Mycoplasma on echeveria

Are pests or mysterious maladies causing problems with your succulents? To help, I show 30+ succulent problems to watch for on my site's Succulent Plant Pests, Diseases and Problems resource page. For each I show a photo, explain the severity (from normal to fatal), describe the problem, and tell what action to take if any. For example:

Echeveria with mycoplasma infection

Above: Echeveria infected with mycoplasma, from this site's Succulent Plant Pests, Diseases and Problems page.

Other common pests, diseases, and problems on the Succulent Plant Pests, Diseases and Problems resource page 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. A Pandora's box!

This page is for you to share what works for you, ask questions and leave comments. I'm continually updating the main list based on others' experiences and further research. Many thanks!

A Summer Skunk Story and Video

Skunk video

Jeanne Meadow set a Havahart trap to catch whatever was digging holes and uprooting her succulents. Turns out it was no mere possum, bunny, squirrel or weasel. Husband Barry, assuring Jeanne he'd handle the trapped skunk, donned big plastic trash bags and headed into the garden.

Barry Meadow in skunk gear

Barry Meadow in skunk gear

Barry's a very good sport to let me post what happened next on my YouTube channel. My favorite line is when Jeanne says, "Oh no! Did it dig a hole?" (Never mind the skunk had just sprayed Barry.) Although this hilarious video ends when Barry himself becomes trapped, good news: skunk, Barry, and garden are fine.

Note: Because the video is more about what NOT to do, in it I refer you to another that shows how to efficiently deal with a trapped skunk...if, God forbid, you ever have to. 

Jeanne and I would love your comments on the video's YouTube page.

And if you have succulent pests, problems or concerns you've successfully dealt with, do let me please, rather than emailing me, so that others will see it and benefit.

Thanks, and have a succulent summer! ~ Debra

Related info

Uh-oh, Is My Succulent Sick?

Succulent Pests, Diseases and Problems Keep your succulents looking their best When a succulent isn’t looking quite right, you may wonder if you’ve done something wrong. Here’s what to look for: symptoms, causes, severity, prevention, and treatments for common succulent pests and problems. ‘Sunburst’ aeonium showing abrasion bruises Abrasion Not Serious but unsightly. Plants eventually outgrow…

Succulent Basics, Must-Do’s, FAQs, and Essentials for Success

Below are succulent basics, must-do’s and answers to FAQs—the essentials for growing succulents successfully. If all this is new to you, you’ll want to refer to this page often. And even if you’re experienced, you’ll find it a great resource!

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  • 2


  1. Lizzy on July 5, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    Hi Debra ,
    I have learned a lot from your site about succulents and their care.
    Especially helpful to me is the information you provided on the snout nose weevil.
    Unfortunately, all of my various agaves have been attacked. It took me over 3 hours to dig up around 50 in various sizes. Many more hours treating the soil for the larve and the plants. I was able to save 90 percent.
    I am so glad you included the information on the treatment and prevention. By the way, most folks I talk to are unaware of the pest even at some major nursery’s in the north county of San Diego where I reside. It’s hard to believe that most people are unaware of this garden pest!

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on July 5, 2019 at 1:39 pm

      Hi Lizzy — I know. Drives me nuts. I do my best to get the word out, but you’re right, most folks and even nursery employees are unaware of agave snout-nose weevil. I guess no one wants to hear bad news or to be told they need to tackle an unpleasant, time-consuming task. It’s only the true gardeners—people like you, me and Jeanne Meadow—who want to know what’s threatening our private Edens and quickly take action to prevent it. But hey, isn’t it terrific that you salvaged 90%? Round of applause, girl! That’s how it’s done! — Debra

  2. Richard Slechta on July 5, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    Hi Debra,
    Such a helpful guide to those tricky pests and problems.

    What can you tell us about why Aloe tips turn brown? I’ve seen it on several varieties of mine and in others gardens, but most common on the ones with longer leaves, like Marlothii and Dichotoma. It doesn’t resemble a insect pest damage, nor from physical trauma. I’m in Los Angeles about 5 miles from the coast, so we do get dew regularly.
    Thanks for any tips you can offer.
    Cheers, Richard

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on July 5, 2019 at 2:39 pm

      Hi Richard — Yep. Right now I have an Aloe thraskii that has unsightly browned (then whitened) leaf tips, and I’m debating what to do about it. On the one hand, they protect the rest of the leaf and those beneath from harsh sun and temperature extremes. On the other, I’m tired of looking at them. To answer your question, leaf tip desiccation is usually an aftermath of frost or scorching sun. It can also be related to under-watering…the plant can’t manage to pump water all the way to the tips (not enough hydraulic pressure). It’s not caused by overwatering…that’s when the core rots, not the tips. Some species are prone to leaf-tip desiccation, especially spotted ones (A. maculata and hybrids) and IMHO the way the dry tips curl looks kind of cool. When trimming any pointed succulent leaf (including agaves), make two cuts to create an outward-pointing “V,” so the cut isn’t as noticeable as straight across. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Karen on July 5, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    I have squirrels chewing on my succulents. Any advice?

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on July 5, 2019 at 6:57 pm

      If you live in an area where predators like coyotes are kept out (like a gated community), bunnies and squirrels may be prolific. Some measures that can help include: Installing an owl box; dusting the plants with crushed red chilis or spraying a squirrel repellent. Also there are solar- and battery-powered electronic devices that emit a high-frequency sound that repels squirrels and the like. This one, for about $30 on Amazon, can be set for cats, dogs, skunks, squirrels and raccoons.

      • George Tabora on July 13, 2019 at 11:39 am

        I actually caught one this morning using a trap. I wanted to post a picture here but I do not know how. However, Amazon sells a similar trap for $20, called “Heavy Duty Squirrel Trap Chipmunk Trap and Other Similar-Size Rodents”. If you have a garden, you must have one of these because it is the only product I know that works every time. (Very good in catching rabbits, too). I used four pieces of almonds as bait. Any nuts, except peanuts, will do as bait for squirrels. Make sure that you release the squirrel far from your garden because squirrels will easily find their way back to your garden if released nearby. It is worth driving a couple of miles away to release this creature in the open. Good Luck!

        • Debra Lee Baldwin on July 13, 2019 at 1:28 pm

          Hi George — Good to know, especially about the almonds. No wonder squirrels leave my bird feeders alone. I’ve read that squirrels can find their way home if released within 7 miles. (They did studies after painting tails, transporting, and releasing.) Now here’s the thing: No one wants a squirrel released on their property, and it’s illegal to release one on public land, so where do you take it? Maybe to the beach (beyond the surf break)? Don’t answer that.

          • George Tabora on July 13, 2019 at 7:56 pm

            Hi Debra – Good point. One must check with their Fish and Game local agency office to make sure regulations are abided by when dealing with game and non-game mammals.

  4. Monica Mosack on July 22, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    I have raccoons in my neighborhood. My front yard is full of succulents and vegetable plants. The raccoons paw through the dirt at night looking for delicious grubs. I placed medium sized black lava rocks around the roots of my vegetable plants. The raccoons can dig for grubs in areas between the plant rows. Works for all of us. I used to have bunnies and squirrels in my backyard. Getting 4 dogs seems to have solved that problem. The only animal brave enough to go back there is the opossum who taunts the dogs from the fence.

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