Why Are My Succulent Leaves Turning White

Throughout the summer, generous watering of succulents is advised. Between waterings, their potting mix should be let to dry out; do not submerge. Reduce watering to once every two months in the winter, when plants go dormant.

The most frequent reason why succulents fail is overwatering (and the potential plant rot it can bring about). An overwatered succulent may initially swell up and appear to be in excellent health, but the cause of death may already have begun to take hold underground, with rot rising from the plant’s root system.

Succulents that have received excessive water have softer, discolored leaves that may turn yellow or white and lose their color. Even though a plant in this state may be beyond saving, you can still take it out of its pot to look at the roots. Cut out the dead roots and repot the plant in drier potting soil if the roots are brown and rotting. Alternatively, you can take a healthy cutting and propagate the parent plant.

Similar to how a plant that isn’t getting enough water will first cease growing before losing leaves. On the other hand, the plant could get brown blotches on its leaves.

It has been overwatered.

Root rot, which occurs when the roots “drown from soaking in too much moisture, might result from overwatering a succulent. Because they also require oxygen to survive, succulents require breathable soil with excellent drainage. A succulent can turn soft and discolored if it is overwatered.

The leaves of the plant will turn yellow or white. The plant can usually no longer be saved once the leaves start to turn brown since the rot has spread throughout the majority of the plant. It’s still possible to take it out of the pot and look at the roots. Root rot in succulents causes dark brown or black roots that have a rotting vegetable odor.

It has become home to pests.

Your succulent may have a mealybug infestation if it starts to look white and fuzzy. Scale bugs may be at blame if the leaves of the succulent have white spots or dots on them. Spider mites will cover the succulent in their white webs.

These pests all decrease the nutrients in your succulent and can result in a variety of issues. Your plant will eventually develop damaged or parched leaves as well as black mold. Since the insect can easily spread to your other plants, it is crucial that you capture it while it is still on the first plant.

Use neem oil spray to get rid of these pests. Neem oil spray is an effective fungicide in addition to killing bugs. If you don’t have neem oil, you can kill the insects one at a time with a cotton bud dipped in rubbing alcohol until all of them are gone. As far away from your other plants as possible, keep the infected plant.

It is infected with powdery mildew.

Your succulent may also turn white if it has powdery mildew. If the conditions are right, a fungus can grow on your plant and create powdery mildew. It is simple to mistake the mildew for farina, a natural coating that plants develop to shield themselves from the sun.

Reading up on the kind of succulent you have to find out if it produces farina is the best approach to determine if it is farina. If it doesn’t generate farina, the white substance probably represents powdery mildew.

Starting on the underside of leaves, powdery mildew can move to the stems and branches. The good news is that powdery mildew cannot kill your succulents, but it can still do harm by causing the leaves to fall off and robbing the plant of nutrition.

Powdery mildew can be treated with neem oil as well. Neem oil should be sprayed on the plant until the mildew goes away. Even when the mildew has vanished, you can spray once a week as a prophylactic fungicide. Neem oil should only be sprayed at night because sunshine can cause the plant to burn readily when oil is present.

It is sunburned.

You would be correct if you assumed that a succulent with sunburn would turn brown. However, the plant will turn white in the early stages of sun damage.

Succulents are still prone to sunburn even though they may survive in the driest regions of the earth. They can withstand six hours of sunshine, but any more will start to harm them.

Place your succulent in a shaded area if it has been exposed to the sun for an extended amount of time and has started to turn white. Bring the plant inside if it’s tiny enough and in a container so you can regulate the amount of light it receives.

The hue of a sun-damaged succulent, like in the situation where the leaves have turned brown, probably won’t return to its vibrant original state. As long as the plant is still healthy, these damaged leaves will ultimately fall off and be replaced by new leaves, so do not worry too much about them.

It is not getting enough sunlight.

It’s interesting to note that while succulents can get pale from too much sunlight, they can also turn white from inadequate sunlight.

You may need to relocate your plant so that it may receive enough sunshine if the leaves on your plant start to seem washed out and pale. Your plant can be undergoing etiolation if it has started to grow longer in a certain direction. A plant will begin to reach for the closest light source when it is so light-starved.

This can be easily fixed. Put the plant in a location where it receives some daily sunshine if the weather is nice and not too chilly. Consider utilizing a grow light if the weather is too chilly. The color on your plant’s leaves will return in due time.

What is farina?

A waxy layer known as epicuticular wax, sometimes known as farina, produces a white or silvery-blue film on the leaves of succulent plants. All kinds of plants have it on their stems, leaves, and fruit, but succulents like Echeveria, Pachyphytum, Sedeveria, Kalanchoe, and Graptoveria, to mention a few, have it the most frequently. Remember that not all members of the genus examples featured here have powdery farina.

You undoubtedly noticed a small mark if you’ve ever unintentionally brushed against your succulent’s powdery leaves. In reality, what you’re doing is eliminating the bloom, which, depending on the species, may be permanent. If it regenerates, it doesn’t go back to its previous level.

Epicuticular wax, named as such because it develops above the cuticle on the epidermis, is actually a small number of microscopic crystals that develop on the cuticle of a plant’s surface and aid in the plant’s ability to repel water. It’s also sometimes referred to as “farina,” which is what I’ve always named it. This is referred to as being “glaucous” on succulents, which is simply defined by Webster as “having a powdered or waxy coating that provides a frosted look and tends to rub off.”

Does removing the epicuticular wax harm your plants?

