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EDEMA: Do Your Succulents have Unsightly Scars, Tears, Or Bumps?

bumps on  Echeveria 'Atlantis'
Edema on Echeveria 'Atlantis'

Succulents are sold as easy beginner plants, making them a popular choice for home decor and gardening. However, many new succulent owners might have noticed this issue with their plants and may not know the cause of the bumps on the leaves. This condition, known as succulent oedema (edema), can be brought on by environmental causes such as excessive moisture or sunlight.

In this article, we will discuss what causes succulent edema, why it happens, and how to treat it. We will also look at some of the most common signs of edema in succulents so that you can identify it early and take action to protect your plant.

Edema: Further Explained

When a plant absorbs more water than it is shedding through transpiration, oedema develops. The plant cells are forced to rupture when there are abnormally dry conditions followed by an abundance of moisture, which then leads them to dry out and generate unique corky tissue. Edema may also develop in soils with excessive moisture combined with gloomy, humid conditions. High levels of humidity slow down transpiration.

Identifying Edema

Edema may start off looking like your succulent has a bad skin rash or is in the beginning stage of developing teenage acne.

Bumps may turn brownish or tan and become corky after the cells have burst.

Healing: How Do I fix it? Can I fix it? Do the spots go away?

Edema spots are not harmful to the plant and are not contagious. Once a succulent has spots, there is no way to repair any edema damage, so the resulting corky tissue will continue to be unsightly. Affected plants usually recover and grow fresh, symptomless growth while discarding their old, unattractive leaves..

Tips For Avoiding or Managing Edema

  • Use well-draining soil

  • Try not to use containers or pots with improper drainage (no drain holes)

  • Provide ample and proper lighting

  • Avoiding over-fertilizing, especially during dormant periods

  • Avoiding over-watering and growing on the “dry side” during extended periods of low light and cool temperature

Our Tip: Try grouping varieties with similar growth vigor in a line or section to help eliminate over-watering.

Learn more about properly watering your succulents in our blog.

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