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String of Bananas [Care & Propagation Guide for Beginners]

A succulent thriving on tender care, String of Bananas stays true to its name with long, draping, stringy stems decorated with curved leaves shaped like bananas!

Generally, String of Bananas relishes 5-6 hours of dappled sunlight, 65-80°F surrounding temperature, 40-60% ambient humidity, and well-aerating mildly acidic to neutral soil. Furbish watering care every 1-3 weeks and fertilizer application every 1-2 months in growing seasons, and consider repots every 2-3 years and annual pruning in spring or summer.

To grasp the complete care checklist for String of Bananas, continue reading!

String of Bananas: Plant Overview

String of Bananas is a succulent member of the Asteraceae family, alongside Sunflowers, Asters, Daliahs, Daisies, and Marigolds.

The plant got its name from its creeping habit, but unlike other desert succulents, it is native to African subtropical biomes
Image represents String of Bananas in a hanging basket
The long draping stem of String of Bananas features curved and succulent leaves, suitable for hanging baskets.

Additionally, its thin and ropy stems contain alternate rows of fleshy banana-shaped green leaves. 

Due to its trailing habit, the plant offers a cascading decor perfectly suited for hanging baskets or pots.

Check out the features of the plant in the following table.

Scientific NamesCurio radicans

Senecio radicans
Common NamesString of Bananas

String of Fish Hooks

Banana Chain

Banana Tree Strings

Banana Succulent
EcologyLife Cycle: Perennial

Habit: Evergreen Creeping Succulent Herbaceous Vine

Habitat: Drier African Subtropical Biomes

Native Range: Cape & Northern Provinces, Free State, Lesotho, Namibia & KwaZulu-Natal

USDA Growth Zones: 10-12
Plant Size36 inches to 6 feet long
Growth RateModerate to Fast
Growing SeasonsEarly Spring to Early Fall (March to September)
LeafShape: Upwardly Curved Cylindrical (Banana-like)

Size: 3-5 centimeters long

Color: Light to Lime or Dark Green

Texture: Glossy & Succulent
Flowering SpanEarly to Late Spring
FlowersInflorescence: Head or Capitulum

Shape: Tubular bloom clusters with many small flowers

Color: White to Creamy White
Grown ForDraping stems & leaves
ToxicityHighly poisonous to pets

Slightly poisonous to humans

String of Bananas Plants for Sale

Here are some reliable online stores to bring your String of Banana plants.

Shops/ SitesExpected Shipping Dates
EtsyShips within 10 days after placing an order
Succulents BoxWithin 3-5 days after placing an order
The Succulent SourceDepends on the state purchase
East Austin SucculentsWithin 2-3 days after placing an order

String of Bananas Plant Care [Complete Guide]

Although String of Bananas is a succulent plant, it does need tropical domestic upkeeping due to its natural habit of growing in subtropical areas.

Image illustrates care guide for String of Bananas
String of Bananas love sunlight, but with balanced watering, temperature, and humidity requirements to avoid under and overwatering issues.

Below are some quick and basic care tips for growing a String of Bananas indoors.

1. Sunlight & Temperature

Daily Light & Temperature Requirements

Provide 5-6 hours of dappled sunlight and surrounding temperatures between 65°F and 80°F.

Extreme Sunlight & Temperature Problems

  • Wrinkly or dry leaves and stems
  • Progressive yellowing and brown leaf tips
  • Leaf curls and localized sunburns
  • Cracked topsoil in the potting mix

Low Sunlight & Temperature Problems

  • Leggy stems and sparse foliage growth
  • Chlorosis (yellow leaves and stems)
  • Smaller leaves and fewer blooms
  • Infrequent flowering frequency

Tips to Provide Adequate Light & Temperature

  • Keep your plant in a dappled east or 3-5 feet away from an open south or west-facing window.
  • Rotate the plant a quarter turn weekly for equal light distribution throughout the foliage.
  • Prevent temperature drops below 60°F or use frost blankets to protect from frost injuries in winter.
Image represents leggy String of Bananas
String of Bananas can become leggy with continuous exposure to indoor lighting.
  • Compensate the absence of sunlight during winter or cloudy days using grow lights for up to 13-18 hours.
  • Use artificial lights of different color spectrums to cope with the lack of sunlight.
  • Keep at least 6-12 inches between the plants and grow lights to prevent foliage burn.
  • Situate the plant away from drafty windows and heating or cooling vents during winter.

