Why Is My Cactus Growing Roots

A succulent that isn’t getting enough water and frequently when it’s in a humid climate will typically develop aerial roots. Through their roots, succulents take up water from the air around them.

Soil with big particles is crucial for the health of your succulent because of this.

Your succulent may not be getting enough water if you aren’t watering it properly, in which case it will begin to “seek for more.” At this point, aerial roots begin to develop.

Observe how the bottom of these Crassula rupestris is quite dried up and how many fresh air roots have sprouted.

The lack of sunlight has also caused this plant to become very languid. A succulent might occasionally send out air roots if it isn’t getting enough sunshine.

A succulent is more likely to produce aerial roots when it begins to spread out, though this isn’t always the case.

Can aerial roots develop on cacti?

Don’t worry too much if you see growths on your Christmas cactus that resemble roots. In its natural environment, the Christmas cactus is an epiphytic plant that grows on rocks or trees. Christmas cactus produces aerial roots, which aid the plant in clinging to its host.

Because it does not rely on the tree for food or water, the plant is not a parasite. The roots are useful in this situation. Aerial roots on Christmas cacti assist the plant in reaching sunlight and absorbing vital nutrients and moisture from the humus, leaves, and other plant waste that surround the plant.

These built-in defense systems can help you figure out why your Christmas cactus in a pot is growing aerial roots. For instance, under low light, a plant may produce aerial roots in an effort to capture more sunlight. If so, moving the plant into more direct sunlight may stop the development of aerial roots.

Similar to this, the plant could grow aerial roots as it reaches out for additional water or nutrients. When the top 1 to 2 inches (2.5–5 cm) of the potting soil feels dry to the touch, water the plant thoroughly. During the fall and winter, water sparingly, only enough to keep the plant from wilting.

Starting in late winter or early spring, feed the plant once a month with a typical houseplant fertilizer. In October, when the plant is getting ready to blossom, stop fertilizing.

What is coming out of my cactus, exactly?

They are referred to as aerial roots! Relax; your plant is likely healthy. However, aerial roots may be a sign that your succulent needs some special attention. Continue reading to learn more about air roots and how to deal with them.

Can a cactus with aerial roots be propagated?

Studying the environmental factors affecting your succulent’s growth can help you decide what to do in each situation:

  • Avoid action. Unless you feel they are excessively unattractive, it is not necessary to remove them. But make sure your succulent receives adequate light and deeper watering (not necessarily more frequently). The roots may become thicker or harder and take on the appearance of a tiny branch if they are left behind. That is typical.
  • Slice them. It’s okay if some folks simply don’t like the way it looks. Cut them with a clean, precise knife (or pair of scissors). Be aware that they probably need to be clipped back because they will grow back.
  • Propagation. You can decide to transfer or propagate the plant if your observations show that it is trying to fix or anchor itself. Waiting for the roots to show is one of the slower steps in the propagation of succulents. If your succulent has aerial roots, you can remove it, leaving the roots at the bottom, and cover them with dirt since they are already halfway through the multiplication process.

Although a succulent’s aerial roots are not a major issue, they are a hint that you should take into account when altering your succulent’s care.

Why are air roots developing in my plant?

Aerial roots are those that develop on a plant’s above-ground components. Woody vines have aerial roots that act as anchors to attach the plant to trellises, rocks, and other supports.

Similar to deep roots, some varieties of aerial roots can take up nutrients and moisture. Although they have underground roots, bog and marsh plants are unable to take gases from the atmosphere. To aid in air exchange, some plants generate above-ground “breathing roots.

Why is the hair on my cactus growing?

Depending on their species and the environment in which they thrive, cacti plants have various looks. For instance, the Saguaro plant, which grows in arid regions, differs in appearance from cacti found in the rainforest, like the holiday cactus plant. Cephalocereus senilis, a kind of cacti that is covered in white hair, stands out among the other cacti species.

Why do some cacti plants have white hair? The “old man cactus” or Cephalocereus senilis is another name for the white-haired cactus. The shaggy coat of rather long white hairs on this cactus, which resembles the unruly hair of an elderly man, is its most remarkable feature. Young plants have an especially pronounced coat. The stem of the plant starts to shed its coat as it ages, and some of the hairs begin to dwindle. Therefore, if your cactus plant has white hairs on it, you may be growing the old man cactus.

