If you've ever ordered succulents online, chances are they were shipped to you bare root. Shipping plants bare root is an excellent option for sellers and buyers since it ensures the plant's safe transit, and prevents the spread of soil born pests. After all, it's how we ship our plants here at True Succulents.
But, now that you've received your plants, what's the best way to regrow their roots and get them ready for planting? Simple, Water Therapy.
While there are several techniques utilized to root succulents, the most effective, and my preferred method is water therapy. Water therapy simply means submerging the roots or stem of your succulent into water to encourage root formation and rehydration. Let's refer to it as WT to save me some characters.
WT has been somewhat controversial on social media. Some swear by the process, while others believe it will send your succulent(s) straight to hell. If done, improperly WT can cause rot and may lead to weak root formation. But when done correctly, the fact is that WT can be an incredibly effective way to root your plants.
Here are some simple tips for rooting your succulents in water.
Use small glasses or plastic vessels that are easy to clean and proportional to the size of your plant. Vessels with a narrow opening work great.
Ensure the water stays cool. Warm water can cause algae and encourage fungus such as rot to grow.
Place just the roots or stem of the succulent in water.
Change the water in your container every few days.
Place only one plant in a vessel of water. Community vessels with many plants could cause any potential rot to spread.
Leave your plant in water for a week to start. If you're still not happy with the roots, leave your plant for a few more days.
Here's an example of some recycled jars and glass bottles being used for water therapy. You’ll notice how all the succulents are placed in the vessels so that only the stem and existing roots are submerged. Within a week or so these plants should have plenty of roots and be ready for planting in soil.
I'm often approached by people who are skeptical about WT but have some high ticket plants that simply aren't rooting correctly. It seems counterintuitive to treat succulents like aquatic plants, but the fact is it just works. To offer some confidence to new water therapy users, I recently "Be-Headed" my 12" Echeveria Premaddonna Variegated to be rooted in water. After allowing the plant to sit, and the wound to heal for 48 hours, I placed this beauty into water therapy, and a week later, the number of roots are out of this world. See the image below.
With any luck, this quick blog post has helped you understand water therapy and will make plenty of your succulents happy and plump in the future. Thanks for reading!