2. Watering & Humidity

Daily Watering & Humidity Requirements

Maintain 40-60% ambient humidity and offer watering care every 1-3 weeks in spring and summer. 

Overwatering & High Humidity Symptoms

  • Root decay and slushy potting soil
  • Yellow mushy or pulpy leaves
  • Progressive leaf yellowing and browning
  • Foul or fishy smell from potting mix (mold infestation)

Underwatering & Low Humidity Symptoms

  • Shriveled or deflated leaves, stems, and roots
  • Dusty or dry top layer of potting soil
  • Yellow and brown (crispy) leaf tips and margins
  • Possible stunted growth rate
Image represents underwatered String of Bananas
Underwatering causes the String of Bananas plant leaves to turn brown due to excessive water loss.

Tips for Proper Watering & Humidity

  • Keep overwatered plants in direct sunlight for a few hours to dry up the potting soil.
  • Amend the soil with organic perlite or sand to boost drainage.
  • Use a layer of pebbles at the bottom of the pot while repotting or transplanting.
  • Cast off stagnant water from the pot plate after each watering session.

Using a finger dip test, check the first 1-2 inches of topsoil before watering during fall and winter.

  • You can use soil moisture meters to measure soil moisture levels.
  • Employ humidity trays to adjust the moisture levels for the plant in summer.
  • Jab holes at the top layer of the potting soil for aeration.
  • Wipe any excess moisture from the leaves after misting the plant in the morning during heat spells.

3. Soil & Fertilizer

Usual Soil & Fertilizer Requirements

Furnish well-draining potting soil (pH levels: 5.5-7.5) fortified with a balanced liquid fertilizer every 1-2 months during spring and summer.

Signs of Using Wrong Soil

  • Poor drainage
  • Prolonged puddling or water stagnation
  • Low-oxygenated pot environment

Underfertilization Signs

  • Slow growth rate and foliage discoloration
  • Less flowering incidence and fewer blooms

Overfertilization Signs

  • Leaf tip and marginal burns
  • Root scorch
Image represents brown leaf tips in String of Bananas
Overfertilization causes fertilizer salts to accumulate in the potting soil leading to brown leaf tips.

Fertilizing Tips & Soil Care

  • Flush the excess salt from the potting soil with distillate water monthly to prevent fertilizer build-up and burns.
  • Dilute the fertilizer to half the strength of the original concentration before applying it.
  • Unclog the drainage holes of the planters weekly for smooth drainage. 
  • Avoid fertilizer application during fall and winter.
  • For excess fertilizer salt accumulation, change the potting soil with fresh one.

4. Repotting Care

Biennial or Triennial Repotting Needs

Repot String of Bananas every 2-3 years if the plants show root-bounding signs in 1-2 inches wider and deeper terracotta planters during spring or summer.

Repotting Signs

  • Roots cramming on the topsoil
  • Protrusion of roots from the drainage holes
  • Stunted growth

Tips to Repot

  • Ensure to water your plant for 1-2 days before repotting.
  • Place a layer of pebbles at the planter’s base and fill it one-third with fresh potting mix.
  • Gently remove the plant from the old pot by tilting it sideways or tapping its bottom.
  • Wash off the roots and trim any brown or mushy roots.
  • Hold the plant at the center of the new pot above the soil and add soil from the sides.

5. Occasional Pruning

Annual or Occasional Trimming Needs

Groom String of Bananas in spring or summer as an annual routine to remove spent and leggy foliage or when the plant shows pest and disease outbreaks using sterilized pruners.

String of Bananas Pests and Diseases

Pests: Mealybugs, Spider Mites, Scales, Fungus Gnats, and Aphids

Diseases: Botrytis, Southern Blight, and Root Rots

How to Prune String of Bananas?

Follow these steps and tips to prune String of Bananas plants and to prevent pest or disease extent.

  • Cut off leggy stems with spent or discolored leaves.
  • Do not trim off more than one-third of the plant.
  • Discard the pests from underneath the leaves or around the stems with a strong blast of water.
  • Alternatively, use Q-tips laced with neem oil to dab the pests.
  • Use organic fungicides to ward off the pathogenic spores.
  • Avert tap water to irrigate your plants.

Growth Rate of String of Bananas

String of Bananas is popular for its rapid growth rate and long trailing vines or stems, perfectly suiting for hanging baskets or planters.

