You may see some of your cactus and succulent growing aerial roots. However, this is not abnormal behavior. Most of the plants develop aerial roots over time for different reasons.
When you see aerial roots on succulents, it does not necessarily mean that your succulents are happy nor unhappy. There can be several reasons. In this post, I’m going to cover almost all the possible reasons.
Most of the time, we can see that these types of roots in Jelly beans, Echeveria, Jade plants, Echeveria prolifica, mother of thousands mother of million succulents develop aerial roots.
What is Succulent and Cactus Aerial roots?
Air roots or Aerial roots are small roots that grow from the leaves of the plant or the stems above the surface soil of the succulent or cacti plant. These are often pinkish-purple. When they are growing bottom of the root becomes white.
Why are my succulent growing aerial roots?
There can be one or several reasons your succulents growing aerial roots. Let’s break down everything one by one. You have to carefully check the plant and its growing medium conditions to identify the correct issue.
Air roots not only develop succulents, but cactus varieties also generate them.
Poor Watering Method.
In the process of proper succulent watering, all the substrate should wet from top to bottom. When the bottom of the soil does not get enough water plant tries to get water from the high moisture topsoil. Due to that reason, succulent grow aerial roots.
You can verify this by checking the subsoil moisture level before and after watering. You can use either the dry stick method or moisture meter to check if succulent soil is dry or wet. Between two watering top to the bottom substrate should completely dry.
Aerial sources can be propagated.
Some of the succulents propagate through runners. For instance hawthorn, Jelly bean, mother of thousands mother of million succulents. When the plant is ready to propagate it start developing aerial roots.
These roots often provide anchors to the runners and become “normal” roots over time. If you have a succulent that can propagate via runners or rosette you can use the root generate part in new pots.
Air Too Humid.
Sometimes when he sounding air humid too high can grow air roots. Since these plants like to sit on dry well drain potting mix they need little water to survive. When the air has water, the plant tries to take a drink.
In such a place you can reduce humidity by improving air circulation. You can use a fan or open a closed window or door.
Lack Of Sunlight.
When the succulents and cactus do not get enough bright light it getting leggy. When the plant in low light it stretching towards the bright light source. This process is known as etiolation.
Succulent etiolation can also lead to aerial roots on some occasions. Because when the plant overstretched, the plant begins to bend towards to ground. Before etiolated succulent topples, it grows air roots to maintain stability. You can read more about “How to fix stretching succulent“.
Sometimes when the plant growing it needs to maintain stability. For an instance Echeveria Prolifica producing aerial roots to maintain stability. In such a situation this is normal plant behavior. Some cactus species need a host to thrive, these plants grow these aerial roots to stick to their host.
Not only Prolifica, but most of the Echeveria varieties also develop these air roots to maintain plant stability over time.
Absorb nutrients from the air.
Succulents and cactus are known as less maintain low fertilizer feeders. Though these arid environment plants need little nutrients to thrive. When the plant suffers nutrients deficiencies it tries to get more nutrients from the air.
Due to that natural circumstance succulents and cactus growing aerial roots.
Lack of Soil Moisture.
This is somewhat different from the above-mentioned “Poor watering”. If all the soil layers from the top of the soil do not get enough water, plants try to absorb water from the air, this will tend to develop aerial roots from the stem.
Should you cut aerial roots off succulents?
If the root bowl is fully covered by potting mix and the succulent receives enough water at the appropriate frequency, bright light, and has good air circulation you should not worry about air roots. Therefore it is not recommended to remove the succulent aerial roots.
If the succulent is healthy and has everything to thrive, you can remove the aerial root if you want to maintain a proper aesthetic appearance. When removing succulent air roots you should not damage the stem. It can further damage plant development.
Will Succulent aerial roots go away?
Once the succulent grows air roots it does not naturally go away. However, if they are growing due to water, soil, or sunlight deficiencies by providing them you can reduce further development.
Some of the succulent varieties like the Echeveria family generally develop these roots to maintain plant stability. Therefore such plants, aerials roots do not go away.
Can you propagate succulents from aerial roots?
When the succulent started to develop aerial roots it can propagate by cutting. When the air roots are well developed, the stem can be cut below the root zone and can directly plant in the new growing medium. This will develop new succulent plants.