Why Does My Succulent Have White Fuzz

How can white fuzz on plants be removed?

The easiest strategy to avoid mold and other problems is usually to grow disease-resistant plant kinds. If that is not an option, you can try any of these home cures to get rid of the white mold on your plants:

  • Utilize neem oil. A naturally occurring ingredient called neem oil functions as an efficient insecticide to help fight off unwanted pests like white mold. Every few days, liberally spray the diseased plant with a mixture of two tablespoons of organic neem oil and a half gallon of water until the mold is gone.
  • Utilize mouthwash. White mold can sometimes be successfully treated with mouthwash containing ethanol. Apply a solution of one part mouthwash to three parts water to the afflicted regions. Avoid being too saturated. While mouthwash is a successful treatment for white mold, overuse can damage young plant development and burn leaves.
  • 3. Apply vinegar. Vinegar is a tried-and-true approach for getting rid of mold and bothersome white patches on your plants. Spray the affected leaves and stems with a solution made of a quart of water and two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Repeat several times daily until all mold is eliminated.
  • 4. Use preventative medicine. Preventing the growth of mold in the first place is one of the greatest strategies to combat it. To treat your plant’s leaves and stems, use an organic fungicide or mix one tablespoon baking soda with one and a half tablespoons liquid dish soap in one gallon of water. Spray the mixture onto the plant liberally.

Why does the dirt around my houseplants have white fuzz on it?

Most likely, the white fluffy substance on the plant soil is a saprophytic fungus that is not harmful. The following factors can all contribute to fungal issues (mold) on the plant soil: excessive water, inadequate soil drainage, polluted potting soil, and a lack of sunlight. Low light and moisture provide the “ideal setting for the growth of white mold on home plants.

Tiny minuscule spores that make up the mold fungus begin to grow and thrive under specific conditions. The mold’s color can change depending on what caused the potting soil infection.

White fungus on soil

White growths on the ground that resemble threads are saprophytic fungus, according to the Royal Horticultural Society. Even if there is a lot of this white fungus growth, also known as mycelium, it is innocuous. (1)

Yellow fungal mold

Another example of benign saprophytic fungus is yellow mold growth on plant soil. Scrape it off or repot the plant in sterile potting soil to get rid of it.

Gray mold on houseplant soil

Gray mold can occasionally be a fungus called Botrytis. The location of this fuzzy growth is typically close to the soil’s surface or growing in thick vegetation. If gray mold is not handled, the plant could suffer.

Sooty mold

Scale may be indicated by patches of black or dark green material that resemble soot. As they consume the plant’s sap, these minuscule insects have the ability to kill your plant. Although the sooty mold won’t hurt the plant, you must promptly get rid of scale insects.

Powdery mildew

Powdery mildew, a fungus that affects houseplants, can have the appearance of flour dusted on plants. The plant’s photosynthesis may be hampered if the fungal infestation becomes too severe, which could restrict the plant’s growth.

How can fungus appear on succulents?

Succulents are without a doubt among the easiest plants to care for. They are the perfect plant to take care of, especially if you’re a busy office worker who is constantly on the go because they can thrive in neglect and come in many forms, colors, and sizes.

Succulents can, however, experience issues much like any other houseplants, particularly if their growing environment changes. Nothing is more aggravating and bothersome than fungus problems.

They are without a doubt the worst. They have the ability to appear out of nowhere while also swiftly destroying your succulent plants!

But don’t worry! Everything you need to know, including how to identify and treat them, will be covered in this article.

Particle Mildew

One of the fungi that is the simplest to recognize is powdery mildew. It has symptoms that are highly unusual and tends to grow superficially, or epiphytically, on plant surfaces.

A succulent with powdery mildew infection may likely appear to have been covered in a traditional white or grayish powdery coating. On the leaves and stems, it typically starts as round, powdery white patches. And as the infection worsens, the spots will eventually turn black and turn yellow-brown. Before the plant really wilts and dies, it will also start to have twisted and deformed leaves.

A mild case of Powdery Mildew could disappear by itself. But if you’re curious, copper is a really powerful fungicide for this particular type of fungus. Just be sure to carefully read the label recommendations because too much copper will be bad for the soil and the plant.

A gallon of water can be combined with one tablespoon of baking soda and one-half teaspoon of liquid, non-detergent soap. This combination can then be sprayed liberally on the damaged leaves.


