Imagine you’re outside, and you see a plant sprouting roots and climbing up the side of another plant.
What causes that? A succulent! Succulents are an interesting and unusual group of plants, and they’re easier than you think to grow. Here are the basics of growing succulents.
First, what is a succulent? The word itself comes from a Greek word that means “without water.”
Succulents need very little water to thrive—a minimum of around two inches of water per week, and ideally more.
Unlike flowering plants, which need their roots to grow down into the soil, succulent roots stay above the soil, sending water and nutrients up from the roots to the upper part of the plant.
Your succulent is growing roots above the soil. Is it a cause for concern?
Luckily, no! Growing roots above the soil is actually a normal part of the growth process for many succulents, especially those that grow in arid climates where moisture may be scarce.
The plant uses its energy to grow new roots and not photosynthesis, which allows them to retain water longer than plants with its roots firmly planted in the ground.
This means that they can survive without frequent watering or much rainfall—a boon when it comes time to move house.
How do you know if this happens with your succulent? It’s usually pretty obvious: The greenery will look withered (or even brown) while the leaves stay vibrant green because they sit lower on the stem than the new growths farther up.
This difference makes them easy to tell apart from other parts of your plant!
One more reason may be that your succulent is growing in a container that’s too small for it. When this happens, the plant will send out roots above the soil to try and make room for itself.
This usually happens when you’ve repotted or transplanted you’re succulent and haven’t moved the plant into a new container that’s at least twice as large as the one before.
The best thing to do is to move your succulent into a larger container, then give it some time (usually about a month) before watering again.
The roots should re-establish themselves over time, and you won’t have any more issues!
What Is Aerial Root In Cactus/Succulent?
Aerial roots are a special type of root that grows above the ground and connects to the plant. The aerial roots are similar to the normal roots but they do not grow into the soil.
These roots are usually found on cacti and succulents, which are plants that grow in deserts.
These plants need water to survive but there isn’t any water in deserts, so these plants have developed this method to get water from the air instead of soil.
The aerial roots absorb water from air through their leaves and store it as sap inside their stems.
This sap is then transported down to its normal roots where it gets distributed throughout the rest of the plant body.
Aerial roots are a natural phenomenon that you may find in your cactus or succulents. An aerial root is a common name used to describe the condition of having roots growing above the soil.
This can happen because of two reasons:
- The plant is injured, and the existing roots are damaged, causing them to grow out of control
- The plant is too small for its pot, and there’s not enough space for the new growth to develop below ground
Causes Behind Aerial Root
The aerial root is caused by a number of factors, but in most cases, the cause is poor aeration of the soil.
A tree’s roots are responsible for absorbing nutrients and water from the soil, so if they are not well-aerated, they may become too dense and start to grow up into the air.
Unlike under-watering, which will cause your succulent to develop roots on the underside of its leaves, aerial roots are a sign that your succulent is getting too much water.
Aerial roots can also be caused by overwatering, which means you’re giving your plant more water than it needs.
If you notice that aerial roots are sprouting from the underside of your succulent leaf or leaves, then this is an indication that there is not enough oxygen in the soil where these aerial roots are growing.
The same thing happens if you overwater a succulent: if it doesn’t have enough space in its pot to hold all of its moisture without water sitting atop it (which means there isn’t enough room for air), then the plant will grow new roots above ground level instead of below ground level once again because there isn’t enough room for them down below!
Another cause could be that the tree has been planted too shallowly. When a tree’s roots are not fully supported by the ground, they may begin to push up through the soil as well.
Finally, aerial roots can also occur if there is too much mulch around your tree’s base.
If there is too much mulch piled up around your tree’s trunk, it can block its ability to absorb moisture and nutrients from the soil below causing it to send out aerial roots instead!
Does Removing Or Cutting Aerial Roots Result In Damaging The Plant?
The aerial roots are the roots that are growing above the ground. These are usually found in tropical trees or plants.
Aerial roots are used for different purposes, such as anchoring the plant to the ground or helping it to climb up a tree or a rock.
It is important to know that aerial roots can be cut off easily without damaging the plant.
