Ants on a gasteria

You're aware of autumn in sun and shadows, shorter days and drier air, and so is your garden. Smart plant parents are attuned to wind, rain and frost. And they're vigilant. Succulents recovering from summer heat and sun are especially vulnerable to pests.

These seasonal succulent must-do's are for southern and coastal CA, from the Bay Area south. If you live beyond, please visit my site's Succulent Care By Season and Region page. 

Senecio and aeoniums

Blue Senecio mandraliscae and aeoniums, from my latest video: How to Fill Gaps in Your Succulent Garden

In Autumn...

Aeoniums are emerging from summer dormancy. Cut back leggy aeoniums, replant rosettes, and discard old plants roots and all. See how in my video: How to Refresh an Overgrown Succulent Garden (4:48).

Trim Senecio mandraliscae by several inches, and plant cuttings in gaps. Old stems branch where cut, which helps mass plantings grow fuller. See how in my video, How to Fill Gaps in Your Succulent Garden (2:21).

Apply a weed preventer (pre-emergent herbicide). This nontoxic, granulated powder stops seeds from germinating. Spread it before the first rainstorm wherever you don't want annual weeds. More.

Check your garden's run-off. Create channels that divert rain from succulents in low spots. If they sit where water collects, they may rot.

Treat agaves for snout weevil. This essential preventative needs doing in spring and fall. It also saves infested plants if caught early. What to use. 

Fertilize in-ground succulents with Ironite. Ideal for newly planted gardens, it boosts spring growth. Take care it doesn't stain hardscape.

Scrub cochineal scale off opuntia pads. Remove the bumpy white colonies with a soft-bristled shower brush dipped in Safer soap. Read my articleWatch the video. 

Ant-infested succulent

Ants push soil up from below.

Check for ants in outdoor potted succulents, especially haworthias, gasterias and aloes. One tell-tale sign is soil in the crowns, pushed up from below. What to do.

Heat, sun and Santa Ana winds can desiccate succulents. Hose-water vulnerable plants. Cuttings are most at risk because they lack roots, so plant them after the winds die down.

Note: Some product links are affiliate. 

Related Info on This Site

Cochineal scale on Opuntia (paddle cactus)

Cochineal Scale on Paddle Cactus, What To Do

White fuzzy lumps on paddle cactus are cochineal (coach-en-ee-al) scale, a parasite that pierces the plant’s skin and consumes its juices. It’s used to make carmine dye.

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Agave Snout Weevil Prevention and Treatment

Agave experts, growers, and pest management specialists advise drenching the soil around healthy agaves with a systemic insecticide containing imidacloprid.* Untreated agaves are at high risk of infestation. If treated early enough, an infested agave may survive.  The agave snout-nosed weevil is a half-inch-long black beetle with a downward-curving proboscis that enables it to pierce an agave’s…

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Mycoplasma on echeveria

Succulent Pests, Large and Small

Common succulent pests, diseases, and problems include agave grease mite, aloe mite, ant infestation, aphids, black spots, cochineal scale, deer, desiccation, etiolation, frost, gopher, hail, mealy bugs, mildew, rabbit, rot, snails and sunburn. Also find out how NOT to deal with a skunk!

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3 Comments

  1. Steve on October 5, 2020 at 2:30 pm

    I really appreciate your info

  2. Marion Pauw on October 14, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    Hi Debra,

    Another option to prevent snout weevils and other pests is Neem oil. It’s organic and 100% safe for the environment!

    Marion

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on October 15, 2020 at 7:27 pm

      Hi Marion — I’m a big fan of Safer products, which contain neem oil, but nowhere on their site does it say it’s effective against weevils. Have you had success combatting this particular pest with it?

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