“White powder” on my succulents? Congratulations!
Sometimes we would see a dusting of white powder all over the succulents’ leaves. It is normal and natural, grows by, and belongs to succulents themselves. We call it "bloom", "farina" or “epicuticular wax”.
We would be panic first because there is a disease called Powdery Mildew. However, we can easily identify the difference. The farina more like a coating or film, and the mildew more like stains.
Now we got relief that this is not a disease, but why I say “Congratulations”? Because Farina is like the “sunscreen”, the thicker the powder, the more healthy and more resistant to sunlight the succulent can be. The reason for farina is because we all know succulents grow in arid climates or soil conditions, in order to resist some extreme weather and hot summer, the succulents would try to protect themselves, so they will not get hurt.
We may wonder what is the “farina” for.
Firstly, we already know, work as “sunscreen” to block a lot of direct ultraviolet radiation and thus protect the succulents from sunburn.
Secondly, farina can prevent excessive rainfall leads leaf corruption. Succulents generally prefer a dry and ventilated place to a dark and damp place. So they secrete the white film to separate the water from the leaves, so the succulents will not get mold. Thirdly, farina can help to reduce the water evaporation of the succulents. The succulents with farina are more resistant to drought than the others that do not contain farina. They are better nourished than the others and better able to maintain the leaves while keeping water in the root system.
You may wanna ask, which succulents can grow farina?
Well, if you take a close look at our Korean Succulents Collection, it would easily identify if it has farina or not (because most of them are coated). For local succulents, the most common ones are Echeveria Blue Bird, Cotyledon Orbiculata, and Pachyphytum cv. Momobijin.
Now we wonder how to create a thick layer of powder for the succulents.
First, do not wipe the leaves and do not touch them.
For the fat leaf succulents like Pachyphytum cv. Momobijin and Graptopetalum Amethystinum, their farina will not fall even after rain. The farina will come back soon after the water dried out. But remember, do not touch it. Some beginners think the white film does not look good and they will wipe it off, this is not good, once the powder has been wiped off, it is really hard to grow back, especially for some old leaves. If you do not like the water drop stain and want to clean it up, you can use the water spray, but do not use your hand.
Secondly, take good care of your succulents.
For baby succulents, they do not contain much farina, the leaves grow up slowly begin to secrete farina. This is also the reason why most Korean Succulents have a very tick farina because they have very strong roots. The same, if you want the succulents to have a thick layer of farina, then they need to have a strong root, so take good care of it.