If you are a big succulent-lover and have a special interest in peculiar plants, we present you with the perfect addition for your collection! Not only do these succulents look adorable and produce mesmerizing fragrant flowers, but they also have a very easy-to-grow nature. The temptation is real and, believe us, we could not resist either!
Senecio Radicans syn. Curio Radicans is a species of flowering succulents that belongs to the Asteraceae family. This plant is native to the Cape Province region of South Africa and can be found growing in desert areas and at the base of rocks. It is commonly referred to as String of Bananas, Necklace Plant, Banana Vine, Creeping Berry, or Fish Hooks Senecio.
String of Bananas succulents are closely related to the Curio Hallianus species and the well-known String of Pearls. They are one of the most low-maintenance houseplants, making them an excellent choice for any type of gardener, especially beginners. Moreover, these plants are interesting pieces of nature that look splendid in succulent gardens, hanging baskets, pots, and other landscape decorations.
Read on to learn more about growing, watering, and propagating String of Bananas succulents.
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About String of Bananas
- Their scientific genus name Senecion is the Latin for “old man” and is probably referring to their hanging and lazy stems.
- In South Africa, from where these beauties are originated, String of Bananas plants are used very often in ground covers along with other varieties of plants.
- Senecio Radicans plants look lovely in many arrangements of rosette-patterned succulents including Sempervivums and Echeverias.
- Like all desert species, String of Bananas plants prefer warm environments and plenty of bright sunlight. They are not frost-hardy at all but can handle hot temperatures just fine.
- The ideal growing medium for these succulents is a well-draining potting soil. When grown indoors, the containers must have drainage holes at the bottom.
- String of Bananas plants require repotting once every 2-3 years and occasional feedings. Look for fertilizers that are low in nitrogen, but rich in phosphorous and potassium.
- Senecio succulents can store large amounts of water, making them pretty drought-tolerant. They need watering only when the soil has dried out thoroughly.
- They are pretty toxic if ingested, so it is recommended to grow them in a place where curious cats and dogs cannot reach their succulent leaves or stems.
String of Bananas Features: An Overview
- They belong to the Senecio (Curio) genus that contains about 1250 species of small trees, shrubs, climbers, or aquatics. It is one of the largest genera of flowering plants.
- Senecio Radicans is an evergreen perennial that can reach up to 2 feet (61 cm) in height. This succulent forms large carpets or waterfalls of slender stems.
- The prostrate stems of these plants grow at least 3 feet (90 cm) in length and between 0.08 and 0.12 inches (2-3 mm) in diameter. They are succulent, flexible, and greenish-blue in color.
- Their fleshy, quite shiny, and highly succulent leaves grow scattered on stems. They measure from 0.79 to 1.18 inches (2-3 cm) in length and 0.16 to 0.35 inches (4-9 mm) in width.
- The leaves are always slightly curved upwards, forming attractive foliage that resembles bananas. They are erect and appear in different shades of green to blue.
- Although their cylindrical leaves are usually produced in the shape of bananas, they can also come spindle-shaped to somehow spherical. The sides are partly translucent, allowing more light absorption.
- During the blooming period, from late winter to early spring, String of Bananas exhibits a few inflorescences. They produce clusters of 1 to 4 small flowers that are tinged in shades of white, lavender, or yellow.
- Their flowers are not so showy and look very similar to paintbrushes. They are gifted with a sweet fragrance that resembles cinnamon.
- They are a great ornamental companion to other hanging plants, such as String of Turtles, String of Pearls, String of Dolphins, String of Hearts, or Echeveria ‘Doris Taylor’.
Growing String of Bananas
We all love succulents! Not only are they so alluring with their interesting foliage patterns, but they are also very easy to grow and care for. And Senecio Radicans is no different! As long as you manage to simulate the environmental conditions from their natural habitat, this lovely succulent will cause you no trouble on the way.