It serves as a hydrophobic covering that helps shield the plant from the sun, water, infections, and insects, therefore you should avoid removing it. Simply put, hydrophobic means that it repels water.

Avoid using pesticides (which you ought to attempt to do anyway!). Fungicides and plant-based oils, such as neem, can eliminate all of the farina from a mixture. Consider systematically treating plants that have both pests and farina as a soil drench. For mealy bugs, I’ve also successfully misted leaves covered in farina with a mixture of 50 percent rubbing alcohol and water. To prevent burn, always try the product first and let it completely dry in the shade.

Use a very soft makeup brush or blow it away to remove soil from your plant’s leaves. Avoid using your fingers since they may spoil the powdered effect due to skin oils.

Farina helps keep the leaves clean, which is one aspect of it that I especially like on succulents. Dirt, microorganisms, and other particles are caught in the water’s surface beads, which roll them away. The Lotus Effect is the name for this. Last but not least, the waxy covering helps keep water inside the plant, allowing succulent leaves to stay lovely and plump.

Farina-based succulents come with an all-natural sunscreen, raincoat, antibiotic, and bug spray built straight in!

Every portion of the plant, including the stem, leaves, and even the flowers, develops farina. The quantity can change based on the species, as well as within a single species, depending on the region of growth (both in cultivation and in the wild). Unlike soft, fuzzy succulents that can’t be removed with a wipe, farina can.

A healthy plant has an even covering of epicuticular wax. If you observe a mottled appearance, it can be caused by a sickness or by high humidity. This is why it’s crucial to routinely inspect your plants (I have no idea why I’m even bringing this up because I already know you spend hours staring at your plants, OR IS THAT JUST ME? Don’t respond to it.

I can still clearly recall my first time using farina. It was really thick near the base of a flapjacks paddle plant, and I simply knew it was some kind of mold or disease. Can you see why I was concerned? It was so heavy that it was coming off in pieces. It turned out to be epicuticular wax exclusively.

So how do you tell the difference between farina and powdery mildew?

Well, farina is more evenly distributed across the surface of the plant, whereas powdery mildew begins splotchy and steadily develops since it is brought on by fungal spores. Your plant will also start to become sick from powdery mildew, which will result in leaf deformation and aesthetic harm. Another reason to keep an eye on your plants’ health is because of this. You want to stop things like this before they spread to other people.

It’s almost hard for plants to arrive in the mail without having some of the farina washed away. It is displayed below in the Echeveria Lauii. Waiting for it to grow out is the only option (this one did, and it looks wonderful now!). When this occurs, there is absolutely no reason to be alarmed, and the sender is not at fault. It’s merely a step in the procedure. THERE WILL BE GROWTH!

Another specimen of an Echeveria pollux is seen below. This one started out without farina on nearly all of its leaves, but it has since grown out. They gradually climbed to the bottom as time went on and fresh leaves sprouted from the middle. As the plant matures, the first leaves will eventually wither and die (which is totally normal).

While investigating farina on succulents, I came across some information about Giant Chalk Dudleya (D. brittonii) that grows in fissures on steep volcanic rocks that I thought was intriguing. (Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of one, but you can still admire this crest.) Depending on where they grow, there are two types: one has a thick, glaucous coating, while the other does not. The UV reflectance of the Brittonia that does have farina is astounding, at 83 percent, more than that of any other plant species. (Wait, what?) However, the same species’ non-glaucous variants only provided 10% reflectance!

If you have a succulent that has had its powdery farina removed (perhaps because you accidentally cleaned the entire plant with horticultural oil like I did), it may be best to keep it shaded from the sun until it is acclimated again. This is because powdery farina is not only attractive, but it is crucial to plant health. Keep in mind that farina on succulents doesn’t return to how it was before, so be careful not to rub it off!

You’ve probably seen plants regrow their farina. If so, tell us in the comments section below!

What does a succulent look like when it is overwatered?

How can you tell if your succulent is getting too much water? You can usually determine if a succulent is being overwatered or underwatered by looking for telltale indications. A plant that has received too much water will have soft, mushy leaves.

The leaves would either turn translucent in color or appear lighter than they would on a healthy plant. A succulent that had received too much water would frequently lose leaves readily, even when only lightly handled. Usually, the lowest leaves are the ones to suffer first.

The plant will look to be unhealthy overall. When this occurs, the plant is either being overwatered, sitting in the incorrect soil that does not dry out quickly enough, or both.

Your plants are being overwatered if you have been giving them regular waterings or if you have been following a watering schedule regardless of how the plant appears.

On the other hand, a succulent that has been submerged will have withered, wrinkled, and deflated-looking leaves. The leaves will appear thin and flat. The entire plant will appear withered and dry.

The leaves of a good succulent plant should be thick and solid, not mushy or desiccated.

To learn more about this subject, visit my post titled “How To Tell If Your Succulent is Over or Under Watered,” in which I go into great length about how you may determine whether your succulent plant is being over or under watered.

This String of Pearls ‘Senecio Rowleyanus’ plant leaf is one that has been overwatered. If a succulent’s water storage capacity has been exceeded, it may physically burst from overwatering.

What causes white plant leaf spotting?

Whitening of plant leaves can occur for a number of reasons, although sunburn and powdery mildew infection are the most frequent. Plants should be placed in the right amount of sunlight in accordance with their demands to avoid this problem.

Avoid fertilizing too much while dealing with new growth to avoid a burst of new foliage. Don’t panic just yet if you think your plants may be affected; the fungus is host-specific.

It can therefore be found in a particular plant species and need not pose a threat to other plants in the ecosystem.