How to Get Rid of Mites on Succulents: An Easy Guide

Succulent plants are beloved by many for their striking appearance and low maintenance requirements. However, one of the challenges that succulent lovers often face is dealing with mite infestations. These tiny arachnids, particularly two-spotted spider mites (Tetranychus urticae), can wreak havoc on your precious plants if left unchecked. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the best methods for getting rid of mites on succulents, from natural predators to organic treatments and preventive measures.

Closeup image of small red mites on a plant leave which succulent plant owners often try to get rid of.

Understanding Mites and Their Impact on Succulents

What Are Mites?

Mites are minuscule creatures, often too small to be seen with the naked eye, that belong to the arachnid family. They are infamous for their piercing-sucking mouthparts, which they use to feed on plant juices. These pests can infest a wide range of plants, including succulents, and cause significant damage to their host plants.

Signs of Spider Mites Infestation

Identifying an infestation of is crucial for taking prompt action to get rid of mites on succulents. Some common signs to watch for include:

  1. Yellow Spots: Succulent leaves may develop yellow spots or stippling due to mite feeding. These discolored areas are often the first noticeable sign of an infestation.
  2. Web-Like Substance: In advanced stages, mites may produce fine webbing, covering the affected areas of the plant. This webbing is not only unsightly but also hinders photosynthesis and nutrient absorption in the leaves.
  3. Small Brown Spots: As mites feed on plant cells, they create tiny brown spots on the leaves. These spots can quickly multiply as the infestation worsens.
  4. White Spots: Tiny white spots may appear on the undersides of leaves, which could be mite eggs or molts. These spots are a clear indication of mite activity.
  5. Fine Webbing on Undersides: Mites often create fine webbing on the undersides of leaves, where they congregate to feed and reproduce. This is a common hiding spot for them.
  6. Visible Mites: In severe infestations, you may be able to see adult mites with the help of a magnifying glass. These tiny arachnids have a characteristic oval shape and may appear reddish or greenish, depending on their diet.

Now that you know the signs of a spider mite infestation, let’s delve into the best ways to get rid of these troublesome pests.

The Best Ways to Get Rid of Mites on Succulents

1. Inspect Your Plants Regularly

The first step in managing mite infestations is early detection. Regularly inspect your succulents, paying close attention to the undersides of leaves where mites often gather. Catching an infestation in its early stages can make a significant difference in saving your succulents and getting rid of the mites.

Regular inspections should be part of your succulent care routine, especially if you live in an area prone to mite infestations or if you have had issues with them in the past. By spotting the signs early, you can address the problem before it escalates into a full-blown infestation.

2. Use a Strong Stream of Water

For light infestations, a strong stream of water from a garden hose can be surprisingly effective. Simply spray the affected areas of your succulent with a forceful stream of water, focusing on the undersides of leaves. This method can physically dislodge mites and wash away their webbing.

The key is to use enough force to knock the mites off the plant without damaging the succulent’s delicate foliage. This technique not only gets rid of the mites on the succulents, but also disrupts their webbing, making it harder for them to return.

3. Beneficial Insects and Natural Predators

Introducing beneficial insects like predatory mites and ladybugs into your garden can help control mite populations. Predatory mites, such as Phytoseiulus persimilis, feed on spider mites and can be a natural solution to the problem. Ladybugs also have a voracious appetite for mites and can be a valuable addition to your garden.

Predatory mites are particularly effective in greenhouses and indoor environments where controlling mite infestations can be challenging. These tiny warriors can quickly establish themselves on indoor plants and keep mite numbers in check, providing long-term protection for your succulents.

4. Neem Oil Spray

Neem oil is a natural insecticide derived from the neem tree (Azadirachta indica). It has a long history of use in pest control and is known for its effectiveness against spider mites. Neem oil works in several ways:

  • It disrupts the mites’ feeding and reproductive abilities.
  • It acts as a growth regulator, preventing mite larvae from maturing.
  • It deters mites from settling on treated plants.

To use neem oil, dilute it with water according to the manufacturer’s instructions and use a spray bottle to spray it on your succulents. Ensure that you cover the entire plant, especially on the undersides of leaves where mites tend to congregate. Neem oil not only kills existing mites but also acts as a deterrent, making your succulents less appealing to these pests.

5. Insecticidal Soap

Insecticidal soap is another organic method for controlling mites. It works by suffocating the pests. Mix a mild solution of insecticidal soap with water and spray it on your succulents. Be sure to reach the undersides of leaves where mites hide.

Insecticidal soap is gentle on your plants while effectively targeting mites. However, it’s essential to follow the recommended dilution rates and application instructions to avoid damaging your succulents. This method is most effective against light to moderate infestations.

6. Horticultural Oil

Horticultural oil is a safe and effective way to get rid of mites on succulents. It coats the pests and disrupts their respiratory system, ultimately leading to their demise. Apply a diluted horticultural oil solution to your plants, concentrating on the undersides of leaves where mites are most commonly found.

