Why we don’t use pesticides on our Succulents

I am always shocked when I read or hear about the insect species that are lost and the insects that die because of the chemicals, pesticides and insecticides we use in agriculture and in our gardens.

Insects are extremely important in nature, for instance for the pollination of plants. Without insects many other species, including humans, would not survive. This is the reason we do not use any pesticides on our Succulents.

How to get rid of mealybugs in an environmentally safe manner?

Mealybugs are not uncommon in Succulents. You can brush them off with a little paintbrush or you can wash your plants in a soapy solution.

What you need:
1. Green soap
2. Methylated spirits
3. Warm water
4. Bucket

We use approximately 20 grams of green / soft soap. This is old school soap. Do not use any synthetic modern soaps! Add 1 liter of warm water to the soap and 20-40 ml methylated spirits. It takes quite a bit of time before the soap is dissolved in the water. Break up the soap in smaller parts if possible and keep stirring.

Pour the soapy solution into a plant sprayer and spray your plants thoroughly to make sure the mealy bugs are soaking wet. Before you start try to remove any ladybugs or other friendly insects. Spray again daily for 2-3 days.

An even better method is to soak the entire plant in the solution for 10 seconds. Move and turn the plant well while it is under water. Make sure the soil of the pot does not leak out while you do this. I prefer to wash bare-root plants without soil and cuttings in this soapy solution. You can wash your plants whenever you think it is needed. We usually wash our plants 2-3 times a year.

5 thoughts on “Why we don’t use pesticides on our Succulents

    • Allard says:

      Yes if you spray a plant with water or with this soapy solution it is best to spray the plants (or dip them in the solution) while they are out of the sun. If you do this in the ealy morning or later on the day when the sun is (almost) down, you should be fine.

  1. Flora says:

    Interesting blog and great to know companies also use this method!
    For succulents, it is very common to get mealybugs when it’s summer and getting hot inside the house. I’m for biological control of mealybugs so I also did some research and I came to the same solution, green soap, and methylated spirits. This works very well, with a little brush you can wipe the mealybugs easily off your plants and after they are bathed in the green soap and methylated spirits solution the mealybugs are gone till next summer and the succulents look really healthy and happy. Besides, it is not only good for our plants but also for important insect-like bees and ladybugs. (Ladybugs eat mealybugs!). I would recommend this method to anyone who has succulents with mealybugs. Greetings, Flora

    • Allard says:

      Thank you for sharing youyr experiences Flora. Yes we also use a type of ladybugs sometimes. If you use them inside the greenhouse you can have an effective anti-mealybug squad. The ladybugs can keep the mealybugs under control but they do not whipe out the mealybugs entirely. Also the ladybugs die in winter if your greenhouse temperature drops below 15C. We keep our greenhouse temperature in winter on 8-10C so we would need to bring in a new population of ladybugs yearly.

      We mainly grow plants like Echeveria, Crassula and Sedum. We grow these plants outside from early May till end October (depending on temperatures). Outside there are more predators eating the mealybugs.

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