How & Why I Pruned My Trailing Fishhooks Succulent

If you want a hanging succulent that’s easy to maintain, you’ll love the Trailing Fishhooks Senecio. Here’s how and why I pruned my String of Fishhooks.

If you want a trailing succulent which grows fast and is easy to maintain, look no further because you’ve found it here. The plant of which I speak goes by the names Trailing Fishhooks, Fishhooks Plant, String Of Fishhooks, Senecio “Fish Hooks ” and Blue Pickle Vine as well as its botanic moniker Senecio radicans glauca.  Good grief – it’s confusing to have so many names! My own Trailing Fishhooks succulent had gotten too long. It was way overdue for a pruning!

I love this hanging plant but here in warm and sunny Tucson, it grows like a weed. The nickname “Lady Godiva” has been bestowed upon it, and rightfully so. The long stems had hit the patio floor and were trailing along it for at least a foot. Plant debris was collecting in the mass of trails making sweeping more of a chore than it already was. Time for a trim!

You can see how long this Trailing Fishhooks succulent was here:

Pruning Fishhooks Senecio: Why I Did It

Besides the fact this hanging succulent was taking up a valuable real estate on the patio floor, I wanted to prune to encourage fresh new growth to emerge. There was already a bit of it growing out of the top as well as off the sides of a few of the stems. Pruning does many things but one of those keys to a plant’s health and appearance is that it stimulates new growth.

close up of the new growth of a trailing fishhooks succulent in a red pot

Some of that new growth coming out. 

I didn’t realize how heavy all those trails at the bottom were until I cut them off. Tucson isn’t ideal for fleshy succulents (we can get a freeze in winter and it’s blasted hot and sunny in the summer) but most of them do fine in bright shade nonetheless. The plant looks a lot happier already to have a portion of those long stems off!

nell foster in a red shirt & black pants is standing behind a string of fishhooks succulent with long trails

Me & this Trailing Fishhooks hanging out at my house in Santa Barbara, CA a couple of years ago. Fleshy succulents favor the cooler, coastal California climate which makes senses because their leaves & stems are full of water. You can see how much bluer this plant is here rather than in the southern Arizona desert where I now live. Change in color in plants is due to environmental stress. 

How to Prune a Trailing Fishhooks Senecio

First off, I make sure any plant I’m pruning isn’t stressed (ie: dry) and that my pruners or cutting tools are clean and sharp. Make nice, precise cuts so the health of the plant isn’t compromised.

There was nothing too scientific, exacting or artistic about this pruning job. I wanted the plant up off the floor because it grows so fast, especially in the warmer months. Where a stem is cut, new growth will fork off the bottom and sometimes the middle so I wanted to do a bit of thinning out too. You’ll see this in the video.

close up of how the ends of a string of fishhooks trailing succulent are pruned

I put the stems against the background of the white pillar so you could see where I pruned them. Making a cut just below a leaf/node is best. 

I use my Fiskar Floral Nips for a project like this because they’re sharp as can be and make clean, precise cuts so all go easier and faster. I’ve used these for years and can highly recommend them for soft-stemmed plants like my String Of Fishhooks.

Succulents can be pruned at any time of year but spring is the best. I avoid winter pruning of these fleshy beauties because the plants are resting.

the ends of a string of fishhooks trailing succulent showing how the ends were not trimmed straight across

I don’t cut all the stems so they’re straight across. When those ends start growing & forking off, it can look like a huge blob. That’s why the cuts are staggered. Plus, I like the way this looks better.

a pile of string of fishhooks stems after being pruned

Here’s the pile I pruned off this plant. I did a giveaway on my Youtube channel & 3 lucky viewers got quite a few cuttings. Sign up for the newsletter & subscribe to my Youtube channel now; I’ll be doing another giveaway sometime in summer!

My String of Fishhooks Plant In The Coming Months

Once the new growth starts emerging and growing, I might cut all the older stems off. I’ll see how it’s doing after the hot summer months have passed. One thing I know for sure, I’m keeping up on the pruning so the trails stay at this length. My kitty Riley is happier now too. He can easily run across the patio in pursuit of lizards and snakes without having to detour around the mass of trails on the ground!

Happy gardening,

Signed by Nell Foster


Fishhooks Senecio: An Easy-Care Trailing Succulent 

7 Hanging Succulents To Love 

How Much Sun Do Succulents Need?

How Often Should You Water Succulents?

How to Transplant Succulents into Pots

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  1. Hi Nell,
    this is off topic as I don’t have trailing fishhooks, but I was was amazed to see how tall your Pencil Cactus has grown. That plant is a giant, and if you don’t prune it it’ll grow up to the moon soon.
    I have a Pencil Cactus – an all-green one and a pot of Sticks on Fire! I was able to purchase the Sticks on Fire in Poland a few months ago. The plant wasn’t on fire when I got it, probably because it was too warm indoors. But since I moved the plant out on my balcony the cool nights lit the fire, and now it is beautiful as can be.
    But, of course, my Pencil Cacti are slow growers in the central European climate. It does get hot during the daytime and when the sun is shining, but the nights are never as hot as the Arizona nights.
    I don’t mean to be nosey and intrusive, but I remember you saying that you wanted to get yourself a Sticks on Fire. Have you? I love the plant, and I love the all-green one.
    Alright, Nell, take care! I look forward to seeing more of your videos.
    Greetings from the oh so green city of Berlin to the Arizona desert. (I love to remember my stay in Az. I was staying in Mesa, just outside of Phoenix, for a German-American Partnership Program with students of my school, visited Old Tucson, but never made it as far south as Tucson. But I loved Canyon de Cheilly, Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, Petrified Desert, and many many more places.)

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