A string of bananas is a very unique succulent and one which will add a lot of wow factor to your houseplant collection. With its cascading rows of banana shaped leaves, it can really shine as a standalone plant or mixed with others, even sometimes in the same spot. One look at a mature string of bananas and you’ll fall in love and absolutely need to have one of your own. But how do you take care of it? Well that is where we come in, there are a few tips and tricks to learn that will help your string of bananas thrive and we’ll teach you right now.
What is a String of Bananas?
Scientific name: Senecio Rowleyanus
AKA: String of Beans
As mentioned above, a string of bananas belongs to the succulent family. It gets it’s name from the small banana like leaves which grow on a trailing stem which can grow usually between 60-90 cm, literally giving it the look of a string of bananas.
They’re often potted in hanging pots with the ultimate look in mind being a cascading waterfall of these odd shaped, specialised leaves which are extremely different to a lot of other hanging plants. They can also be kept in a normal pot and allowed to spill over the sides, this is also a desired look.
A string of bananas can often be seen as a beginner plant, however there is always a slight tendency in new growers to overwater this plant, often it is forgotten that it is a succulent and doesn’t need quite as much as others would. With this guide however, you will be able to avoid all of those simple mistakes and have a beautiful string of bananas to show for it!
What lighting does a String of Bananas need?
A string of bananas loves bright, indirect light. This is often found in a placement near a window but not directly next to it. When finding a placement for your string of bananas, be mindful that they do get sunburned easily, so if you live in a hot climate and have extended hours of bright, strong sunlight, it may be best to places this plant at leas 5-10 feet away from the window. This will ensure that it doesn’t get sunburned and will grow at an optimal rate.
If you live in a darker area or your home just doesn’t get enough sunlight, a grow light might be an option for you. If you’re going to use a grow light to supplement your string of bananas natural sunlight then it is recommended to place it 6-12 inches away and be running for 12-16 hours a day.
What kind of soil does a String of Bananas need?
Again, keeping in mind that this is a succulent, it is important to give your string of bananas a very well draining soil. A succulent specific soil is recommended, especially if you’re just starting out, alternatively, any sandy soil should also provide adequate drainage.
The type of pot that you plant your string of bananas in is also extremely important, of course we need something which will drain very well. For this, either a terracotta or unglazed ceramic pot is recommended. These two types of pots provide excellent drainage and will keep your plants happy.
The size of the pot you use is also incredibly important, string of bananas have rather shallow roots, meaning that a pot which is too large is completely unnecessary and can also lead to issues with overwatering.
It is also important to ensure that not too many bananas are resting on damp soil, this can lead to rot. Make sure that the soil is near the top of the pot, this will let the plant fill the pot, give it adequate aeration and decrease the amount of leaves in contact with damp soil.
How often should you water a String of Bananas?
Generally it is ideal to water your string of bananas once every two weeks in the summer and around once a month in the winter. This is obviously depended on the climate you live in, hotter, drier climates will need more watering whilst cooler, more humid climates will require less.
These plants are very susceptible to overwatering, so it would be smart to always check the soil before watering, if the top inch or two of soil is dry, then go ahead and water. If it is still moist however, it means you should wait a few more days to prevent overwatering.
When watering your string of bananas, put the pot in a sink or bathtub and turn the tap on for 10-15 seconds or until whenever you see water coming out of the drainage holes, you can leave it there and when no more excess water comes out, put it back in its spot. This is one of the best ways to water your plants as it promotes strong root growth. To find out more about the best way to water your plant, you can check out another article we wrote here: The absolute best way to water your plants and promote strong root growth
What temperature and humidity does a String of Bananas need?
Your string of bananas will enjoy somewhat higher than normal room tempretures, around 70°-80°F (21°-27°C) and humidity it not too much of an issue, they can thrive in drier climates, in a more humid space you may need to water a bit less but that is about it. They are very beginner friendly in this aspect.
How much fertilizer does a String of Bananas need?
Like most other succulents, a string of bananas does not need too much fertilizer and if you do use too much or use it too often, it can kill the plant. During it’s growing periods of Spring and Summer you can fertilize once every month. In the winter however it is not recommended to fertilize at all.
When fertilizing your string of bananas, remember to weaken the solution you use, as something too strong may shock and kill the plant. By weakening the solution you’ll ensure that you dont overwhelm the plant.
When will you need to repot your String of Bananas?
As mentioned above, the size of your pot is crucial to the success of your string of bananas, something too big and it may struggle with overwattering. It is, in my opinion, better to keep your plant in a smaller pot than move it to a bigger one in most occasions and this is for two reasons. The first of which is that it simply looks better, more full and extravagant. The second reason is that it is harder to make a watering mistake. It is much better to underwater a string of bananas than to overwater it and by keeping it in a smaller pot, you’re decreasing the chances of it being overwatered.
With all that in mind, there will come a time to repot your string of bananas. Some indications of this will be that it’s stems are not getting longer or that it is starting to become tangled and messy at the top of the pot.
How do you propagate a String of Bananas
A string of bananas is one of the easier plants to propogate as they have very shallow roots which grow rather easily. To do this, take a section of stem, anywhere 3-4 inches in length and place it on some damp soil. Gently press the stem into the soil. The roots will begin to grow from the stem and form a whole new plant. This can be done with leaves still on the stem or you can remove them. Keep the soil moist by misting during this process.
Roots will eventually grow and you’ll have another beautiful plant!
Are String of Bananas Toxic?
YES! The sap from a string of bananas is toxic! If you have animals or small children about, it would be ideal to keep them away from this plant. In humans the sap can cause skin irrittion or dermatitis, in animals it can cause drooling or lethargy. If your pet has eaten part of your string of bananas, contact your vet. If an adult or child has eaten part of your string of bananas, call your doctor or poisons hotline.
So now you know how to care for your string of bananas, they are honestly such easy going plants and so easy to take care of, do these simple things and they will reward you for years with beautiful spherical leaves and an amazing display.