First thing’s first, make sure you plant String of Bananas in a location that suits it very well. If you live in a region where temperatures drop below 30 °F (-1.1 °C) for longer periods, it is suggested you grow this plant in a pot that can be moved indoors anytime. In this way, it is easier to keep your succulent alive and protect it from extreme conditions.
Light-wise, String of Bananas plants thrive when they are exposed to plenty of bright and indirect sunlight. When growing these plants outdoors, plant them in a location where they can receive enough morning sun and some afternoon shade. Indoors, keep your succulents in the brightest place from your home. The ideal spots for them are near east, south, or north-facing windows where indirect sunlight is showing up.
In terms of temperatures, Senecio Radicans plants do well in values as low as 50 °F (10 °C). Like most desert species, they can handle extremely hot temperatures that rise to 110 °F (43 °C). When growing them indoors, these succulents are just fine with average room temperatures all-year-round. During their dormant period, however, they prefer temperatures that range from 50 to 55 °F (10-13 °C).
Planting String of Bananas
For optimal growth, you must plant String of Bananas plants in soil that has good drainage. Look for a commercial potting mix designed for succulents and cacti and add a layer of perlite for extra drainage. If the soil is poor in nutrients, you can also add some compost to the substrate.
According to World of Succulents, String of Bananas is one of the few species of succulents that respond well to fertilizers. It is not generally needed, but your plant may grow faster if you provide it with fertilizer. Feed your succulent with a diluted balanced water-soluble fertilizer during its active growing season, from spring to summer.
Senecio Radicans is usually a pest-free plant, but it may be bothered sometimes by mealybugs or scale insects. When you notice any suspicious signs of infestation, you should treat the infected parts with a cotton pad dipped in rubbing alcohol. If this method is not efficient, use neem oil or suitable insecticides and pesticides.
Watering String of Bananas
Most succulents are pretty easy-going when it comes to watering and Senecio Radicans is no different! This plant has plenty of succulent stems and leaves, making it quite tolerant of drought for long periods. That being said, your succulent will have an easy time to forgive you if you forget to water it once in a while. It is susceptible to root rot, so the worst thing you could do is to provide your plant with too much water along the way. But this can be simply avoided if you pay attention to your Senecio Radicans’ needs.
The best way to water String of Bananas plants is by using the “soak and dry” method. Make sure you always check the soil in-between waterings to avoid over-watering your plants. When the soil has dried out completely, your succulents are thirsty and need a deep soaking. Remember that you should remove any excess water from their tray, as these plants do not appreciate soggy conditions or waterlogging.
Propagating String of Bananas
Do you want to decorate your home with a giant emerald green waterfall or maybe you want to surprise your family and friends with a gift? Say no more! String of Bananas plants are so easy to propagate that you will repeat the process more often than you might think. The most common method of propagation is through stem cuttings, as this has a higher chance of transforming into a healthy and established baby plant. Of course, even some experienced gardeners can fail once in a while, but this should not stop you from having a little fun on the way!
Look for healthy stems that contain many succulent leaves and cut about 2 inches (5 cm) off them. Make sure you remove the lower leaves, as they should not be dug in the soil when propagating. The cuttings must be set aside in a warm and shaded location to allow them to form a callous. Once they calloused well, after about three to seven days, the cuttings are ready for planting.
Fill a pot or bed with the same mixture you already grow the mother plant in, such as coarse potting soil. If the container does not have drainage holes at the bottom, do a few ones by yourself. Plant the stems in the growing medium and keep the soil slightly damp until new growth occurs. Once the cuttings have developed a strong root system, you can care for them as for a regular String of Bananas plant.
There is absolutely no reason to turn your back on this superb ornamental houseplant! String of Bananas is a drought-tolerant succulent that can show nice results with very little attention from its owner. Either way, your efforts will be rewarded with adorable banana-shaped foliage and gorgeous cinnamon-scented flowers. Also, thanks to its easy-to-propagate feature, it is safe to say that this plant is somehow immortal!
Are you growing Senecio succulents? Share your experience with us in the comments!