String of Bananas

String of Bananas

ORIGIN

Senecio radicans, commonly known as String of Bananas, is an unusual-looking succulent that is a close relative to the equally eye-catching String of Pearls. They're native to South Africa, and get their name from their fun banana-shaped leaves.

In their native environment, they grow along the floor, intertwining with other plants to make a thick ground cover. They're fast growers too - their long stems can reach up to 3 feet (90 cm) long!

When grown as a houseplant, they make an excellent choice for hanging baskets as their stems can be allowed to trail down and show off their unique foliage.

String of Bananas

CARE

String of Bananas has similar care needs to other succulents. They're drought-tolerant, as they're designed to be able to survive hot, arid conditions in the wild, and like sunshine.

However, they don't like temperature extremes - either too hot or too cold. They are not tolerant of frost so will need to be brought inside before the winter if you keep yours outdoors, and you should also try to keep it protected from extended periods of intense heat exposure.

In terms of watering, it's much easier to kill a String of Bananas by overwatering than underwatering, so if you're unsure then it's better to hold off. Too much water can quickly lead to root rot. They store water in their stems as well as in their plump, banana-shaped leaves, meaning that they can go for extended periods of time without additional water. Make sure to allow the soil to dry out before watering again.

If the leaves start to shrink and look shrivelled, this is a sign of underwatering. On the other hand, soft, mushy and overly-plump looking 'bananas' are a telltale sign of overwatering. In fact, the leaves can actually burst if they try to store too much water.

String of Bananas 2

OTHER

Want a fuller-looking plant? Take a cutting, let it dry for a couple of days and then plant it back in the pot again.

Note that although the stems of your String of Bananas can grow very long, the 'bananas' themselves will always stay quite small and cute! They won't grow larger than around 1 inch (3 cm).

Also bear in mind that, despite their name, these 'bananas' are not edible! The name refers only to their shape, as they're in fact toxic to both humans and animals.