Could you remove air roots?

The top 5 suggestions for dealing with these roots are as follows:

  • I frequently find them to be attractive, depending on the plant and the size of the roots. You can let them flourish if you share that sentiment. You are not need to spray them, although you are welcome to.
  • They can also be planted in soil to continue serving their purpose.
  • absorb nutrients and moisture
  • Some feel them to be ugly. Feel free to cut them off if you’re one of them. The plant won’t be harmed by you. Cutting aerial roots won’t hurt your plant in any way, just like pruning earth roots won’t (and actually encourages root branching). Cut as near to the main stem as you can if you want to completely eliminate them. Although I don’t typically sanitize my pruning shears, doing so is the best practice because it lowers the likelihood that the incision will become infected. Rub alcohol or hydrogen peroxide are both suitable for sterilizing. Even though the aerial roots are extending too far, you might still like the way they look. If so, trim them and shorten them to fit your needs and the available area. Once more, you won’t do any harm to the plant. They will keep growing, so don’t be concerned.
  • Root pruning has some exceptions, including orchids. Don’t cut the roots of orchids. Because they are epiphytes, orchids in the wild cling to trees with their aerial roots. Despite the fact that some of the orchid roots in our houses are buried in bark or sphagnum moss and others are floating in the air, all orchid roots are aerial in nature. Cutting an orchid’s aerial roots would result in the loss of roots that the plant needs to collect moisture and nutrients. Orchids frequently lack the length and density of roots that non-epiphytic plants do, and each healthy root will help the plant absorb moisture and grow stronger. Another justification for leaving orchid roots alone is because it’s thought that they can photosynthesize.
  • Some people conceal aerial roots in another pot or place them in a vase with water. Although I personally don’t think this is a good idea because a new vase or pot takes up more room, you can certainly do it. The new vase or pot should allow the roots to absorb water. However, putting the roots in the same pot as the plant will produce the same results.

How should aerial roots on succulents be treated?

If you notice that your succulents are starting to form aerial roots, don’t become alarmed. Your succulents are still in good health; they simply need a little more care than normal. In fact, they perform a variety of tasks that benefit the plants they grow on, including:

  • They aid the succulents in absorbing moisture and nutrients from the surrounding air. This is really helpful, especially for plants cultivated in humid environments like rainforests.
  • The ability to grow downward till they come into contact with the dirt will unquestionably aid in supporting weaker stems.
  • Small pores on the aerial roots of succulents allow them to take in air as necessary, which is extremely beneficial for those with soggy soil.
  • aids in the spread of ideas. Aerial roots assist the new cutting quickly absorb nutrients and water if a trailing plant, such as a burro’s tail or string of pearls, is cut off. Plant offsets, such as Mother of Thousands, have the ability to develop airborne roots, which enable them to spread further when they drop off.

Your Succulent Isn’t Getting Enough Light

All plants require light, but succulents particularly crave it. Your pal may be leggy if you don’t provide a sunny area where they can soak up the light.

Insufficient sunshine causes succulents to develop lengthy stems. They begin to turn and spread out in search of light during a process known as etiolation, which gives them a “leggy appearance with a long stem and smaller, spaced-out leaves.

It can be challenging to determine how much light your plant needs right immediately because every plant is unique. Try transferring the succulent to an area where it will receive more light if you find it starting to grow a long stem without adding more leaves. You might want to think about buying a tiny tabletop grow light if your house doesn’t have a place where the sun shines.

Can I cut my succulent’s aerial roots off?

From oak trees to succulents, roots are a crucial component of all plants. Although there are many different types of roots and some that are specialized, all roots assist their plants in the following crucial ways:

  • Roots absorb moisture and disperse it throughout the plant.
  • Nutrients are absorbed by roots, which then distribute them throughout the plant.
  • Roots hold plants firmly in place, usually in soil.

These functions are often carried out by roots, which develop at the base of plants and reside in the soil. When the plant’s underground roots are unable to adequately meet its needs for water or a stable base, stem roots will eventually form. When you observe a succulent forming aerial roots from the stem, it is doing so to meet a need. Aerial roots on succulents are typically a sign that the plant needs more moisture or anchor points.

What Do Aerial Roots Do?

