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I got a pot of mixed plants and succulents at a yard sale about a week ago for a buck! The lady was selling the pot because she said the plants were a lost cause. In order to keep the succulents alive the soil was too dry for the plant in the picture (not sure what it is). I decided today I would separate them so the succulents could be in cactus soil and these could have a chance a survival, and so I could water them without over watering the succulents.

When I uprooted them I noticed these white bugs. I'm assuming an aphid of some kind. They are even on my succulents and the decorative marbles on the top layer of the soil. Before, I have treated aphids on outdoor plants by mixing cayenne pepper, dish soap and water in a spray bottle and sprayed the plant leaves until they are dripping, and let dry. This has worked and I'm going to try this on the unidentified plant in my picture, but am worried about spraying that mix directly onto the leaf of the succulents.

I know succulents absorb and store nutrients differently than "leafy" plants and don't know how safe this is. Even the cactus food I have is a spray foam instead of a water mix or spray. I don't know the biology behind it. Can anyone help?

Are these in fact aphids? Can I treat my succulents in the same manner, or is there a better or safer solution I should try? Are these pests specific to indoor plants, and if so, would putting my succulents outdoors help? All of the succulents I have are "full sun" succulents and can withstand the sun and the heat, they're just so pretty and I happen to have a large window that provides them with plenty of sun.

In addition, my other succulents that did not come from the same pot are thriving and producing "babies" and my two bromeliads are also doing well, neither of which have the white bugs. Should they be treated too in order to prevent spread?

2 Answers 2


It's hard to tell what this is with this picture, a close-up would help.

My first thought was Whitefly, which is bad news. The suck the sap out of plants, you'll have to verify that your bugs have wings though. Best way to get rid of the bugs is to wipe the plant off with a wet towel.

On second thought they also look very much like Springtails. Folsomia candida is a species that is often found in the soil of plant pots. Springtails don't have wings but do have 6 legs (they are related to insects, but more primitive in evolutionary sense). Springtails do usually not eat from living plants (they prefer fungus), so if they are on the plant it is a sign they don't like it in the soil anymore. You can recognize Springtails by the way they jump.


You can get rid of all kinds of bugs on plants by drowning them. Just fill a bucket or something with lukewarm water, shake as much potting soil of the root of the plant as possible and put the whole thing under water for a half hour or so. Wash of the rest of the potting soil because the bugs sometimes lay eggs in it and re pot with fresh soil. Works most of the time for me.

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