Stimulate root growth in bare-root succulents and cacti

When you buy a bare-root cactus, euphorbia, succulent or caudex plant, one of the main concerns is how to encourage root growth. These are tough, incredibly resilient plants, but they may need a little help to establish themselves in a new environment. 

Preparing the potting mix

The first step in encouraging root development is to prepare the right potting mix. Succulents require a well-draining mix to prevent waterlogging and root rot. A good mix is made up mainly of draining material such as pumice or black volcanic stone and the rest is potting soil for houseplants, it's also a good idea to add a little charcoal for its antifungal effect. Such a mixture offers the right balance of drainage and nutrients. If you're looking for a ready-made solution, you can use our homemade cactus potting soil for cacti and euphorbias that need even more drainage, or our homemade succulent mix.

Use of a cutting hormone

Cutting hormones can be very beneficial in promoting root growth. These hormones are available in powder, liquid or gel form. The cutting or bare root should be soaked in the cutting hormone according to the package instructions before planting. This stimulates new root growth at the point of contact.


Place your plant in the potting mix. Don't bury it too deeply - only the lower part should be covered. If it's a cutting, allow the cut end to heal and dry for a few days to a few weeks (depending on size) before planting. This helps prevent rotting.

Waiting before watering

After planting, do not water immediately. This allows any damaged or cut roots to heal and helps prevent rotting. Wait about 1-2 weeks before watering.

Start watering with care

When you start watering, do so sparingly. Over-watering can cause root rot and kill your plant. Water thoroughly, allowing the water to drain completely each time, then allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again.

Providing the right conditions

Although it doesn't directly concern root development, providing the right conditions can promote healthy root growth. Keep your plant in a warm environment with plenty of light. The use of a heating mat can help root formation. 


Patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to cactus root growth. Root development in cacti, succulents, euphorbias and caudex plants can be a slow process. It can take several weeks to a few months for a cactus to establish a solid root system, depending on the species and conditions. It's important not to disturb the cactus during this period, as this could damage the new roots. After around 2-3 weeks, you can check root development by gently pulling on the plant. If it resists, roots are forming. However, try not to do this frequently, as it could damage the developing roots.


It's worth remembering that cacti, succulents, euphorbias and caudex plants are not the most fertilizer-hungry. Once the plant has established roots, it can benefit from fertilizer to promote overall health and growth. However, too much fertilizer can harm the roots. Fertilizer should therefore be used sparingly according to package instructions. We like to use liquid seaweed with cacti, an organic, local fertilizer that won't burn the roots. 


Root growth is an essential aspect of establishing a cactus, succulent, euphorbia or caudex plant in a new environment. By following these steps, you can help your plants develop a strong, healthy root system. Remember: patience is the key. These are slow-growing plants and root development can take time. But with the right care and a little time, your cactus, or other succulent, will soon be thriving in its new environment.