Farina on Succulents: Embrace The Beauty

Wondering what the blueish silver film that gives your succulent its airbrush beauty is? It’s farina on succulents, also known as epicuticular wax.

farina on succulents

Farina is a coating of wax that forms on the stems, leaves, and fruit of various plants, but it’s most commonly found on succulents like Echeveria, Pachyphytum, Sedeveria, Kalanchoe, and Graptoveria.

This powdery substance not only adds a unique beauty to these plants but also serves a crucial purpose in their survival.

What is Farina on Succulents?

Epicuticular wax, or farina, is a layer of tiny microscopic crystals that develop on the surface of a plant’s cuticle.

This wax helps in repelling water and protects the plant from the sun, water, pathogens, and insects.

Succulents that possess farina are often described as “glaucous,” meaning they have a frosted appearance due to the powdery or waxy coating.

It’s essential to note that not all succulents in the mentioned genera have farina, and even within the same species, the amount of farina can vary.

So, it’s truly a unique feature that adds to the allure of these plants.

farina on succulents

Which succulents have Farina?

You can find this powdery substance called farina on the stems, leaves, and fruits of various plants. It’s especially common on succulents like Echeveria, Pachyphytum, Sedeveria, Kalanchoe, and Graptoveria. But remember, not all species in these genera have this powdery coating.

Does Removing Farina Harm Your Plants?

Fortunately, removing farina doesn’t cause significant harm to your succulents. However, it’s advisable to avoid removing it whenever possible.

Farina acts as a hydrophobic layer, repelling water and aiding the plant’s protection.

It acts as a natural sunscreen, raincoat, antibiotic, and bug spray, all in one!

To preserve farina, it’s best to steer clear of pesticides, fungicides, and horticultural oils that can strip away this protective wax.

If you need to clean soil from the leaves, use a soft makeup brush or gently blow it away.

Avoid using your fingers, as the natural oils on your skin can ruin the powdery appearance.

farina on succulents

The Lotus Effect and Plump Leaves

One of the fascinating qualities of farina is its ability to keep succulent leaves clean.

The wax causes water to bead up and roll away, capturing dirt, microbes, and other particles in the process. This phenomenon is known as the Lotus Effect.

Additionally, the waxy coating helps keep the leaves plump by preventing water from evaporating too quickly.

An even layer of epicuticular wax is a sign of good plant health.

If you notice a mottled appearance on your succulent’s leaves, it could be a result of high humidity or even disease.

Regularly examining your plants is an excellent practice to catch any issues before they spread.

Farina vs. Powdery Mildew: Differences

farina on succulents

Distinguishing between farina and powdery mildew is important. Farina appears evenly across the surface of the plant, while powdery mildew starts splotchy and gradually spreads.

Powdery mildew can harm the plant, causing deformity and damage to the leaves.

Monitoring your plant’s health and promptly addressing such issues can prevent further damage and spread to other plants.

When purchasing plants online, it’s common for some farina to be wiped away during shipping.

Don’t worry; this is normal, and the plant will regrow the wax over time. With patience, it will eventually grow back, and the plant will thrive.

Reflectivity and the Giant Chalk Dudleya

farina on succulents

Interestingly, farina on succulents possesses remarkable UV reflectivity.

The Giant Chalk Dudleya (D. brittonii), which grows in volcanic outcrops, exhibits 83% UV reflectivity when it has a thick, glaucous coating.

This percentage is higher than any other known plant species.

On the other hand, non-glaucous forms of D. brittonii only offer 10% reflectivity.

It’s truly incredible to see how farina contributes to the survival and adaptability of these plants.

Cherish the Beauty and Protect the Farina

In conclusion, farina is not only visually captivating, but it also plays a vital role in the health and protection of succulents.

Although removing it doesn’t cause significant harm, it’s best to preserve this natural coating whenever possible.

Let your succulents bask in the glory of their natural sunscreen, raincoat, antibiotic, and bug spray all-in-one.

farina on succulents

So, have you ever witnessed a succulent regenerating its farina? Share your experiences in the comments below!