What Causes Scale On Cactus

Cactus and other native and imported succulents in North America frequently have scales. In the spring, adult females often lay eggs, which hatch into young scales known as crawlers. As they spread out and expand, these crawlers begin consuming the plant juices in different areas of the plant. As they consume food, they expel honeydew, which are tiny sugary droplets that collect on the leaf beneath.

Why is the scale on my cactus growing?

Poor cultivation practices are thought to be the reason, and once it is identified, it can be stopped before further damage is done to the plant. Although corky scab on cactus is mostly a cosmetic problem, commercial growth may be negatively impacted financially. Fortunately, the issue can be easily avoided by altering cultural practices.

Corky scab, one of the more prevalent cactus diseases, is thought to be caused by overwatering, cold weather, and inadequate ventilation. It occurs most frequently in regions with a lot of warm, moist soil and cool, comfortable temperatures. High light, plant damage, pesticides, and poor drainage are a few more conditions that are thought to trigger the disease.

Cactus scab therapy depends on altering the cultural context and practices because the majority of these conditions are controllable. Outdoor plants might need to be relocated to an area with better control over the wind, temperature, and relative humidity.

What caused the scales on my plant?

Although these tiny insects can come from a variety of sources, scale on your indoor plants can seem to appear overnight. Maybe you reused a soiled plant pot, used contaminated potting soil, or left your plants outside during the warm months. You must get rid of the infestation as soon as you discover scale to prevent it from getting worse.

Scale insects can be difficult to control since they often withstand most pesticides. Avoid wasting your time on dangerous chemicals that cannot pierce their thick exterior. Even though it can take some time, it’s worthwhile to remove stubborn scale in order to restore the health of your plant. Learn how to remove scale from indoor plants by reading on.

How can white scales on cactus be removed?

The browning of the trunk itself is not a concern; rather, it is something that all cacti inevitably experience as they age. They start to have a corky, barky basis. However, from what I can tell in the shot, there are tiny round objects on the left side of the plant. This resembles a sucking insect called a scale. It might have increased the plant’s barkiness. They are difficult to get rid of, but you can try a hand-held spray bottle with a 50/50 mixture of water and rubbing alcohol, as well as a few drops of dishwashing soap. Use a soft brush or sponge to gently scrub the region after thoroughly spraying the afflicted area. The scale ought to disappear after doing this. If they appear, you might need to repeat every now and then. After treating, use ordinary water to thoroughly rinse the affected area.

How is cactus dermatitis treated?

Typically, visible spines from cactus injuries to the skin are removed, and a topical corticosteroid is then applied. Granulomatous inflammation typically goes away with this method in two to four months. We discuss the case of a Caucasian woman, age 54, who sought therapy for uncomfortable cactus spine granulomas on her right hand. Granulomatous lesions were quickly resolved by removing the cactus spine fragments and unroofing the papules under a dissecting microscope, followed by soaking in an antibiotic solution.

Method #1: Cut Off The Infected Area

To start, use a sterilized knife or pair of clippers to remove any patches of fungus on the cactus plants.

Then, depending on the fungicide you use, treat those healthy areas once every two weeks for six to twelve months.

Follow the directions on the fertilizer container to fertilize your plant as necessary to encourage development and stop further disease outbreaks.

Additionally, make sure that it receives consistent watering throughout this time and try to avoid letting it become completely dry in between waterings since too much moisture may result in black patches in addition to root rot issues!

Method #2: Use Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide

Making a solution of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is one of the most used techniques.

Pour two teaspoons into an empty spray bottle along with one quart of warm water.

Whenever you notice any indications or symptoms, such as leaf spot, that fungus on cactus plants has resumed its attack, spray your cactus plants well until they are completely moist, including the undersides and tops of leaves.

For six weeks straight, you should perform this procedure at least twice a week to completely eradicate the fungus on your cactus plants.

Method #3: Make Your Own Fungicide Solution

In an empty spray container, combine one tablespoon of liquid soap, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda with one gallon of water.

To totally get rid of fungus on cactus plants, spray it abundantly onto your plants every two weeks for at least six months!

Method #4: Spray With White Vinegar Solution

Another choice is to carefully dip the leaves into a solution of one part white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar) to four parts water in an empty plastic bucket or container. Do this until the leaves are completely moistened but not dripping wet.

The fungicide that has remained on the surface should be allowed to dry naturally rather than being rinsed off because doing so will only remove around half of it. It is therefore better to leave it alone.

This remedy must be used within a week if it is homemade. If you purchase it, be sure to keep it in a dry, cold environment.

Method #5: Clean Your Cactus Plant Thoroughly With Soap and Water

The easiest option is to just give your cactus plant a thorough washing every day, or at least every other day, with soap and water, especially after working near them while they are dusty.

Before applying fungicide using method number three above, make sure to clean up any dust since it acts as an insulator to prevent fungi from drying out.

Spray two quarts of lukewarm water with one tablespoon each of liquid soap, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda to clean all leaves, including the undersides.

Method #6: Use a Fungicide Solution

Fungicides can be used to treat your cactus plant if it develops a fungus infestation.

Fungicides come in a variety of forms, some of which function better than others and serve distinct needs. Be careful to pick the proper one for your situation!

Keep in mind that even if just one or two leaves exhibit symptoms, it is still crucial to spray them down because, if left untreated, this disease will soon spread throughout the entire plant.

Do scale insects inhabit soil?

