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Houseplant propagation guides

What is an aerial root on houseplants?

by Plants for all Seasons 07 Mar 2023

An aerial root on a houseplant is a type of root that grows above the soil level, often from the stem or trunk of the plant. Aerial roots are common in many types of plants, including orchids, pothos, and monstera, and they serve a variety of functions.

One of the primary functions of aerial roots is to provide support and stability to the plant. In some cases, aerial roots can grow into thick, woody structures that help anchor the plant to its environment, such as trees or rocks. In other cases, the roots may be thin and delicate, serving more as a way to cling to a surface or to absorb moisture from the air.

Aerial roots can also help plants absorb nutrients and water from the environment. In some cases, these roots may be covered in a spongy, absorbent material that allows them to collect moisture and nutrients from the air. In other cases, the roots may grow into the soil or into a nearby water source, allowing the plant to access additional resources.

Finally, aerial roots can also be important for plant reproduction. Some plants, such as the aerial roots of the monstera, can develop small, baby plants called "pups" or "adventitious shoots" at the base of the aerial root. These pups can then be separated from the parent plant and grown on their own.

Overall, aerial roots are an important adaptation for many types of plants, allowing them to thrive in a variety of environments and to access the resources they need to grow and reproduce. As a houseplant owner, understanding the function of aerial roots can help you care for your plants more effectively and appreciate their unique adaptations.

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