Plants

Diseases of succulents

Succulents

The natural world is an extraordinary example of how much power Nature (as the supreme being recognized by all) has and can express; we must not overlook that nature is the true creator of everything that surrounds us, and not us human beings who at most have “combined the ingredients” to build tools and other things, but certainly have not “created”. Succulents are a very interesting part of the plant world, because they can very well exemplify one of the greatest powers of plants: adaptation. Everyone, for better or worse, when they hear the word “succulent plant” they know what we are talking about, also because they are also seen in films and in any case they are widespread as houseplants. Esse, whose real name is “succulent” plants (the word fat is a more popular term, although it gives a good idea), they are plants whose incredible spirit of adaptation has led them to live in places where the first fundamental component of life, namely water, is missing, or at least very scarce. It seems absurd, because everyone knows that even a human being (whose “weakness” compared to other animals is gigantic) could live a month without touching food, but would not last more than a week without drinking water.

Characteristics of succulents


The example shown at the end of the previous paragraph is as exhaustive as possible, it makes us understand how there could be no life without water (and this is, for example, the reason why when international space agencies search away on other planets, they search first of all the water). And in a desert like the Sahara or others on planet Earth, where it does not rain or in any case the atmosphere is dry even for two or three consecutive months (if not more), how do plants survive? Well, the secret of succulent or succulent plants to live in deserts (especially hot ones, because in cold deserts there would be ice which is still water, even if solidified) is to have reduced waste as much as possible and to have learned to store and conserve water when it arrives in surplus in order to have it available when it is in short supply. And this is the true meaning of the words “fat” and “succulent”: they both refer to the internal content of the plant, which is often swollen because there are water reserves in it. All this was done with internal fabrics capable of absorbing water, reducing the surface of the leaves to a minimum (because otherwise the Sun and the high temperatures would have dried them up) making them become thorns and with an external surface that does not allow water. internal to evaporate and leave the plant, managing to keep the internal temperature lower than the external one even by a few degrees. And this is the true meaning of the words “fat” and “succulent”: they both refer to the internal content of the plant, which is often swollen because there are water reserves in it. All this was done with internal fabrics capable of absorbing water, reducing the surface of the leaves to a minimum (because otherwise the Sun and the high temperatures would have dried them up) making them become thorns and with an external surface that does not allow water. internal to evaporate and leave the plant, managing to keep the internal temperature lower than the external one even by a few degrees. And this is the true meaning of the words “fat” and “succulent”: they both refer to the internal content of the plant, which is often swollen because there are water reserves in it. All this was done with internal fabrics capable of absorbing water, reducing the surface of the leaves to a minimum (because otherwise the Sun and the high temperatures would have dried them up) making them become thorns and with an external surface that does not allow water. internal to evaporate and leave the plant, managing to keep the internal temperature lower than the external one even by a few degrees.

Diseases of succulents

Although succulents have managed to make the aforementioned incredible adaptations to be able to live in deserts with great scarcity of water, they are not “indestructible”; indeed, the very fact that we cultivate them in environments with climates clearly different from the natural ones for them, induces and exalts some weaknesses. For example, succulents, being used to very small quantities of water, need a very draining substrate and sparse watering, because they cannot withstand water stagnation and an excessive abundance of water (in the desert these two phenomena are unthinkable). When this happens, the most frequent thing is the slow agony of the plant, which weakens and risks being attacked above all by fungal agents, which settle on it for parasitism and lead it to a slow end.

Prevention and treatment

Succulents in general are not subject to and predisposed to diseases; indeed, their longevity if kept in the right conditions is highly appreciated by gardening enthusiasts. What is important, however, is the prevention of those diseases mentioned above, because only in this way can they really be avoided: first of all you must always keep in mind the original habitat of the plant, which is dry, clean (not even bacteria and insects can live, only some exceptions), without water stagnation. Consequently we should be careful in watering the plant only when we see the dry soil, to expose it to the sun but not too much to the currents, to guarantee it a very draining subsoil (in all nurseries there are special soils, on the bottom of which it is good to place shards and coarse material to increase the effect) and to integrate the nutrients through sporadic but precise fertilization. When some of these conditions are lacking, the plant weakens and is attacked either by fungi or by parasitic insects such as mites; the solution in these cases is to rebalance the right treatment and cut the diseased parts of the plant if possible, otherwise try with dedicated products which, however, do not always have a great effect: better to avoid by preventing.

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