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String of Bananas (Senecio radicans) — Complete Care Guide

String of Bananas (Senecio radicans) — Complete Care Guide

The impressive plant that is the Senecio radicans is a widely popular houseplant.

You will more commonly hear this plant go by the names Necklace Plant, String of Fishhooks, or String of Bananas.

It is an evergreen, common trailing succulent. The Senecio radicans has stems and foliage of lime green to bright green coloring. When the season is right, this succulent blooms lovely, fragrant, white flowers. 

Natively you will find the String of Bananas succulent in South Africa. Here, you will not only find this succulent hanging out in a hanging basket.

It has also been commonly used as a ground covering plant.

It is not uncommon for this plant to be confused with the succulent, Sting of Pearls. The String of Bananas succulent, however, is a much easier keeper.

The String of Bananas succulent is much less fussy than String of Pearls. It is also much easier to keep alive.

 

String of Bananas Care

String of Bananas (Senecio radicans) needs well-draining, neutral soil. It should be kept in partial sunlight and only watered when its soil has dried out. It is not a cold-hardy plant and enjoys a range of humidity levels. This easy-going succulent does not usually need to be fertilized. 

 

Soil

The Senecio radicans has soil preferences typical of most succulents. This plant should be grown in a light and fast-draining soil type. A sandy soil type and a neutral pH level are ideal. As these plants are susceptible to rot, it is recommended that a store-bought potting mix is used.

Specifically, a light potting mix or a cacti and succulent soil mix. 

 

Light

Generally, medium or partial sun exposure to partial shade is recommended. If you plan on keeping this plant indoors, you should place it in a spot with bright but indirect light. Outdoors, however, the String of Bananas should be kept out of direct sunlight. Partially shaded areas are optimal. 

 

Watering

String of Banana succulents have model watering requirements for succulents. They do not require an excessive amount of water. In fact, you should only water this plant once its soil has dried out.

The best method to use when watering this plant is the ‘soak and dry’ method. It is recommended, however, that you keep your String of Bananas’ soil just moist until it has become established. 

You can expect to water your Senecio radicans once per week during the warmer months of spring and summer.

In the cooler month of autumn and winter, the frequency of watering should be reduced. These plants are drought resistant and would rather be left without water for a few days than have too much water. 

 

Temperature

String of bananas is not a cold-hardy plant and is thought to be frost tender. As a native of a more tropical region, this succulent prefers to be kept in warmer temperatures.

The String of Bananas plant can cope in temperatures as high as 110℉ or 43℃. As for low temperatures, these succulents can survive exposure to 30℉ to 40℉ (-1℃ to 4℃) for short periods of time. 

The ideal temperature to keep these plants in when kept indoors is average household temperatures.

Although, it is not too fussy as it does not risk exposure to the outside elements. When kept outdoors, the Senecio radicans plant is known to grow best in milder climates. Temperatures between 40℉ and 70℉ (4℃ and 21℃) are preferential. 

If this plant is grown outdoors in a climate with colder evening temperatures, it is best to bring it indoors at night. You will also need to protect it by keeping it indoors during the cold winter months.

Bring your String of Bananas succulent indoors before the first frost. You should then only return it to its spot outside once the evening temperatures are above 40℉ or 4℃. 

 

Humidity

When it comes to humidity, the String on Bananas succulent is not too phased. It does not have any specific humidity requirements.

Although, if this plant is kept in an environment with a higher humidity level, it will have a lower water requirement. 

 

Fertilizer

It is not usually necessary to fertilize the Senecio radicans. Although, it will grow faster if it is fed. The String of Bananas plant is thought to be one of the few succulent plants that respond well to being fertilized. 

Feeding this succulent lightly once per year is more than sufficient.

Too much fertilizer can result in rather ‘leggy’ growth for this plant. It is recommended that a succulent or cacti liquid fertilizer be used when feeding this plant.

These fertilizers are generally low in nitrogen and high in phosphorous and potassium. 

 

Propagation

The Senecio radicans is a plant that can be easily propagated. Not only is the process easy, but it is also quick and painless. Propagating the String of Bananas succulent can be done through cuttings. Both stem cuttings and leaf cuttings are viable. Although, stem cuttings are the most commonly used. 

 

Growth

This bright green to lime-colored succulent gets its common names from its uniquely shaped foliage. At alternating points of this plant’s stems, hook or banana-shaped leaves sprout.

These leaves as well as their stems are used to store water for the plant. The Senecio radicans is an exotic perennial succulent.

However, in areas with colder winters, it is more likely to be grown as an annual.

The String of Bananas plant has a rapid growth rate. Interestingly, it is known to grow even quicker when it is kept and grown indoors.

