Succulent roots on the side of the stem – Aerial Roots or Air Roots

air roots
Succulent air roots

If your succulent is sending out aerial roots or air roots then it is trying to tell you that it is in need of something. Typically these roots growing on the side of the succulent stem will be pink or white.  Your plant is letting you know that it may be lacking water, sunlight, soil or stability. See the Sedum rubrotinctum to the left and its pink aerial roots. This is quite common for this plant.

Sending out roots is typically the succulent’s way of looking for water, as succulents absorb water through their roots. You will also notice the leaves will not be quite as plump and full as they should be. There may even be dead or dried up leaves at the bottom. Occasionally very humid air may be the cause of the air roots. Humidity can prevent the soil from completely drying out; this can lead to root rot which can be deadly to succulents.
Aerial Roots Jade Plant
Etiolated Jade Plant growing aerial roots
If your succulent is elongated or stretching for the sun in addition to aerial roots like the Crassula Ovata (Jade Plant) then your succulent is in need of additional sunlight. Sometimes when your succulent stretches too quickly it can cause it to bend over or lean towards the soil.  Occasionally the weight of even a healthy succulent stem might cause your plant to fall or bend towards the soil. This not only makes the plant look less attractive but it also creates instability for the stem. The succulent may send out air roots in anticipation of reaching the soil and looking for that much needed stability.
I personally would just cut off the stem just below the air roots and propagate the cutting. Be sure to remove any dying or squishy leaves. You want energy directed to the healthy leaves and new growth. Find out more about succulent propagation here.
If your succulent has not been repotted in several years it may be lacking nutrients to help it thrive.  It is best to fertilize during your succulent’s growing season which is typically during spring and summer and I try to fertilize them about once a month during this time.
Pink Aerial Roots on Crassula Perfoliata Falcata aka Propeller Plant
Pink Aerial Roots on Crassula Perfoliata Falcata aka Propeller Plant
On the Crassula Perfoliata Falcata AKA Propeller palnt above you can see some pink roots sprouting on the side of the stem. It is not harmful to the plant at all, but it is trying to tell me it needs a good drink. Although not harmful,  you will need to correct whatever the succulent is lacking to ensure no further damage occurs. Air roots can be removed and it will not harm the plant. It is perfectly fine to leave them on the stem, but be sure to correct the issue that is causing them. 
If your succulents are getting sufficient water, light, and proper soil,  you generally will not see aerial roots. Certain succulents are also prone to sending out air roots more than others. Be sure to keep an eye on your succulents and if you see aerial roots be sure to follow the advice above. 
Kalanchoe daigremontiana or commonly known as Mother of thousands is in the Crassulaceae family and is related to jade plant and the Kalanchoe blossfeldiana (aka Flaming Katy or Supermarket Kalanchoe).
Mother of thousands grows little plant babies on the edges of the leaf. It is perfectly normal for the babies to start growing roots. They are preparing to fall and root in the soil. This is common for many succulents in the Kalanchoe family. 
Have more questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments below.

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