Succulents are typically resistant to most plant diseases and pests, but that does not mean they do not attract certain bugs, such as spiders.
Spiders are attracted to succulents because the shape and structure of most succulents is sturdy enough to create a nest and to protect them from potential predators.
They also use the moisture around the succulents to hydrate themselves.
In this article, we will discuss more why spiders are attracted to succulents and what you can do to remove them and prevent them from returning.
If you are currently experiencing this problem with your succulents and you want to learn more, just keep reading.
Why do spiders like being in your succulents?
Before we discuss how to remove spiders from your succulents, let us first discuss why they are there in the first place.
Spiders are not the only bugs that use succulents as a breeding ground. Flies and fungus gnats do this as well, as do many other insects, but using the plant for this purpose is one of the many reasons spiders are attracted to succulents.
Succulents also provide privacy for spiders, which like to be hidden away from everything. Even spider mites, a smaller species, seek out succulents in order to hide as well as to feed.
Succulents also provide protection for spiders, which have their own predators such as birds. The cracks and crevices between the rigid succulent leaves can do a great job at protecting them.
A spider can also have a great vantage point from between the plant’s leaves of everything going on around it without risking exposure to predators.
Spiders also drink water that has pooled at the base of succulents. This can happen when the plant is overwatered or if the pot has poor drainage, and the pooling water will catch the spider’s eye.
Another reason they like succulents is that the textured foliage makes a great base for spiders’ webs. Spiders find it much easier to create their webs on the surface of succulents than some other plants because their leaves are more rigid and sturdy than those of a typical plant that will blow around in the wind.
Lastly, the space between the base of the succulent and the soil’s surface is a perfect place for a spider to make its nest.
So, not only are spiders protected from predators, provided with drinking water, and able to spin webs to catch their food; they can also breed and reproduce effectively in the same plant.
Are spiders harmful to succulents?
One of the big questions succulent owners have when they find spiders on their plants is whether or not spiders are actually harmful to the plants. Do spiders take too much water away from the plant? Do they do anything to the soil that might affect the succulents?
Spider mites, which are also arachnids, eat chlorophyll, which is the green pigment found in the foliage of plants. Since all succulents have chlorophyll in their leaves and stems, spider mites will feed on this, which can weaken the plant and cause malnutrition and discoloration.
Furthermore, when spiders create too many webs between the succulent’s leaves, water can get caught in the webs and be unable to reach the soil, thus effectively dehydrating the plant.
If the succulent is overrun with too many spiders and all of them drink the water that is supposedly for the plant, it is possible that this might lead to a certain level of dehydration.
Typically, one or two spiders on your succulent will not cause that much damage to the plant. The problems will arise if you let these bugs reproduce and multiply, creating strength in numbers, in which case there may be more noticeable effects.
How to remove spiders from your succulents
If you find spiders on your succulents, you can use an organic pesticide as a succulent-safe option for eradicating the bugs. These insecticides work not only on spiders but should also be effective against most types of pests that are commonly found on succulents.
Clean your succulents
Another way to remove spiders, as well as their webs, is to wipe down your succulents every once in a while. You can use a damp washcloth or a wet wipe on the surface of the plants’ leaves.
Not only will this practice keep the spiders from spreading and reproducing; it will also remove any dust from your succulents and keep the plants looking healthy and vibrant.
Aerate and sift the soil
Spiders, as well as other bugs, like it when the soil they have claimed as the home is settled and never disturbed. This is also why they like creating nests in attics and garages, where boxes have been unmoved for years. It makes them feel safe.
In order to rattle the spiders, you can sift the soil in your succulent pot once a week.
This movement should be enough to make them uncomfortable and think about moving on.
Remove any visible webs as soon as possible
The moment you see a web, remove it immediately. A small web may not look like much, but in a few days it can grow bigger, and within a few weeks there could be baby spiders crawling around your succulent. Do not wait for the bugs to take over your entire plant before acting on the problem.
Yes, spiders are attracted to succulents, because they provide privacy, protection from predators, drinking water, and a well-hidden space at the base of the plant that is perfect for making a nest.
One or two spiders may not have any noticeable negative effects on your succulents, but the more spiders there are invading a plant, the more noticeable these effects are going to be.
Remove the spiders by using an organic pesticide, regularly cleaning and wiping your succulents, and aerating the soil once a week.
Image: istockphoto.com / ViniSouza128