Due to its speedy growth, it is best to avoid planting this succulent in the same container as other plants. The Senecio radicans tends to claim the container and overtake other plants. 

These trailing succulents are capable of growing anywhere between 6 inches to 24 inches (15 centimeters to 61 centimeters) across. The plant’s foliage, however, can reach lengths of 6 feet (1.8 meters) or more!

In the chilly months of winter, the String of Bananas goes into a state of dormancy. Following this, the plant will produce white flowers.

You can expect your Senecio radicans to bloom from late in the winter to early on in the spring.

These blooms give off a fragrance that resembles that of cinnamon. 

 

Potting

The String of Bananas succulent is a fairly versatile plant. It can be grown directly in the ground where it will quickly expand outwards and become a ground covering plant.

Senecio radicans can also be grown in containers, pots, and most popularly, hanging baskets. When potting your String of Bananas succulent, be sure you have selected a pot or container with holes to allow for proper drainage. 

When grown in containers, these succulents do not mind being root-bound. It is recommended, however, that you repot your Senecio radicans once every couple of years. This is done to refresh your plant’s soil, not necessarily to increase its container size. 

Regardless of where you grow this elegant succulent, its needs and preferences remain the same. The most crucial need that should always be catered for, of course, is its soil preference.

Provided your String of Bananas has a decent amount of light and fast-draining soil, it should be just fine.

 

Senecio radicans Propagation 

The main method of propagation of the Senecio radicans succulent is through cuttings. Whether it be through stem cuttings or leaf cuttings, the process is easy to do. Although, using stem cuttings is the most popular way of propagating this plant. 

There are three ways to propagate a String of Bananas succulent using its stem cuttings.

The first way is to plant the stem cutting into the soil.

The second method is to simply lay the stem cutting on top of the allocated soil. The third way to propagate the Senecio radicans using a stem cutting is through water propagation. 

When using either the first or second stem cutting propagation methods, you should assume typical care for the plants. When using the last method, however, you will need to wait for the stem cutting to produce new roots.

This will take a few weeks to do. After about four weeks, you can then plant your water propagated cutting into well-draining soil. Continue typical care for your String of Bananas once planted. 

 

Common problems with Senecio radicans 

The String of Bananas succulent is known to be typically free from pests and diseases. However, there are a few minor pests that may attack this plant. Namely, scale, aphids, and mealybugs.

Although minor, these pests can still be a nuisance to your plant and should be dealt with as quickly as possible. By keeping a constant check over your Senecio radicans, you should be able to avoid having to deal with any pest infestations. 

The biggest problem of all, and the most common killer of String of Bananas succulents, is rot, specifically root rot. Root rot is caused as a result of overwatering your plant. This issue can often go unnoticed until it is too late. 

Unfortunately, there is no way to reverse the effects of rot. The best way to avoid your plant suffering the effects of root rot is to only water it when it is absolutely necessary. Your plant’s soil should be completely dry before you water it again. 

 

Tips to keep String of Bananas problem-free

The most important thing to note when it comes to the care of these succulents is watering. It is absolutely vital that you avoid overwatering your plant.

String of Bananas is a fairly low-maintenance and problem-free plant. The biggest issue they have is with rot. 

The quickest way to kill your succulent is to give it more water than it needs. If you are unsure of if your String of Bananas needs water, rather leave it another day or two.

As a drought-resistant plant, this succulent would rather go without water than have too much. 

Also, always ensure your Senecio radicans is getting enough light.

This is a plant that needs access to bright but indirect light. Although, too much or direct sunlight can cause your plant to become sunburnt. 

 

Frequently asked questions about Senecio radicans 

 

Why is my Senecio radicans turning brown?

The most common reason for a String of Bananas succulent turning brown is a result of sun damage. If your plant is looking dry, shriveled, and brown, it is likely that it is suffering from over-exposure to the sun. Move your Senecio radicans to a shadier spot with indirect light. 

 

Is the String of Bananas plant toxic?

Although it has not yet been confirmed, it is likely that this plant is toxic if ingested. It is thought to be toxic as its close relative, the String of Pearls is mildly toxic. Therefore, it is best to keep your String of Bananas succulent out of reach of children as well as cats and dogs. 

 

Why is my String of Bananas plant not growing?

The two factors that can result in the Senecio radicans plant not growing are light and watering. Too much water and not enough light is a recipe for disaster when it comes to this succulent. Ensure your String of Bananas has access to full, bright, but indirect light and only water it once its soil has dried out completely. 


Conclusion

It is not hard to see why the Senecio radicans succulent is so popular. With its vibrant coloring and easy-going nature, it is no wonder both new and experienced gardeners love them.

With its unique look, the String of Bananas succulent makes for an excellent feature plant.

Not only that, but this plant is also low maintenance and super forgiving. 

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