An adult String of Bananas would reach up to 36 inches to 6 feet long, rapidly growing during spring and summer. 

Additionally, curved lime-green to dark-green leaves organize alternately along the stems. 

Each succulent leaf is about 3-5 centimeters long and resembles the shape of bananas. 

Image represents String of Bananas flowers
The inflorescence of String of Bananas comprises tubular flowers with many small florets.

However, the plant experiences dormancy during fall and winter (September to February).

Before dormancy, the plant begets white to creamy-white bisexual flowers with a cinnamony aroma atop the flowering stem during early to late spring with pinkish-to-reddish stigmas.

Moreover, String of Banana seeds appears after the flowers are spent, and you can collect them for propagation.

But, you can overwinter your String of Bananas at 35-44⁰F temperature to encourage bloom.

Do you know that String of Bananas flowers with plenty of light? So, it’s possible that the plant may flower even throughout fall to winter with enough shine!

String of Bananas Toxicity

Like all the ‘String’ or Senecio species, String of Bananas probably shows mild toxicity to humans and is highly poisonous to pets.

ASPCA mentions Senecio species as a toxic plant. But the toxicity profile is still not available specifically for the String of Bananas.

So, all one can do for now is be cautious and keep your plants away from dogs, cats, and kids.

Furthermore, pyrrolizidine alkaloids present in the plants are responsible for liver damage.

In humans, topical contact with the sap can cause dermatitis in the extremities.

If you suspect plant poisoning, contact the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 or National Capital Poison Center at (800) 222-1222.

Strings of Bananas Propagation

You can propagate String of Bananas with stem cuttings in spring or early summer.

First, you can root the stem cuttings in the water and later transplant them into the soil.

But you can also lay the cuttings in potting mix and wait for the roots to grow.

1. Water & Soil Propagation

To successfully propagate String of Bananas, follow these easy steps.

  • Take 4-8 inches long healthy stem cuttings and remove the lower leaves from their base to expose 2-4 growth nodes.
  • Keep the cuttings wrapped in paper towels for 2-3 days to let the wound scab up and harden.
  • Prepare a rooting hormone solution and plunge the cuttings into the water with the exposed nodes.
Image represents propagation of stem cuttings in water
You can propagate String of Bananas stem cuttings in water to root and then transplant them in soil.
  • Change the water every 2-5 days to prevent fungal or bacterial growth.
  • New roots will grow within 2-3 weeks; after 4 weeks, they are ready for transplant.
  • Take separate planters about 6 inches wide and deep, fill them with potting mix, and transplant the cuttings.
  • Water thoroughly and place them in bright indirect sunlight as you would for the adult plants with routine care.

2. ‘Lay on the Soil’ Propagation

Follow these steps for fruitful propagation.

  • Take healthy cuttings about 4-8 inches long with leaves.
  • Lay them flat in separate planters with a moist potting mix and hold them in place with floral pins.
  • New roots will develop in 2-3 weeks from the growth points.
  • Following this, continue with the normal care as mentioned above.
Image represents the method of stem propagation
Stem cuttings can take up new roots from the growth points below the leaves.

String of Bananas vs. Other Varieties

Lately, plants with “String” in their names have been gaining popularity.

They share the same word in their names, have identical growth habits and toxicity, care requirements, and belong to the same family Asteraceae.

1. String of Bananas vs. Dolphins

The difference between Bananas and Dolphins is obvious in their leaf shape.

String of Dolphins has curved leaves like jumping dolphins, whereas the String of Bananas has banana-like leaves.

Image illustrates difference between String varieties
You can easily differentiate between String varieties by looking at their leaf shape.

2. String of Bananas vs. Pearls

You can easily distinguish between the Bananas and Pearls by looking at their distinct leaf shapes.

The String of Bananas has leaves shaped like a banana, while the String of Pearls has ball-like spherical leaves with a longitudinal streak.

Regarding care and maintenance, String of Pearls has higher needs than Bananas.

3. String of Bananas vs. Fish Hooks

Although they look vaguely similar, Fish Hooks have bluish-green leaves much thinner than String of Bananas.

Moreover, String of Bananas is more tolerant to direct sunlight exposure for a few hours than the sensitive String of Fish Hooks.

From Editorial Team

Protect String of Bananas from Overwatering!

Overwatering is the common culprit for pest and disease outbreaks in succulents like String of Bananas.

Hence, take precautions while watering or adjusting humidity for the plant.

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