Airborne roots have the capacity to capture water vapor from the atmosphere and transfer it to the rest of the plant. This increases the soil’s moisture supply. (Some plants, like mangroves, that are adapted to grow in marshy or extremely moist environments actually use aerial roots for the reverse process to aid in plant respiration. Before aerial roots could form, succulents are likely to perish in such moist environments.)

In several different ways, aerial roots support plants as well. In the case of vines like ivy, they may climb a structure, or they may help ground cover plants proliferate by creating new rooting sites. On succulents, aerial roots often develop where a component of the plant is likely to fall, either as a result of damage or evolution. The plant will sprout aerial roots in preparation for coming into touch with the dirt if it is damaged or etiolates from lack of light. When this happens, the aerial roots will be able to root into the soil, absorbing water and nutrients while serving as an anchor for that area of the succulent.

The plantlets of Kalanchoe houghtonii can be seen in the image above, each of which has a spray of aerial roots growing on the little stem connecting it to the mother plant’s leaf. These little stems will eventually dry out and snap, causing the young plants to fall to the ground. When that time comes, their aerial roots will be prepared to plant themselves firmly in the ground and produce a new generation of Kalanchoe. In this instance, the aerial roots on the succulent are prepared to support the new plantlets when a portion of the plant drops.

What Aerial Roots on Succulents Mean

Succulents with aerial roots indicate the plant is attempting to fill a need. Sometimes the plant’s needs are satisfied by the roots that are sprouting from the stem. However, you should always make an effort to spot these changes in your plants and figure out what they signify. To maintain the succulent’s health and vitality, you might decide to alter your care practices.

Sedum rubrotinctum “Aurora” needs water. Observe how a few of the leaves have a slight wrinkle to them. The succulent requires more water as evidenced by this. The leaves are lovely and full overall. I doubt that I would have seen the early puckering indications. But in response, the plant is growing aerial roots to increase its water intake. That is a definite indication that the plant requires a little extra water. To guide your succulent care, keep an eye out for signals like this. Just be careful not to overreact and give it too much water.

It might be challenging to determine whether a succulent is reaching for more light or whether that is simply how it grows. If it grows aerial roots along the stem, it obviously requires extra support and may be preparing for that part of the plant to fall to the ground. Etiolation is severe; don’t wait for these roots to emerge before taking action. Aerial roots, though, might occasionally shed light on the situation.

Aerial Roots on Succulents

This Kalanchoe tomentosa Silver Panda is flourishing inside in good condition. The aerial roots show that it needs a little bit more water. The succulent’s leaves are large and firm, and all other signs point to a healthy plant. You could slightly increase the watering frequency while maintaining the same amount for the plant. However, it’s likely that this succulent’s requirement for additional water has been met by the roots that are emerging from the stem.

Aerial Roots Looking for Support

This kalanchoe is expanding swiftly and has started to etiolate a little. When a plant grows very large and reaches out for more light, it is said to be etiolated (EE-tee-oh-lated). This stem is forming aerial roots as it bends down and over to create anchor points when it reaches the soil. The best course of action for this one would be to cut back the stem and let it to root independently in a different soil-filled pot. This is how stem cutting propagation works at its core. This stem would soon create an active plant on its own thanks to its extensive aerial roots.

What to Do with Aerial Roots

Succulents’ aerial roots are a crucial sign of the health of the plant. Understanding this will help you maintain the health of your succulents. Feel free to cut or trim back aerial roots from succulents that are growing roots from the stem after you have recognized and taken care of the necessity that led to the roots’ development. However, don’t just brush them off as irrelevant and get rid of them without first looking at the underlying problems. For a reason, the succulent invested time, effort, and resources in growing those roots.

This Sedum rubrotinctum ‘Mini Me’ is not a true hanging succulent; rather, it is a low-growing ground cover plant. Longer stems generate aerial roots as they look for a place to spread out on the earth. The plant will only grow new roots even if these ones are cut down. To create numerous other plants, the stems can be pruned and rooted in soil.

Succulents’ aerial roots indicate that the plant requires something that its normal root system cannot give. This is a favorable review of your care. The message these roots deliver is the same regardless of whether types generate them more frequently.

I hope you found this post to be useful. Please leave a remark if you have any questions, and I’ll get back to you within a day. ‘ till later

P.P.S. Would you consider joining my Facebook group for cactus lovers? We discuss design, identification, propagation, and care of succulents. They’re a friendly bunch who would love to meet you!