Senecio radicans, also known as String of Bananas, is a gorgeous trailing succulent that grows primarily in southern Africa, around South Africa, Lesotho, and Nambia. A breathtaking addition to any home garden, this beautiful succulent’s unique, banana-shaped leaves is where it gets its nickname. Growing up to about three feet long, this succulent is wonderful for small, climate-controlled spaces like apartments or greenhouses.
Like all succulents, the String of Bananas is generally hardy and resilient in the face of drought. It does, however, have a few particular care needs to thrive.
Since this plant hails from southern Africa, you’d think it would need lots of sunlight. However, String of Bananas tends to thrive in partial sun and light shade. It’s best to keep this succulent near a window facing away from where the sun shines or near other plants that will filter sunlight. String of Bananas can survive in full sun, but always make sure to prevent it from receiving direct light, as direct sunlight will burn the plant’s leaves.
When you water your String of Bananas, make sure you do so when the soil is completely dry. Unlike other succulents, this plant doesn’t have a particular watering schedule but will need water once its soil has dried completely. To check if your String of Bananas is ready for watering, stick your finger about two inches into the soil. If your finger comes out dry, then you’re set to water.
If you’re having trouble determining when to water your String of Bananas, consider using a moisture meter to help determine how dry the soil is.
Your String of Bananas will need well-draining soil, available as a succulent potting mix. If you’re looking to make your own homemade soil mix, use two parts traditional potting soil, one part perlite, and one part sand to create the perfect soil for this succulent.
4. Temperature and Humidity
String of Bananas thrive in climates similar to their natural habitat-- in USDA zones nine, ten, and eleven. This plant won’t survive cold winters and thus must be kept indoors once temperatures drop below 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Like with most succulents, you won’t need to fertilize your String of Bananas often, if at all. When you fertilize, dilute your liquid succulent fertilizer in a 50/50 mixture with water, and apply fertilizer once every few weeks during the spring and summer growing seasons.
Potting and Repotting
String of Bananas require well-draining soil and will thus benefit from a pot that promotes drainage. Pots made from materials like concrete, ceramic, or terracotta work best to promote drainage. If you’re working with a pot that has no drainage or is made of a material like glass or metal, consider placing a layer of gravel at the bottom of your pot to promote drainage.
2. Repotting your String of Bananas
When you repot your String of Bananas, make sure you don’t accidentally catch any trails underneath the roots as you pot the plant. Don’t worry if you lose a few leaves while repotting this succulent! You’ll be able to propagate them to grow another plant.
Like all succulents, always repot during the growing season in a pot at least 10% larger than your previous pot.
To propagate your String of Bananas, use either one of the plant’s fallen leaves or a cutting from your succulent. To take a cutting, cut a portion of the stem as close to the root as you can with a sharp, clean pair of scissors or a knife. Let the cutting callous over for a day or so, then lay the cutting on a pot of soil similar to the one you’d used for planting the original String of Bananas. Mist the cutting every so often to keep it moist, but avoid getting it too soggy-- you should only need to spritz it every day or so.
String of Bananas succulents have beautiful, white flowers that smell like cinnamon. These flowers show themselves at the height of the growing season in spring and will appear if your succulent is getting plenty of sunlight. To encourage blooming in your String of Bananas, place it in full, indirect sunlight and fertilize during the growing season.
Since the String of Bananas is a trailing succulent, you won’t need to prune it often and can encourage clean growth simply by moving the trails where you want them in the pot. When you prune the succulent, be sure to use a sharp, clean pair of scissors or a knife, and cut the stem as close to one of the leaves as possible.
While this succulent isn’t deadly, it’s still toxic to cats, dogs, and humans when ingested. If your pet ingests some of this plant, they may experience skin irritation and dermatitis, vomiting, and diarrhea. Keep your String of Bananas out of reach from pets and children, and contact a medical specialist if consumed.
Common Pests and Complications
Like all succulents, the String of Bananas are particularly susceptible to complications that arise from poor drainage, like root rot, mold, and potential overwatering. String of Bananas plants are also susceptible to common pests like aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites as well, but poor drainage can also lead to mold growth and potential gnat infestations.
If this beautiful plant has caught your eye, why not get one mailed to your door? Order your own String of Bananas to grow today!