Looking for a succulent to go bananas over?
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Closely related to the String of Pearls succulent, the String of Bananas (Senecio radicans) trailing succulent is native to South Africa and characterized by its glossy banana-shaped leaves that grow on long, hanging stems. Some people find the String of Bananas succulent to be easier to care for than the String of Pearls succulent because its tendrils are thicker and less prone to break. In addition, the String of Bananas grows faster and is not as likely to dry out like the String of Pearls. String of Bananas can ultimately grow up to 36 inches long!
The String of Bananas succulent is commonly grown indoors as a houseplant because it is not frost tolerant. If grown outdoors, this succulent needs warm weather year round. Like other hanging succulents, the String of Bananas plant looks beautiful in hanging baskets, growing upward in trellises, and in vertical gardens.
String of Bananas succulents are well-loved for their attractive appearance, fast growth, and their general low-maintenance. Whether you’re an expert gardener or new to the hanging succulent scene, String of Bananas is the perfect plant for you! Let’s look at how to best grow and care for your String of Bananas indoors and outdoors:
If grown indoors, the String of Bananas succulent will need about 6 hours of bright, indirect light. If you don’t have a location in your home that gets strong natural light, you can also place the succulent 6-12 inches under a fluorescent light for about 12 to 16 hours. If the String of Bananas does not receive enough light, you will be able to tell when the banana-shaped leaves become more spaced out along the stem. If your String of Bananas is in low light, it will not grow much at all.
As an outdoor plant, the succulent will need some shade as well as direct sun. Keep it out of hot, direct sun during the summer months since it will burn. People will usually allow the plant to bask directly in the weaker morning sun and then place it in a spot with partial shade or more diffused light during peak afternoon sun. In the fall and winter months, the succulent can endure more direct sunlight and less shade.
Even though String of Bananas originates from the hot, arid temperatures of South Africa, they still enjoy and flourish in normal household temperatures. As an outdoor plant, the String of Bananas cannot survive in extremely cold temperatures. If you’re in a region that remains reasonably warm year round, your String of Bananas should be okay. If not, bring your String of Bananas indoors for cooler seasons and be sure to keep the succulent away from gusty air conditioning or heating vents.
String of Bananas succulents are hardy, hanging plants. They are extremely drought-tolerant and have low water needs. There isn’t necessarily a strict watering schedule you need to follow. As a general rule, water your succulent about every 2 weeks or until the soil has been able to dry out. Like the String of Pearls succulent, the String of Bananas succulent is susceptible over-watering and root rot.
In the winter, the String of Bananas will enter a period of dormancy. As a result, the succulent will require less water. Provide just enough moisture to prevent the soil and plant from becoming bone dry.
For a homemade moisture meter, we suggest simply using a toothpick. Place the toothpick in your planter’s soil before watering and check back regularly to see when the toothpick is dry. When the toothpick is dry, your succulent soil is ready for more water.
Like all succulents, String of Bananas will need well-draining soil to prevent soggy roots and eventual root rot. In order for succulents to dry out quickly, they need a gritty, textured soil that provides good airflow. String of Bananas will enjoy any regular succulent soil or cactus soil mix. However, any potting mix will do. To make your own, take 3 parts potting soil and mix it with 1 part sharp sand.
In addition to soil, make sure you plant the succulent in a pot that has drainage holes. Terracotta or ceramic clay pots are also good choices to draw excess moisture from the soil. But keep in mind: even the best succulent soil and pot will not save your plant if you overwater it.
These succulents grow fast and propagate easily. All you have to do is make some stem cuttings several inches in length, allow the cuts to heal and seal over (which can take about 3 to 7 days), lay the cuttings flat on top soil, and wait for them to take root. For more information on propagation, read our article How to Propagate Succulents in 5 Easy Steps.
In the fall and winter, the String of Bananas bloom small, fuzzy lavender, white, or yellow flowers that have a faint cinnamon scent similar to the String of Pearls’ annual blooms. The puffy flowers tend curve upwards and some say they aren’t as fragrant as the String of Pearls’ blooms. If your String of Bananas is strictly indoors, it will likely not have seasonal blooms.
String of Bananas succulents are mildly toxic to humans and pets if ingested. Though the plant will not prove fatal to either, the consumption of the plant could result in stomach pains, vomiting, and diarrhea. The succulent also produces a sap that can be irritating to skin or produce a rash upon contact. If you plan to keep a String of Bananas plant indoors, ensure it is in a safe, high place to keep it away from pets or children.
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