– Be sure to water your plant thoroughly before applying, and avoid doing so during the day.

– Sunburn can be brought on by baking soda. To avoid issues, it’s preferable to try 1 or 2 leaves initially.

Black mold, commonly referred to as sooty mold,

The fungal that causes the least harm to succulents is sooty or black mold. This fungus typically indicates that a sap-sucking insect, such as mealybugs, aphids, whiteflies, or scale, has invaded the plant. It will manifest as black or dark brown, superficial fungal growth on the aerial sections of plants, especially the upper leaf surfaces.

Spray a mixture of horticultural oil or neem oil on your plant’s afflicted leaves in the early evening. Neem oil is less harmful and works well as a fungicide to eliminate sooty mold from plants, especially those that are heavily afflicted.

How can mealybugs on succulents be removed?

When you detect mealy bugs on your succulents, the first thing you should do is quarantine the affected plants and relocate them away from other plants. Check the healthy plants for any indications of mealy bugs.

After that, be ready to clean your contaminated plants by removing them from the pot and giving them a thorough rinsing under running water. In hot, soapy water, wash the pot. Replant with fresh soil after allowing the plant and pot to dry out. Old dirt should be disposed of in the regular trash, not the green bin.

If you don’t instantly have ready-mix succulent soil at your home, you can put the soil in an oven-safe container covered with foil and bake it for at least 30 minutes, or until the soil reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit. After letting cool, plant again. Since there may still be mealy bug eggs in the old soil, we advise getting new soil.

Now let’s get to the most crucial step: mealybug elimination. Pesticides made of chemicals are generally the first thing that springs to mind. We don’t advise using them, though, as some of them can be highly damaging to succulents. Here are some secure choices we’ve tried and think are really helpful:

Neem oil and soap mixtures or rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) come first. The cheapest and most efficient approach for controlling aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites is to use 75 percent rubbing alcohol. Simply give the succulents a good spraying and leave them. The bug will start to turn brown, which indicates that it is dead. The plants won’t be harmed by the alcohol because it will entirely evaporate in a short period of time. Perform this each week until you no longer notice any bugs. &nbsp

Another secure insecticide that can be applied directly to outbreaks is neem oil. It has the ability to instantly eliminate all stages of mealybugs. Neem oil at a concentration of 5% in water is combined with a few drops of soap before being sprayed all over your succulent. Keep in mind that using concentrated neem oil could burn your succulents. &nbsp

If you don’t have a spray bottle, you might paint-brush any area where mealy bugs are present. After a few hours, water the plant to remove the dead insects. You can readily find rubbing alcohol and neem oil online or at your neighborhood pharmacy. To prevent water stains or sunburn when using neem oil or rubbing alcohol, be sure to keep the plant out of direct sunlight. For a few days, keep them away from the window and direct sunshine. &nbsp

If there are still some mealy bugs on your plant, check it again and continue the procedure for a few days. Then, as a preventative step, spray once again after a week. Neem oil can also be sprayed into the soil to eliminate any bugs or eggs that may be lurking there. Put the plant back in its original location and continue inspecting every three weeks if mealy bugs don’t recur after thoroughly checking and spraying for a few weeks.

Neem oil and rubbing alcohol are relatively secure, but there is a danger they could harm your succulent.

So we advise utilizing ladybugs as another natural cure. Yes, you heard correctly! These adorable ladybugs are all-natural enemies of mealybug and other troublesome pests. However, we advise utilizing ladybugs only as a preventative measure and when your plant is in the early stages of infestation.

What appearance do mealybugs have?

Mealybugs resemble tiny, white, oval bugs. On plant leaves and stems, these scale insects might also resemble white fuzzy beetles.

Mealybugs resemble fuzzy, little white bugs that are crawling on plant stems and leaves. Mealybugs are tan or cream in color before they mature. They can be mistaken for white plant fungus quite easily. But if you get near, you may see little white insects with an oval, floppy body.

Mealybugs, according to the University of California, have a tiny, segmented body that is wax-coated. The bugs might develop a powdered, waxy look that gives them a hairy appearance. They leave behind this fuzzy substance that gives plants the appearance of having cotton wool adhered to them. (1)

You may see tiny spines protruding from mealybugs’ oval bodies when you look at up-close photos of them. Mealybug species with long filaments on the back of their bodies appear to have lengthy tails. Mealybugs feed in groups in order to resemble clusters of white fluff.

