White Specs/Crystals on Hens and Chicks - Wont go away - Aphids?

by Evan
(Bloomsburg, PA)

Hens and chick with specs/flakes

Hens and chick with specs/flakes

Hello There,
Thank you for the help in advance. I have two hens and chicks plants that I believe have been infected by aphids.

I learned this based on another persons question on here about the white flakes. Mine did look similar to those pics. Its almost like these little white FLAKES. I just doused them in ornamental insecticide (last ditch effort),so many fell off before the picture. So not the best picture to show how bad it can get.

I spray them and they fall off only to come back the next day. I have been using a dish soap with cayenne pepper solution that I also believe came from this site.

There is no doubt there is less of these specs, but the next day more always come back. Especially underneath the leaves. I think I just cant get to all of them bc of the folded down leaves which can hide them well. I try rotating it and getting all the folds but they always come back.

I just put Ortho Plant, Flower and Ornamental insecticide on them hoping this nuclear strike well kick them for good before winter. Is there any other options?

Do you think these are aphids? Do they always come back? How many treatments should it take?

I have done this for 2 weeks and still get the flakes. I am about to bring them inside for good (I live in PA) and don't want to infect the others. How can I get rid of whatever this is?
Again, thank you!

Comments for White Specs/Crystals on Hens and Chicks - Wont go away - Aphids?

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Could be aphids...
by: Jacki

I would look at these under a magnifying glass to have a better look at them. If it's aphids, what you'll be seeing is tiny cast off skins as the aphids shed them and move to another 'instar' or stage.

So, first; are you spraying religiously less than 23 hours apart? If not, then it's not doing any good. 23 hours is the cycle, so if you don't hit them as adults about to reproduce, it's wasted effort.

Second thing; this looks like Sempervivum, which yes, they will continually get aphids indoors. So leave them outside, they're tough. They prefer winter cold to make them happy.

Third thing; it's in a totally wrong soil, so this will make it susceptible to bugs. They have an uncanny sense from a plant that's struggling, and they'll zone in on it. Use something with a lot less bark, a lot more sand or gravel.

Hope this helps with your issue.

Thank you Jacki
by: Evan

Thank you Jacki,
I will try what you have suggested. Is PA winters not to cold for the hens and chicks? Is that different than the term you used (started with an "s")? I was doing it every 24 hours so stepping up the amount of time could work.

Will the cold kill these critters? Again just want to make sure they will be ok in PA.

I imagine all of my succulents are not fit to go outside in PA right? I have aloe, Golum finger and lots of Jade. Again thank you for your help,

The Botanical name is Sempervivum
by: Jacki

Sempervivum means 'ever living' which is pretty apt. These guys are hard to kill! However, the cold won't kill the bugs necessarily.

Keep up the spraying (every 23 hours).

You're right, the other plants (Aloe, Crassula etc) are not hardy - take them indoors for the winter, but make sure they don't also have bugs. Take the Winterizing Succulents E-Course for some hints on bringing tender succulents indoors - it's FREE.

The Sempervivum should go outdoors, and yes, they'll be fine in your winter. I'm in Zone 4a here, and they are great for the winter, if we get snow (which I'm sure you do).

Here's a link to some more information on preparing your succulent containers for winter.

by: Evan

Thanks Jacki,
I will get to work on this. What mixture of soil and perlite/sand do you find the best?

Do all succulents use the same mix?

Is it too late in the fall up in PA to change the soil type?

We have been using miracle grow rapid draining soil for cactus and citrus. You think this type of soil is not sufficient?

Do any places sell the type of mix you like or do you make your own? Again thank you,

by: Jacki

There is endless speculation on the best kind of soil for succulents. Some people prefer using bark or compost based soil, but the problem is that these hold too much moisture.

Succulents prefer well drained soil, such as a mix of potting soil and either pumice, gravel or perlite. See more about soil.

Right now is not the best time to repot outdoor succulents. Although, I've seen Sempervivum survive just fine dumped out of their pot, and placed on the ground. Indoor ones can be repotted any time.

by: Evan

Thank you Jacki! I will take your advice and see how things go. I really appreciate your help.

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