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How to Get Rid of Lerps on Century Plant

Updated: March 23, 2022

The century plant (Agave americana) is a striking succulent that can add an exotic touch to any garden. However, if you notice small, white, waxy deposits on the leaves of your century plant, then you may have a problem with lerps. Lerps are the protective coverings that are created by various insects, including psyllids, scale insects, and mealybugs. In this article, we will discuss how to get rid of lerps on century plant.

Identifying Lerps

Lerps appear as small, white or gray, waxy bumps on the leaves of the century plant. They are often found on the undersides of the leaves or near the base of the plant. If you look closely at a lerp, you may be able to see a small insect inside.

Why Are Lerps a Problem?

Lerps can cause damage to your century plant by sucking the sap from the leaves. This can cause yellowing of the leaves, stunted growth, and even death of the plant if left untreated. In addition, lerps can attract ants and other pests that feed on the honeydew produced by the insects inside the lerp.

How to Get Rid of Lerps

There are several methods for getting rid of lerps on your century plant:

1. Pruning

If the infestation is localized, you can prune off the affected leaves or stems. Be sure to dispose of them properly to prevent spreading the infestation.

2. Blast Them Off

You can use a strong stream of water to blast off the lerps from your century plant. This method is effective for small infestations and can be repeated as needed.

3. Insecticidal Soap

Insecticidal soap is a safe and effective way to control lerps on your century plant. Look for a product that is labeled for use on succulents and follow the instructions carefully.

4. Neem Oil

Neem oil is a natural insecticide that can be used to control lerps on your century plant. Mix 1 tablespoon of neem oil with 1 gallon of water and spray the plant thoroughly.

5. Systemic Insecticides

Systemic insecticides are absorbed by the plant and are effective at controlling lerps. However, they should be used with caution and only as a last resort. Follow the instructions carefully and avoid using systemic insecticides on plants that are edible or that may be visited by pollinators.

Preventing Lerps

Preventing lerps on your century plant is key to keeping your plant healthy. Here are some tips for preventing lerps:

  • Keep your plants healthy and well-watered.
  • Remove any dead or damaged leaves or stems promptly.
  • Inspect new plants carefully before bringing them into your garden.
  • Keep ants under control, as they can spread lerps from plant to plant.


Can I use rubbing alcohol to remove lerps?

Rubbing alcohol is not recommended for removing lerps, as it can damage the leaves of your century plant.

Are lerps harmful to humans?

No, lerps are not harmful to humans.

Will insecticidal soap harm beneficial insects?

Insecticidal soap can harm some beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings. Use it sparingly and only when necessary.

How often should I inspect my century plant for lerps?

It’s a good idea to inspect your century plant regularly for signs of infestation, especially during the growing season.