.

4. Treat the Infection: 

Depending on the type of infection, you may need to treat the plant with appropriate remedies.

For pest infestations, consider using organic insecticidal soap, neem oil, or rubbing alcohol to control the pests.

For fungal diseases, such as root rot or powdery mildew, apply a fungicide specifically formulated for succulents.

5. Improve Growing Conditions: 

Evaluate the growing conditions of the infected plant to identify any factors that may have contributed to its susceptibility to infection.

Ensure proper drainage, adequate sunlight, and appropriate watering practices to promote the plant’s overall health and resilience.

6. Monitor and Maintain Vigilance: 

Keep a close eye on the infected plant and monitor its progress after treatment. Check for any signs of recurring infection or new symptoms that may indicate ongoing issues.

Continue to practice good hygiene and preventative measures to protect your other succulents from potential infections.

7. Consider Quarantine: 

If you suspect that other succulents in your collection may be at risk of infection, consider quarantining them as a precautionary measure.

Monitor these plants closely for any signs of infection and take appropriate action if necessary.

8. Seek Professional Advice: 

If you’re unsure about how to treat the infection or if it persists despite your efforts, consider seeking advice from a professional gardener, horticulturist, or plant expert.

They can provide personalized recommendations and guidance based on the specific needs of your succulents.

Conclusion: What Eats Succulents

While pests and diseases pose a threat to our beloved succulents, there are many effective methods for protecting them and keeping them healthy.

By staying vigilant, practicing good plant hygiene, and using natural remedies, succulent growers can ensure their plants thrive for years to come.

So next time you notice tiny insects or black spots on your succulents, don’t panic—armed with knowledge and a few simple tools, you can keep your plants happy and flourishing.

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