If you’ve had your succulent a while, you may eventually notice some aerial roots or air roots forming along the stem. While this isn’t a major problem, it is a sign your succulent needs attention. Find out how to help it below.
Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links, meaning I receive a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you click on the link and make a purchase. I only recommend products I’ve used and love unless stated otherwise.
I’m guessing you’re here because you’ve found some roots growing from the stem of your succulent, right?
The good news is your succulent is going to be ok. It just needs some extra attention.
First off, it’s probably helpful to know what aerial roots are. Basically, they are just roots that grow on the stem of your succulent rather than in the soil. They are usually pink or white.
What causes aerial roots to grow?
Generally aerial roots will form on a succulent that isn’t getting enough water and often when it’s in a humid environment. Succulents absorb water through their roots from the surrounding air.
That is why having a soil with large particles is really important for the health of your succulent.
If you aren’t using the proper watering technique for your succulent, it may not be getting enough water and will start to “search” for more. This is when aerial roots start to form.
Your succulent is simply telling you it is thirsty and needs a deeper watering.
Notice how these Crassula rupestris are extremely dried up at the bottom and have put out a lot of new air roots.
This plant is also very stretched out due to lack of sunlight. Lack of sunlight can sometimes cause a succulent to put out air roots.
While this isn’t always the case, it is more likely for a succulent to send off aerial roots when it is starting to stretch out.
Do all succulents grow aerial roots?
Also, if you are watering correctly, you likely won’t see aerial roots at all.
You are more likely to encounter air roots with succulents that grow quickly and are in their active growing season. For example, these Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’ and Graptopetalum paraguayense grow quite quickly and tend to stretch out easily if they don’t get enough light.
Again, you’ll notice that these plants are all very stretched out. The Graptopetalum paraguayense also has limp wrinkled leaves indicating that it needs more water.
What should I do about the air roots?
You don’t need to remove the roots, although you can if they are getting too unsightly. However, be sure to water your succulent more deeply (not necessarily more often) and make sure it is getting plenty of light.
If you leave the roots attached, they may eventually harden or thicken and look like a small branch. This is normal.
While aerial roots aren’t a huge problem, they are something you should be aware of so you know how to adjust the care of your succulent. This is an early warning sign that your succulent isn’t as healthy as it could be.
Thanks for reading this article!
I’d love to help you more in your succulent adventures! Here are some great ways to interact and learn more about succulents:
Join our Succulents and Sunshine Facebook Community! You’ll find a great group of other succulent lovers who would love to meet you! Plus, I’m there answering questions, sharing new tips, and special offers.
Sign up for my weekly Q&A email to get lots of great new information about succulents
Visit the Succulent Q&A archive to see what questions other succulent enthusiasts have asked (and get the answers)
Sign up for my course, Successfully Growing Succulents, to take your succulent skills to the next level!
Grab a copy of my ebooks for some in-depth succulent reading