Horticultural oils are a valuable tool in integrated pest management (IPM) programs for succulents. They are particularly useful when dealing with mite infestations on a variety of plant species. These oils can be used as a preventive measure or as part of your mite control strategy.

7. Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a natural, abrasive substance that can help control mite infestations. It is composed of the fossilized remains of diatoms, which are microscopic algae with sharp, silica-rich shells. When diatomaceous earth is applied to the soil surface around your succulents, it serves as a physical barrier.

As mites crawl over the diatomaceous earth, the sharp particles damage their exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate and die. This method is non-toxic to humans and pets but should be applied carefully to avoid inhaling the fine dust.

Diatomaceous earth is a long-lasting solution that can provide ongoing protection for your succulents against a variety of pests, not just mites.

8. Rubbing Alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol can be used to directly target mites on your succulents. Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and carefully dab it on the affected areas of the plant. This will kill the mites on contact.

However, use this method sparingly, as alcohol can also harm your succulent’s foliage. It is best reserved for spot treatment when you spot individual mites or small clusters of them. Be cautious not to overdo it, as excessive use of alcohol can stress your succulent.

9. Systemic Insecticide (Last Resort)

In severe infestations where other methods have failed, you may consider using a systemic insecticide as a last resort. Systemic insecticides are absorbed by the plant and kill mites when they feed on the plant sap. However, this should be a last resort, as it involves the use of chemical pesticides.

Systemic insecticides should be used with caution, following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Keep in mind that they can also affect non-target insects, so consider this option only when other alternatives have been exhausted.

Preventive Measures to Keep Mites at Bay

Preventing mite infestations is often the best way to ensure the health of your succulent collection. Here are some proactive steps you can take:

1. Isolate New Plants

When bringing new succulents into your home or garden, isolate them for a few weeks before integrating them into your collection. This quarantine period helps you identify and address any potential mite infestations before they spread.

Isolation is a valuable precaution, especially if you’ve recently purchased succulents from a nursery or received them as gifts. New plants are often more susceptible to pests, and by isolating them initially, you can protect your existing collection from potential infestations.

2. Maintain Healthy Plants

Healthy succulents are less susceptible to mite infestations. Ensure your plants receive adequate light, water, and proper care. Avoid overwatering, as succulents thrive in dry conditions. Adequate moisture can prevent stress in your plants, making them less attractive to mites.

Succulents should be placed in a location where they receive the appropriate amount of direct sunlight for their species. Proper lighting conditions help your succulents thrive and maintain their natural defenses against pests.

3. Regularly Clean Your Plants

Dust and debris on your succulents can provide hiding places for mites. Use a soft brush or a gentle stream of water to clean the leaves and remove any dust. This simple maintenance can go a long way in preventing mite infestations.

Regularly cleaning your succulents not only keeps them looking their best but also reduces the chances of mites finding shelter on their foliage. Dust and debris can also interfere with photosynthesis, affecting the overall health of your plants.

4. Provide Good Air Circulation

Mites thrive in stagnant, humid conditions. Ensure good air circulation around your succulents, especially if they are grown indoors. This will make it less conducive for mites to establish colonies.

Proper ventilation is essential for preventing a buildup of humidity around your succulents. If you’re growing succulents indoors, consider using fans to promote air circulation and reduce the risk of mite infestations.

5. Avoid Overcrowding

Overcrowding your succulents can create a favorable environment for mite infestations. Give your plants enough space to breathe, allowing for better inspection and maintenance.

When succulents are crowded together, it becomes challenging to spot the early signs of mite infestations. Providing adequate spacing not only helps with early detection but also allows for proper care and prevents the spread of mites from one plant to another.

6. Natural Enemies as Allies

Encourage the presence of beneficial bugs like ladybugs and predatory mites in your garden. These natural enemies can help keep mite populations in check. Planting companion plants that attract these beneficial insects can create a more balanced ecosystem in your garden.

Beneficial bugs are a sustainable and environmentally friendly way to manage mite infestations. By fostering their presence in your garden, you create a natural defense system that can help control mites and other pests without the need for chemical treatments.

Dealing with Heavy Infestations

In some cases, you may encounter mite infestations that have already taken a severe toll on your succulents. If the damage is extensive and the plants are beyond recovery, the best course of action may be to remove and dispose of the infected plant. This will prevent mites from spreading to healthy plants in your collection.

It’s important to act swiftly when faced with heavy infestations. Delaying action can lead to the infestation spreading to neighboring plants, potentially causing further damage. While it’s unfortunate to lose a beloved succulent, it’s a necessary step to protect the health of your entire collection.


Mite infestations can be a nuisance for succulent lovers, but with the right knowledge and strategies, you can effectively get rid of and prevent these tiny pests. Whether you choose natural predators, organic methods, or preventive measures, there are plenty of options to safeguard your beloved succulents. Remember that early detection and regular care are key to maintaining a healthy and mite-free succulent collection. By following the advice in this comprehensive guide, you can enjoy your succulents without the worry of mite infestations taking hold.

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