At this time of year, I water our potted succulents once a week. Sometimes I do it leisurely, inspecting each plant for new growth or just admiring their form; sometimes I’m rushed and try to get it done as quickly as possible.
Three weekends ago I must have been rushed and not paid much attention to what was going on. This became very apparent when I noticed the following week that our sempervivum bowl had the worst case of mealybug infestation I’d ever seen on a succulent. I immediately sprayed with neem oil, which is typically quite effective, and quarantined the bowl to a far corner of the yard. When I checked back a few days later, most plants were dead—I hadn’t caught the infestation early enough. I might have been able to save a few plants, but I decided to just dump the entire content of the bowl into the garbage can and start over. The thought of trying to salvage anything was too discouraging and just plain unappealing.
Severe mealybug infestation on hens-and-chicks (Sempervivum sp.)