String of Bananas Plant

Botanical Name: Senecio radicans

String of Bananas plant adds whimsy to any room. This eye-catching houseplant looks just as it sounds, with banana-shaped leaves, growing along slender stems. It's sure to get compliments from passers-by, plus it's just plain fun to have around.

Want more? String of Bananas care is so easy, it just may spoil you for anything else.

string of bananas plantSenecio radicans looks even more stunning close-up. Photo © Vadim Lerner

What to Know About Your String of Bananas

Given enough sunlight, this exotic succulent is a vigorous grower. Its trailing stems can reach 3 ft (90 cm), quickly cascading over the side of a pot. If long stems become straggly, you can cut them off. Poke healthy stem tip cuttings back into the soil to create a full, lush houseplant. (See propagation tips below.)

Want to make your String of Bananas branch out? Simply cut off a stem anywhere and it'll grow multiple stems from where it was cut. You'll get a fuller plant this way.

A relative of the String of Pearls plant, this plant has similar growing conditions. However, many people have told me they find String of Bananas easier to grow. I know its stems are thicker, probably making this succulent more drought-tolerant.

Show off its captivating, trailing stems by potting this succulent houseplant in a hanging basket.

string of bananas plant, hanging string of bananasHanging String of Bananas succulent makes a fun-to-grow houseplant. Photo © Katkami

String of Bananas Problems, Solutions, and Answers

Make it bloom. Keep String of Bananas plant cool (55-60°F/13-16°C) in winter. Cut back on watering during the winter months, but don't allow the potting mix to dry out completely. These cool, dry conditions may promote blooming in winter. And the flowers are spectacular -- white, fluffy blooms appear on upright stems.

Wondering whether to repot? Repotting String of Bananas is needed only every couple years. Spring or summer is the best time to repot, when this succulent begins its most vigorous growth. Don't use a pot that's too big -- go up one size (e.g., from a 4-in pot to a 6-in pot). Why? A pot that's too big will hold too much water, possibly killing this succulent. When repotting, keep the crown of the plant at the same soil level as it was in the old pot -- the stems will rot if they are buried. Use a sandy mix for fast drainage and a pot with drainage holes.

Something bugging your houseplant? Watch for mealybugs -- tiny, cotton-like pests that hide along stems. They suck sap from the stems, weakening the plant then secrete a sticky substance called honeydew. Isolate any infested houseplant right away to prevent them from invading your other plants, then treat your houseplant to get rid of them.

String of Bananas plant turning brown? It's likely getting too much hot, direct sunlight. Keep your plant away from direct sun exposure.  

Is it poisonous? No -- String of Bananas plant is safe to have around cats and dogs. Of course, you don't want your pet chewing on this plant -- another reason to hang it up.

Buying Tip

You'll find String of Bananas for sale at some garden centers and online nurseries. This succulent grows quickly, so you can buy a small plant.

String of Bananas Plant Care

Origin: South Africa

Height: Trails to 3 ft (90 cm)

Light: Bright indirect light year-round. Senecio radicans will tolerate some direct sun if temperatures aren't high. String of Bananas may survive in lower light levels, but the "bananas" will be small and plant growth will be slow.

Water:  Water String of Bananas plant thoroughly during the growing season (spring through fall), then allow the top couple inches (5 cm) of the potting mix to dry out before watering again. Limit water in winter, watering just enough to prevent the potting medium from drying out. Shriveled "bananas" are a sign that the soil is too dry. Give it a good drink, but take care not to overwater. This succulent will not tolerate soggy soil, which can lead to root rot.

Humidity: Average room (about 40% relative humidity) will suit this easy-to-please houseplant. And dry air won't hurt it.

Temperature: Warm spring through fall (70-80°F/21-27°C). In winter, cool (55-60°F/13-16°C). Want to move String of Bananas outdoors for the warm months? It can take the heat, but keep it shaded from the hot midday sun in summer, which will burn its foliage.

Soil: Fast-draining potting medium, such as cactus potting mix. Wet potting medium will likely cause root rot.

Fertilizer: Feed once a month spring through fall with a liquid or water-soluble fertilizer specially made for succulents. I use half the amount recommended on the package. String of Bananas plant isn't a heavy feeder.

Propagation: Take 4 in (10 cm) stem tip cuttings in spring or summer and insert them in moist potting medium. Press them into the potting mix until the leaves are almost covered. Keep the medium lightly moist. They will root quickly from the axils where the leaves are attached to the stem.

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