  • If you experience recurrent infestations, consider carefully removing the top inch of soil from the pot and replacing it with new potting soil because scale can hide in the soil of a houseplant.
  • Crawlers have the ability to leave the plant and later return to reinfest it. Remove the plant from the area and clean any cracks where plant pests might be hiding to avoid this. Inspect the plant tray and pot’s outside lip, interior corners, and bottom for any scale insects that might be hiding there.
  • Trim any plant leaves that are seriously infested, and discard them (outside of your home). * Avoid over-trimming to avoid killing your plant.
  • Be cautious to sanitize the pot before reusing it if you wish to repot a plant after treating it for scale. Houseplant scale insects can readily infest any plant that is potted in that container by hiding on the rim or the edges. Use hot, soapy water to thoroughly clean the pot.

From whence do scale insects originate?

According to an Army Corps of Engineers report, over half of the expansive marshland in the lower Mississippi River Delta has withered or died recently.

As newly hatched crawlers, which are quite tiny, have legs, and can move around, scales spread from plant to plant. With the use of readily accessible contact insecticides, crawlers can be controlled pretty easily. Scale crawlers can be challenging to find, unfortunately. The majority of gardeners overlook them and lose the chance to exert control.

In the spring, many scales generate crawlers. Insecticides applied directly to the crawlers lose most of their effectiveness once they have settled down to feed and have formed their protective covering.


In general, scales are not one of those insect pests that will simply disappear over time if you ignore them. Most of the time, control is required.

Oil sprays are the most eco-friendly and efficient pesticides for controlling scale. Oil is present in these insecticides in a form that will mix with water. The oil coats the scale insects and blocks their breathing pores when combined and sprayed onto an affected plant. Instead of being destroyed by a toxin, the insects suffocate.

Heavy oils like Volck Oil Spray and light oils like Year Round Spray Oil, All Seasons Oil Spray, and others are marketed under specific brand names. The fact that mild horticultural oils can be used all summer long is why I enjoy them.

It is essential to spray the oil on all surfaces of the plant for effective control. The oil won’t affect the insects if they are on the underside of the leaves and the oil is just sprayed to that surface. Due to the difficulty in getting rid of scales, the label’s instructions should be followed for a second and even third application.

Aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, and the crawling stage of scales can all be successfully controlled with oils. Oil sprays do not leave behind a residue that can harm beneficial insects, in addition to having a low toxicity.

Oil sprays also assist in cleaning the plant of the ugly sooty mold, which is an added bonus.

How does cacti scale appear?

Scale insects that consume the sap from cactus plants are known as scale bugs. They appear as pimples on the limbs of your plant and might be brown, red, or black.

Small lumps under the leaves and stems of the leaves that pulse suggest that the cactus may have scale.

Since scale bugs grow quickly in the summer due to the heat and humidity, this pest is more prevalent then.

Types Of Scale Insects

Even though there are thousands of scale insects, only a few of them have an impact on cactus. On the plant’s stems and leaves, the scale will appear as flat or oval pimples.

The waxy shell that this scale insect secretes around itself to shield its body and eggs from predators, parasites, and fungus can be used to identify it.

Because they are largely stationary, the armored scale insects are simple prey for scale predators.

This scale resembles the armored scale but is lighter in color and does not have an outer shell.

Instead of being attacked by predators or parasites, ants cannot feed on it because of the chemicals it emits.

Another common scale seen on cacti is the cochineal scale insect, which is not nearly as destructive to the cactus as armored scale insects are.

For its brilliant red dye, which gives meals and other products an appealing hue, this scale was originally harvested.

However, due to the potentially dangerous chemicals used to make its dye as well as other negative affects it could have on your health, cochineal scale is no longer gathered for commercial purposes.

Will alcohol work on my cactus?

Spray the plant with some isopropyl alcohol that is 91%. That will instantly kill them. Don’t wait; act right away. Rubbish alcohol is too oily to use.

What does scaling on plants resemble?

It is a good idea to make sure you have the issue in the first place before tackling scale. Scale insects come in a wide range of colors, sizes, and shapes. But not always, they have a spherical shape. Scales come in a variety of colors that can make them even harder to spot, including white, black, orange, and colors that mix in with the appearance of the plant.

The majority of scale insects are quite tiny, typically measuring between 1/16 and 1/8 of an inch in length. However, they are difficult to miss because you never see just one of them. Clusters of scale usually always show up. They are motionless after they lock themselves into place to penetrate the plant and start feeding on sap, unlike other insects. There is a good possibility that you are looking at a scale if you notice clusters of little, shell-like bumps on the stems or leaves of a plant. When sooty mold appears on the plant, one of the main ways gardeners learn they have a scale problem. When feeding on the plants, scale insects make a sugary honeydew, which attracts fungi that, in certain scales but not all, produce sooty mold. One of the most obvious signs of scale is the blackish mold.

Soft scale and hard or armored scale are the two main categories used to categorize scale insects. Soft scale is more easily eliminated than hard/armored scale since it is protected by a waxy material. To protect themselves from predators, armored scales secrete a tough coating over their bodies. Additionally, because a pesticide has a hard time getting to the bug inside the shell, using one is challenging.

Scale insects of various kinds favor various plant types. Scale infestations on euonymous shrubs are common. Fruit trees and magnolias are other regular victims of scale. Mealybugs, which are a common garden pest and a member of the soft or unarmored scale family, are a bit bigger than most scale insects, making it simpler to distinguish them from diseases.

Succulents can scales survive on?

Scale. Your succulents have definitely drawn the attention of scale insects if you notice little tan or brown blemishes on them. These pests enjoy eating succulent sap, which damages your poor little plants and makes them more vulnerable to disease and dryness.