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 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!
Why is there an antenna on my succulent?
Are you examining your succulent in awe while wondering where the heck that long, antenna-like object came from? You most certainly are not alone. The same causes that cause your plant to grow longer also cause the antenna. All that it really implies is that your plant has been trying really hard to get some sunshine.
Even indoor plants require sunlight to survive. Your succulent will bend, twist, and reach as far as it can to receive some sunlight if there isn’t any in the room. Yes, even that portion of the antenna will regenerate into a new plant if you cut it 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 aerial roots be planted in soil?
You can, indeed. The roots will continue to expand in the soil as a result and will have a function to absorb water and nutrients. Due to the lack of rain indoors, they are unable to absorb moisture when hung in the air, therefore they serve little purpose unless you periodically water or mist them.
Can air roots be eliminated?
Philodendrons grown inside don’t need need air roots, and you can remove them if you find them ugly. Your plant won’t perish if you remove these roots.
A few days beforehand, thoroughly water the plant. No more than a teaspoon of water-soluble fertilizer should be added for every three cups of water.
Before you start, disinfect the blade of your instrument with rubbing alcohol or a solution of nine parts water to one part bleach.
Instead, roll the vines up and bury them in the potting soil (or the ground if you live in a warm environment and your philodendron is growing outdoors). You might try pinning your philodendron to the stick if it is growing on moss.
What is emerging from my succulent’s top?
If you’ve been a succulent enthusiast for a while, you may have observed that some of them start to sprout delicate white or pink roots from their stems. They are referred to as aerial roots.
But what are aerial roots exactly? Is it a symptom of a succulent that isn’t doing well?
Learn more about aerial roots, what they represent for your succulent plants, and how to deal with them by reading on.
They’re reaching for the light source.
I had to completely prune back my succulents for a number of reasons, including #1 and the pack rats eating them as appetizers. The plant that you see above is just next to my front entrance & rests in a corner. I rotate it every two to three months, but it won’t fit in the area if the planting becomes too leggy and the stems grow too long. The light isn’t excessively low; rather, it’s only that it isn’t uniformly illuminating the plants.
The light they’re growing in is too low.
A tiny portion of my Santa Barbara front garden. Every year or two, I had to trim back the graptoveria, narrow leaf chalk sticks, and lavender scallops because they were encroaching on the sidewalk. Yes, a rosemary plant in blossom is the huge shrub in the background.
After two or three years of growth, the paddle plant patch under my Giant Bird of Paradise in Santa Barbara needed to be trimmed down. Along with many other fleshy succulents, kalanchoes frequently have lengthy stems.
The leaves on a succulent stalk won’t regrow once they become naked. It must be pruned back so that it can either be rejuvenated from the base or propagated by stem cuttings (the piece of stem & roots still in the soil).
Here’s what you do with those towering, stretched-out succulent stems, whether your succulents are growing in the ground or in a pot.
When Should You Cut Back Your Succulents?
Summer and spring are ideal. Early fall is also OK if you live in a temperate region like I do. Before the cooler weather arrives, you should give your succulents a couple of months to establish themselves and take root.
How do I handle succulent offshoots?
It’s crucial to understand that young plants won’t be harmed or affected by them, particularly those that develop near the mother plant’s base.
Although the offsets may appear cramped or unpleasant, they are precisely where they should be.
Have faith in Mother Nature’s processes. They have been engaged in this activity for a lot longer than we have.
I advise delaying their removal until the offsets are roughly half the size of the main plant. This guarantees that your infants receive the right nutrition and have the best chance of surviving on their own.
Once your succulents begin to produce offsets, you might want to repot them in a little bigger container to provide room for the hen and the baby chicks.
With a pair of pruners, you can remove the offsets once they have grown to half the size of the mother plant.
Watch for the wound to callus. Put them in a shady, light area on top of fresh soil, don’t water them, and ignore them.
They will eventually take root in the ground, and then presto! You were successful in creating one to eight new playable plants.
Why is my succulent gaining height rather than width?
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Your succulent does it appear different? Are you perplexed as to why it is becoming so stretched-out, tall, and leggy?
Your succulent is experiencing etiolation if it is expanding vertically rather than horizontally. Your succulent needs more light, to put it simply.
Sadly, damage that has already been done cannot be undone. But it can bounce back. Your stretched succulent can be propagated, which will result in more plants. Win!
Let’s examine this stretched Crassula perforata more closely. Find out what caused this to happen and how to solve it.
Visit How to Grow Succulents Indoors to catch up on general care for succulents.