White waxy coating on your plant? Epicuticular waxes explained

Posted by Sacred Elements on

Ever been tempted to leave your fingerprint on the leaf of a chalky succulent or curious why some grapes are covered in that whitish bloom?

Us too! So here's what we've learned.

Epicuticular waxes are three dimensional crystals covering the outermost layer of most land plants. These waxes appear as a white, blush, grey, or our most favorite color of all...glaucous!

You've probably noticed it covering fruits like plums, blueberries, apples, and pineapples. It's also often more visible on vegetables in the brassica family like kale, brussel sprouts or cabbages.

Epicuticular waxes are also visible on many of our houseplants in the cactus and succulent family, echeveria and agave being the most obvious. This wax also covers branches on some cedar trees, staghorn ferns, palms, and air plants too!

Epicuticular waxes serve important functions for the plant life they blanket in three key ways: by retaining moisture, by preventing sunburn, and as a built in pest care system.

This waxy layer is responsible for regulating hydration in dry desert climates or in times of drought or, in some cases, when plant parents forget to water for extended periods of time. It happens!

Epicuticular waxes reflects UV radiation, acting essentially as a built in sunscreen, preventing damage from sunburn. This is why it's so important to leave that layer alone as much as possible, even when you're tempted to touch!

Finally, these waxes make the surface more difficult for insects to walk on or to lay their eggs on. Wonderful built in pest prevention! Always amazing at the inherent wisdom of plant life! The coating also helps to keep things clean as any particles of dust or soil have a hard time adhering to the surface. 

Our tonics are safe to use on every plant in your home and garden but we suggest you avoid spraying our Sacred Leaf Tonic on plants with this vital protective coating as the oils in this leaf blend can strip away some of that layer. Instead we recommend using our Sacred Soil Tonic as a foliar feed or for pest treatment and apply as you would our Sacred Leaf Tonic. 

Hope this finds you well. Happy growing friends! 

Karina and Team SE

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