However, if you want to remove them completely, you should always do so with caution. If you cut off too many of them, you may end up causing damage to your plant and even kill it.
There are some ways that you can safely remove aerial roots from your plants:
- Cut off those that are already dead
- Cut off those that look like they did not serve their purpose anymore and were hanging around just for fun!
- Prune them back when they grow too long and start interfering with other plants or structures you might have around your garden or yard
When you remove aerial roots, you are removing the plant’s ability to absorb water and nutrients. The more roots you remove, the more harm it will do to your succulents.
However, if only a few roots are present and the health of the plant is good, then it should be fine.
When in doubt about whether or not to remove an aerial root, consider these questions:
Is it a new root? If your plant has been repotted recently, it may have developed new roots that need to break through the soil.
These will be fine to leave alone for now. However, if your plant has been in its current pot for a while and you’re wondering if an aerial root needs trimming, you might want to wait another month or so before deciding.
Is it emerging from a branch? An aerial root that comes up from a branch is best left alone and allowed to grow.
It will eventually become another limb and help support the tree. However, if there is no branch above it and it is growing straight up from the trunk, then it should be removed as soon as possible.
Is it growing into the water? If your plant’s aerial roots are in danger of becoming entangled in the waterline, then yes — clip those suckers! Otherwise, let them be (unless they’re so long that they’re starting to get tangled up with each other).
Is it growing straight out of the side of the pot? Aerial roots are most common on tree ferns and other plants that grow upright.
If yours is growing straight out of the side of its pot, you can trim that off without much worry as long as there isn’t another one underneath it (in which case it would probably be best to wait until next year).
Is the aerial root vertical or horizontal? Aerial roots that extend horizontally along the trunk are not doing any harm at all.
In fact, they add stability to the tree by spreading out its weight on the ground more evenly than if it were just one vertical column of wood with no branches to help carry the load. In this case, leave them be!
Is there any sign of decay at the base of the aerial root? If there is decay, you may want to cut off the part of the plant that contains that area of decay and transplant that piece into a new potting medium with good drainage (1/4-inch pumice works well).
Aerial Root Help Propagate Cactus/Succulent?
Yes, Aerial Root does help propagate cacti and succulents. It is a safe, effective way to grow these plants.
Aerial Root is a botanical extract that contains auxins, which are plant hormones that promote root growth and increase the likelihood of successful rooting in cuttings.
The extract also contains natural sugars that help the plant absorb nutrients and water faster than it would otherwise.
The product itself comes in a powder form and should be mixed with water before applying it to your cutting.
This makes the process easy and simple—you just add the powder and water to your potting soil or planting medium, then add your cutting!
Although it is not the only way to propagate succulents, aerial roots are a great way to grow new plants.
If you want to know how to propagate your cactus or succulent with aerial roots, here is a step-by-step guide on how to do it:
- Step 1: Cut the aerial root that protrudes above ground level off of your plant.
- Step 2: Trim off any leaves from the end of the attached cuttings.
- Step 3: Plant this cutting into some soil in another container and water it regularly so that it does not dry out before rooting takes place.
Does Every Cacti Grow Aerial Root?
While aerial roots are common in epiphytic and epilithic plants, they’re not every cactus grows aerial roots. Aerial roots grow above the soil line and eventually become hard as a rock.
These roots usually only appear when a plant is watered or rainwater comes into contact with the plant.
Once succulent plants begin to grow their own aerial roots, it’s important to keep them moist but not always wet.
Over-watering may kill your succulents by rotting from the bottom up or from being drowned by too much water!
Contrary to popular belief, aerial roots do not indicate that your cactus needs more water—in fact if you’re watering lightly (or under watering) then this could be an indication that you need more sunlight exposure for your plant (which will result in stronger growth).
There are many species of cacti and succulents, and not all of them produce aerial roots.
The aerial roots are those that grow from the top of the plant and reach down toward the soil. They help the plant absorb water and nutrients from the ground.
So what exactly is it? And why would you want to know if your cactus will grow aerial roots?
Aerial Roots in Cacti Explained
Cacti have a root system that’s different from other plants. Most plants have a single primary root that grows deep into the ground, but cacti have multiple shallow roots that spread out over a larger area.
