Ever pick up a succulent and notice a white powder on the leaves? You touch it to see what it is and it leaves behind a streak. This powder is called Epicuticular Wax or Farina.
Epicuticular wax is a coating of wax that forms a white or bluish film on the leaves and stems of succulents. Giving it a ‘frosted finish appearance’. Think of it like a raincoat or sunscreen for your plant!
Although not all succulents have this powdery film, it is more common in succulents than other plants. There are quite a few plants out there that have this film, but none of them have as much of the film on their leaves as succulents do.
Science Behind it Epicuticular wax forms as tiny microscopic crystals that develop on the plant's cuticle.This wax acts as a protective layer from things such as the sun, water, insects, etc. It actually is the highest type of nature protective layer from UV lighting for plants. It is not harmful to the plant to remove this film, but try to avoid it. If the epicuticular wax layer gets wiped off by accident, don’t worry. It will come back within some time.
How it Affects Watering If you have ever watered your succulent and saw that the water beads up, that’s part of the protective wax layer! Crazy, right? The film collects foreign particles such as dirt and microbes and beads them into the water so that the water can roll all the foreign particles off the succulent. This is also known as the Lotus Effect.
Useful Information The film is also a great way to tell if your plant is healthy! It shows hints of temperature, humidity, and disease. For example, if you look at your succulent and you see that the film is blotchy in spots, this could b=mean that the temperature is off or the humidity is too high. If your succulent has a nice even layer of the film, that sucker is happy!
Summary Epicuticular wax is a protective layer from foreign particles and helps maintain moisture loss. The white film is beneficial to the plants overall health, but is not harmful if removed.
Leave a comment in the section below if this was helpful, or if you have any questions! Also, don't forget to check out our variety of succulents under Shop Now!