How’re Ur Roots?
- Succulent Edition -
A few weeks ago someone asked me to post some pictures of healthy vs. unhealthy roots. I assume they meant succulents so that’s what I’ll be covering today! My mom recently got a really cute hanging succulent planter, but OF COURSE the damn thing was an overcrowded, peat moss hell. But it was PERFECT to photograph for this post…
^ Let’s start with some dehydrated roots. You can see that they’re completely wizened. They’re usually a dull brown or greyish-brown color. They are dry and sometimes crunchy to the touch. These roots here are completely dead, and incapable of taking up water. At this point, I had no choice but to cut off the entire root ball and start over again.
^ Here’s an example of the direct opposite: overwatered roots. Note how limp and squishy this big ol’ root is. It’s mostly a sickly brown, but in some spots is turning dark with the beginnings of rot. Advanced rot due to overwatering will turn roots black, gooey, and will sometimes have a bad odor. This particular plant was rescued before all of its roots were affected. In this case, I was able to simply cut away the two or three mushy roots. If ALL roots were squishy, I would have AGAIN had to cut off the entire root ball and start over.
^ Here we have an ADORABLE baby nubbin. A new, healthy root will be firm and white, with a touch of green or pink. You should be able to bend them gently and they’re usually lightly moist.
^ Remember the first photo of dehydrated roots? This is the same kind of plant with some healthy roots. Note the arrow pointing at the nice, fresh white. This is helpful in judging whether or not mostly dry roots are still capable of taking up water. If you can spot any white, those roots are okay. I ended up leaving about 50% of the roots on this guy.
BONUS! Some examples of different types of roots. The outside two are echeveria and the center is a pachyveria. These needed very little trimming – as you can see, plenty of robust, white roots.