How do I determine whether I have mealybugs?

The internal terrain is severely impacted by these little white insects. They adore tropical plants, particularly ivy and pothos.

Numerous species that adhere to tropical plants might occasionally be challenging to identify. Mealybug populations typically exist for a long period at low population levels before exploding suddenly. Because of their capacity to conceal themselves in cracks and crevasses in plants, they can be challenging to find when at low levels.

Why Are Mealybugs So Destructive?

Mealybugs inject toxins into plants while they feed, causing deformation and potential plant damage. Additionally, mealybugs, a soft scale-like insect, expel honeydew while they feed. On the honeydew, unsightly sooty molds frequently develop. Additionally, the sticky honeydew can adhere to surfaces like floors, walls, furniture, and other objects. Mealybug populations can lead to defoliation and even plant death in plants.

How to Identify Mealybugs

Mealybugs are recognized by their oval form and body segmentation in addition to their soft, flattened, and waxy bodies. These insects can also resemble cottony patches, particularly when the females are laying eggs with a waxy shell on them. However, adult males have a completely different appearance; they have wings, resemble little flies more, and are rarely observed. Yellowed and falling leaves, twisted growth, and sooty black mold are all signs of mealybug damage.

The Life Cycle of a Mealybug

The life cycle of a mealybug varies depending on the species, but as an infestation spreads, it can seriously destroy plants, especially those used for interior landscaping. Females go through four developmental stages, called instars, and can lay up to 600 eggs as adults. In 6 to 14 days, the eggs hatch, and the first instar crawlers move to new locations to eat and attach themselves. Male mealybugs have five instars, the first two of which are spent feeding and the last two of which are spent growing into adults and acquiring wings.

Adult mealybugs have a brief lifespan; females pass away immediately after laying eggs, while males live for one to two days after fertilizing females. Because adult male mealybugs lack mouthparts, they are unable to eat. They occasionally pass for fungus gnats.

It’s Time to Take Back Control

After determining the nature of the issue, consider possible solutions for its management. The most affordable remedy is frequently to remove and kill any infected plants.

It helps to know which mealybug species you are dealing with because biocontrol for mealybugs can be fairly challenging. There are some commercially available alternatives, such as the mealybug eradicator Cryptolaemus. Instead of individual containers, mass plantings are the optimum setting for this ladybird beetle. Additionally, long-tailed mealybugs should not be treated with it. The green lacewing is another advantageous insect. These predators are generalists, so in addition to mealybugs, they can aid with a variety of pests.

It is best to involve someone who is competent about biological control when dealing with mealybugs. The appropriate predator for your species of mealybug can be obtained in this method.

Horticultural oil is a good option for sprays if you can get the oil in contact with the bug. This can be challenging because of their waxy coating and capacity to conceal themselves in safe places, making it challenging to achieve adequate spray coverage. Systemic pesticides are an additional choice. These substances, which can be utilized as a drench on the interior landscape, include Flagship (thiamethoxam) and Safari (dinotefuran). When used properly, they and can be incredibly powerful.

States have different requirements for pest control labels, thus it is the user’s responsibility to review them and abide by the rules. Always check the label before using a pesticide to ensure that it is acceptable for use on the site, in the state, and on the plant material.

Preventing Mealybug Infestations

Because they can inflict such damage to the interior landscape, mealybugs might be among the most challenging and problematic pests. The best defense against a terrible mealybug offense is to inspect plants before you buy and introduce them into your accounts. Immediately remove or treat the plants if a problem is discovered.

Struggling with many typical indoor plant pests? If you’re interested in learning more about spider mites, whiteflies, fungus gnats, thrips, aphids, and scale insects, check out my Professional’s Field Guide to Plant Pest Control.


An ornamental entomologist with a focus on integrated pest control, Suzanne Wainwright-Evans. For more than 18 years, Suzanne has worked in the green industry, primarily focusing on pesticide use and biological control. She holds degrees in environmental horticulture and entomology from the University of Florida. She has performed consultancy work for greenhouses, nurseries, landscape contractors, and interior design firms across the United States and abroad.