The Easiest Way To Prevent Pesky Mites From Killing Your Succulent Garden

Mites are small but mighty pests that can infest and damage your plants when you aren't looking. They're so small that you likely won't notice them without a magnifying glass, and since they live underneath leaves, you're bound to miss them. Mites prefer easy targets, which are drought-stressed plants. Since succulents don't need much water, they're more prone to having the dry, dusty conditions mites crave. The best way you can prevent mites from moving in when you aren't looking is to increase the humidity around your succulents by spraying the leaves with water or washing them off with a damp cloth.

Preventing mites in succulent gardens can be a balancing act. Keeping humidity up for desert plants? It sounds like the wrong answer, but finding a happy medium that will keep the plants happy and the mites unhappy is possible. The key is not to overdo it; too much water will keep mites away but kill your plants, while too little water will make for happier (albeit thirsty) succulents, but you won't see mites in the vicinity.

Wash away your mite problems with water

Since mites are so small, they're easy to get rid of. Gentle water pressure is enough to kill and remove them. If you spot the evidence of mites, grab a spray bottle or damp cloth and wet the leaves. Put the spray bottle on a thin stream so there will be some pressure to wash off the mites. Spray the plant well, especially on the undersides of leaves since that's where mites like to hang out. Once you're done, dry off the leaves to prevent stressing your succulents with excess moisture. If this method doesn't work, you can up the ante using insecticidal soap.

If you choose the damp cloth method, be sure to wipe down every nook and cranny you can reach. Remember, mites are tiny and are capable of hiding well. This method will allow you to physically remove mites and webbing, so don't lay the cloth down near your plants to prevent any surviving mites from making their way back to your plants. You may need to use either method every few days until your mite problem is under control.

Keep the humidity up on your succulents

You can prevent mites altogether by increasing the humidity slightly. Succulents don't like humid conditions, but they do need some degree of humidity to thrive. You can safely raise the humidity if your plants are shriveling or crunchy. If they're squishy or turning black, they receive too much water already, so you likely don't have mite problems if your plants are at this stage.

The easiest way to increase humidity is with a humidifier. There are plenty of desktop-sized humidifiers that will be perfectly sized for succulent gardens. These can increase the humidity relatively quickly, so you may want a humidity meter to go with it to ensure your succulents stay happy. You can also use pebble trays, which are trays with pebbles and water that help increase the humidity around plants. If you live in a dry climate that can be a little dusty, wipe up dust or wet down the area. Mites love the dust, so cleaning it up and keeping the area moist will help deter them.