Kalanchoe Roots on the Stem: What Is This?

People that enjoy Kalanchoe typically do so because of the plant’s aesthetic appeal. Most people are drawn to Kalanchoes because of the variety of lovely colors they come in, including red, yellow, white, and pink.

You’ve spent the previous several weeks tending to your Kalanchoe, but one day you see there are roots growing out of the stem. Even if you aren’t an expert, you probably already know that roots should be buried in the ground.

Kalanchoe Roots on the Stem
Kalanchoe Roots on the Stem

The significance of roots on a kalanchoe stem:

If your kalanchoe plant develops roots on the stem, also known as “aerial roots,” it likely isn’t thriving. Whenever they detect a nutrient deficiency, Kalanchoes will often put out aerial roots to make up the difference. As a plant caretaker, it is your responsibility to diagnose the issue and take corrective action.

How Common Are Kalanchoe Aerial Roots?

Roots’ primary function is to search for and absorb nutrients for the plant. Most plant roots will be buried in the ground, where the soil is rich in nutrients.

Aerial roots are typical and frequent in some plants, such as orchids.

Kalanchoes and other succulents, however, have been shown to develop aberrant aerial roots at some of their terminals. Kalanchoes are notorious for developing unsightly aerial roots, which are usually an indicator of a deeper issue.

If you have a Kalanchoe and see that it has developed an aerial root, it may be because it is lacking some nutrient or other condition necessary for healthy growth. You need to learn why and how to deal with Kalanchoes developing aerial roots.

Remember that the problem will still exist even after you’ve dealt with the aerial roots. When that time comes, you won’t need to worry about them being around.

What Causes Kalanchoes to Form Aerial Roots?

A Kalanchoe plant may develop aerial roots for a variety of causes.

Not Enough Water

Water is absolutely necessary for all plants since the average plant is between 80% and 90% water. Up this way, the plant is able to take in more of the soil’s nutrients and minerals.

Even though Kalanchoes are succulents, plants still need to be watered every two to three weeks. If there is insufficient water, the plant will seek to replenish its supply from other sources. Therefore, it will develop aerial roots to get moisture from the air or the ground.

Kalanchoes are notoriously easy to overwater, so if you observe their aerial roots, don’t immediately assume that they’re suffering from dehydration. Reduce the frequency of the Kalanchoe’s watering and keep a watch on the plant’s aerial roots.

New aerial root development should slow or halt entirely if there is actually a water shortage.

Too Much Water

What mechanism does too much water have that has the same effect? The root rot of Kalanchoes will be exacerbated by the additional water. Oxygen deprivation at the root from having too much water around is a contributing factor in the development of fungal infections.

Root rot brought on by these circumstances will limit a plant’s ability to absorb soil nutrients. Because of a lack of minerals, Kalanchoe plants will develop aerial roots in an effort to scavenge for food in their surroundings.

Do not automatically assume that overwatering is the cause of a plant’s soaking wet condition. Even if you water your plant properly, water may still pool in the soil if it drains poorly.

Don’t put rocks in the bottom of your pot otherwise, the soil will get stagnant. It is a common misconception that these rocks would aid in soil drainage, whereas, in fact, they have the opposite effect.

The term “perched water table” describes the position of the water table above the subsoil rocks. In a nutshell, rot is caused when the water stays at the same level around the roots for long periods of time because of these rocks.

Not Enough Sunlight

Kalanchoes often develop aerial roots because of insufficient light. To thrive, these plants must be exposed to direct sunlight. The process of photosynthesis, through which plants produce their own sustenance, requires sunshine.

The nutrients they take up from the soil, and the sunlight provide the kalanchoe plant with its energy needs. When Kalanchoes aren’t getting enough light, their stems and leaves will start to develop roots.

It’s an effort to make up for the darkness by sending out roots in search of food. Kalanchoes are known to dip their aerial roots into the soil of nearby pots in an effort to find nutrition.

If you suspect low light levels are to blame, try moving your Kalanchoe to a window where it will receive at least six hours of indirect sunshine daily.

Unsuitable Soil

Kalanchoe plant issues are often caused by poor soil conditions. Most soil-related issues, however, don’t show up until the plant is well along in its development and about to blossom, which is obviously too late.

Since aerial roots have already started growing in the soil, you cannot attribute the problem to bad soil. Your reasoning will go something like this: since the plant has already begun growing in the soil, it cannot be the soil itself.

The worst thing you can do for your Kalanchoe is to plant it in a pot with thick dirt. Since the soil is so dense, it will absorb and hold onto a lot of water, which will eventually cause the roots to rot. Again, if the Kalanchoe’s roots begin to deteriorate, it will send out aerial roots in search of nutrients.

Kalanchoes can still thrive if you’ve previously planted them in dense soil. You can still save your Kalanchoe from dying off if you act quickly. The only thing left to do is repot your plant in fresh dirt.

Kalanchoes, like many other succulents, do best in soil made up of 60% peat moss and 40% perlite. This aerated, well-drained soil will prevent the roots from decaying from an excess of water.

Not Enough Space

One further explanation for Kalanchoes’ aerial roots is that they just need more room to grow. It’s not a good idea to put your Kalanchoe in a small container since the water will evaporate before the plant’s roots have a chance to take in any nutrients. You also do root binding on the plant.

When a plant’s roots reach the very top of its container, we say that it is root-bound. The inability to absorb nutrients is exacerbated since the entangled roots are entangled with one another.

The soil’s former volume has been mostly filled by the bound roots. As a result of these many stresses, the Kalanchoe will develop aerial roots in an effort to supplement its diet.

There is still time to fix these problems, thankfully. Kalanchoe needs its roots trimmed first. When you’re done, transfer the plant to a larger container so its roots may expand without becoming entangled.

Kalanchoe Can Get Too Tall and Needs To Be Stabilized

The Kalanchoe plant can sometimes become so tall that it topples over. Herbaceous in nature, Kalanchoes don’t have the sturdy wooden stem that other plants rely on to maintain their shape as they grow taller.

To combat this, Kalanchoe will develop aerial roots and attach its limbs to neighboring hard objects. Your Kalanchoe isn’t sick; it simply needs a little help staying upright as it grows those extra aerial roots.

Don’t freak out if you have a lengthy Kalanchoe and notice some aerial roots; there’s probably nothing wrong with your plant.

Not Enough Soil

The Kalanchoe will die of starvation if planted in too little soil. There wouldn’t be enough food or water because there wouldn’t be enough soil. Having less room for the roots to spread out also means better water drainage.

In order to make up for the meager nutrition it receives from the earth, the Kalanchoe develops aerial roots that actively search for food. To ensure your plant thrives, you must always utilize adequate soil. More soil and nutrients will be required for a larger plant.


In a nutshell, your plant is probably not getting enough food. The Kalanchoe plant’s roots are easily damaged by either too much or too little water, which results in the development of aerial roots.

Roots forming on the Kalanchoe stem are a response to a combination of conditions, including a lack of soil, light, and available space. You should take care of whatever is generating the Kalanchoe’s aerial roots as soon as possible if you want it to survive longer.

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