What is Farina on Succulents

What is Farina on Succulents?

If you love succulents like we do and happen to have a few of them around the house, you may have noticed a strange substance start to build upon their leaves and stems. This substance may look whitish and feel powdery to the touch. This is called farina, and it’s healthy for you succulents to have this on them. 

But what exactly is farina? Why is it on your succulents, and how does it benefit them? In this article, we’re going to explain all this and more, so keep reading to learn everything you need to know about farina on succulents. 

What is Farina?

Farina is a substance that is a powdery white wax coating that can be found on stems and leaves of succulent plants. It may also be called epicuticular wax, and it benefits succulents. To name a couple of these, it acts as a natural sunscreen to block out harmful sun rays and serves as a rain block to help prevent root rot. 

pachyphytum-oviferum-a-rosette-shaped-succulent

Image Credit: stock.adobe.com

This wax is hydrophobic, meaning it repels water. This is great for succulents because too much water will harm them and could kill them since they have evolved for life in arid climates like deserts and plains. 

What Are the Functions of Farina for Succulents?

Farina actually has several benefits for succulents. As we discussed earlier, epicuticular wax is hydrophobic and acts as a rain screen for the succulent on which it clings, which will help them to stay nice and dry and keep their roots from rotting. It also acts as a physical barrier that can block harmful sun rays, insects, and pathogens from damaging the leaves of the succulent. 

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Echeveria Monroe

How To Clean Succulents While Avoiding Rubbing Farina Off?

In order to clean the leaves of your succulent while the farina are still maintained, here are a few methods you could follow.

Try softly blowing dirt or other debris off the leaves or try to use a soft-bristled brush to remove contaminants. Some kind of brush like a makeup brush will usually do the trick. 

If you have to clean pests like mealybugs off your succulents, try using a solution of  rubbing alcohol and misting it over the succulent’s leaves. This will often leave the bloom intact and not harm the farina on the leaves. 

rubbing alcohol  over the succulent’s leaves to get rid of mealybugs

How To Differentiate Farina from Powdery Mildew?

Powdery mildew usually grows on a succulent’s leaves if the leaves get too wet for too long, and its appearance can be deceptively close to that of farina. 

Since it can be difficult to differentiate between the two, here’s how you can tell which is which. 

Powdery mildew will have a very distinct smell, like mold or sourness. Farina will not smell like this, so if you get close and smell a musty, sour smell, you know the powdery substance on your succulent is most likely powdery mildew. 

Some Common Varieties of Succulent Which Are Stunning with Farina
As we said previously, farina adds to the beauty of succulents, but some kinds of them are especially beautiful. 

The first is the Echeveria sensation, which has a deep sage green color to its leaves with a rich red on the tips. The farina simply gives it a shine that is stunning to look at. 

Echeveria-sensation

Another variety of succulent that looks amazing with farina on it is the Echeveria dark ice, which has the same red-tipped leaves as the echeveria sensation. Still, its leaves are tinged a dark green-blue instead of sage.  

three heads of echeveria dark ice

Lastly, the Baby Finger succulent is another great-looking succulent with farina. Its uniquely shaped cylindrical leaves are tinged light-pink, and the farina gives it an otherworldly glow that can’t be matched. 

 Pachyphytum 'Machucae' baby finger tree

Now you realize that farina is one of the most important parts of succulents. They are not only added to succulents' natural beauty but also protect them as a guard. Just remember, farina can't come back the same way before they were and pay attention to take care of them on your succulents.

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