These shallow roots can only absorb water and nutrients from the top layer of soil, which is why they need to develop aerial roots in order to access deeper layers.
Most species of cactus don’t produce aerial roots naturally, but some do. Which species will be able to grow aerial roots depends on how they were raised as seedlings or young plants — some growers train their seedlings to develop multiple stems, while others encourage a single stem with no branching at all.
Aerial Root Cactus Help Growing In Water
Aerial roots are a common sight for cacti, succulents, and bromeliads. They’re usually green and can be found growing above the soil line of your plant.
These aerial roots will help the plant to grow in water if you do not remove them.
If left to their own devices, they usually stay on the surface of your pot but if you cut them off, don’t worry! Your plant won’t die off just because it doesn’t have a few extra little roots anymore!
You can either leave these aerial roots or take them off completely, depending on what kind of look you want for your succulent garden or terrarium setup (this is important because sometimes there aren’t enough resources available underwater).
If left alone, they’ll grow down into deeper layers—which may mean underwater access—but also means that each individual part isn’t getting enough nutrients from its own source so it might start looking malnourished after a while (and this could cause problems later on).
What Are Aerial Roots For?
When you see succulent growing aerial roots above the soil, it’s not an indication that something is wrong with your plant.
In fact, aerial roots are just another way that cacti and succulents get water and nutrients.
Aerial roots can be used for propagation as well. A chunk of a mature plant can be cut off to grow new plants from the severed ends of its aerial roots. It’s also how some species reproduce themselves naturally!
Some species use their aerial roots like little grappling hooks or tendrils to climb up vertical surfaces or hang from branches in trees (how cool is that?).
These kinds of adaptations help these plants survive harsh environments where there isn’t much available soil for them to root into.
Other species use their aerial roots for storing water during dry seasons when rainfall is scarce or irregularly timed throughout the year – this adaptation helps them store water until times are more favorable for growth again (like winter).
To sum up, it’s important to know that the roots need to be above the soil to breathe, take in nutrients and water as well as grow.
They will not be able to do any of these things if they’re buried beneath the earth’s surface.
Succulent plants naturally grow their roots outside of the soil; however, you must take certain actions to keep them healthy.
There is quite a bit of variability across succulents when it comes to aerial roots.
Some species hardly ever produce them, while others are known to frequently send out these roots even on potted plants.
In some cases, they can be a valuable diagnostic tool, while in others they seem to have no connection to the plant.
Regardless of the how or why, the view doesn’t change: aerial roots are an interesting anomaly that makes succulents even more complex than they already are.
Succulents are known for storing water in their leaves, stems, and roots. This makes them a naturally drought-tolerant plant.
They grow their roots outside the soil to absorb water from the air and nutrients from the ground below. This is not a problem at all; it’s just how succulents work!
However, if your succulent is growing above the soil it does mean that you need to be careful about how much water and sunlight it gets because too much can cause your plant to rot or even die.
Make sure to check on your succulent every few days to make sure that its roots are not being overwatered or getting too much sun exposure by keeping them partially shaded (but not completely).
It goes without saying that if your plant(s) are growing above ground, you should examine the roots.
If they’re long and firm but only growing above ground, then that sounds like an issue with overwatering.
If they’re brown, dead, or rotting, then you likely have an issue with too much water and/or overfertilization.
So the moral of the story is: know your plant(s) before it’s too late—and don’t forget to ask us if you have any questions!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do succulents like acidic soil?
Yes, most succulents like acidic soil. To care for succulents, water them deeply once a week and allow them to drain. For lower-maintenance succulents, you can keep them outdoors year-round.
Most succulent plants prefer neutral to slightly alkaline soil. Although this recommendation sounds counter-intuitive, it is based on observation and testing.
Is it OK to use regular potting soil for succulents?
Succulents need specific soil, so potting soil may not be the best choice for succulents. I have planted succulents in a regular potting mix and they thrive.
Is water propagation faster than soil for succulents?
It is difficult because of variables such as temperature, humidity, and type of soil. Nonetheless, for succulents, water propagation does seem to be faster than soil propagation.