What is the white powder on my succulents

white powder on the succulent leaves

If you have seen white powder in the succulents, it may be epicuticular wax. What is epicuticular wax ? What is its effect on succulents? Today we answer these questions.


What is white powder in succulents (epicuticular wax)

The epicuticular wax  is a white layer on the leaves, stems and fruits, of a wide variety of plants. It is common to see it in red grapes, blueberries, sugar cane, apples, plums and many succulents.

This epicuticular wax or white powder in succulents is actually small microscopic crystals that form in the cuticle on the surface of the plant. This powder coating gives the succulents an ice-cold look.


But maybe you have some doubts. Should I remove this white powder in the succulents? Will it be malignant or beneficial? Let’s see.

Benefits of epicuticular wax succulents

Succulents with epicuticular wax have a natural sunscreen, waterproof coating, antibiotic and insect repellent all in one.

  • The epicuticular wax is a waterproof layer for succulents . It happens just like when we wax a car. The wax causes drops to form, instead of moistening the plant. When the drops of water roll down the plant they clean the leaves.
  • The white powder in the succulents prevents the plant from losing moisture in the air.
  • The epicuticular wax reflects ultraviolet radiation, acting as a sunscreen. In some cases it reflects UV light over 80%, thus avoiding sunburn.
  • This white powder in succulents makes it difficult for insects to walk and to lay eggs on succulents.

With so many benefits it seems against producing to eliminate this protective layer of succulents.

Varieties of succulents with epicuticular wax

Many varieties of succulents have a pronounced epicuticular wax on the leaves. Some are:

  • Echeveria Perle von Nurnberg
  • Echeveria laui
  • Echeveria ‘Pollux’
  • Pachysedum
  • Pachyphytum ‘Moonstones’
  • Echeveria champagne pink
  • Echeveria ‘Blue Atoll’
  • Graptoveria ‘Debbie’
  • Chinese Dunce Caps
  • Kalanchoe thyrsiflora


white powder on the succulents

Do not clean the white powder on the succulents

Because epicuticular wax provides so many benefits to the plant, I do not see the use of eliminating it. If you cleaned this white powder of succulents you have no choice but to wait for it to develop again. This process is very slow. If you have touched any of these succulents you will see how the fingerprint lasts for months on the leaves.

If you want to clean them, use a brush with soft bristles to remove dirt.

How to recognize between epicuticular wax and powdery mildew on succulents?

A doubt arises. Oidium powdery mildew) also manifests itself with white powder in succulents. So, how can I identify between epicuticular wax and powdery mildew?

The epicuticular wax uniformly covers the succulent. It develops in the lower part, as well as in the upper part of the leaves. If there are heavier accumulation locations, they occur in a very gradual way that seems intentional.

It does not happen this way with powdery mildew. In addition, since this wax protects the health of the plant, it is pending the state of the leaves. Healthy and happy leaves with a very fine and uniform powder that covers the entire plant is a good description of the appearance of epicuticular wax.

Ground cover with the succulent sedum

How to make a terrarium or verrine with succulents (use color sand)