String Of Bananas: Growing Curio Radicans Indoors

Are you looking for a hanging succulent plant that is easy to maintain and cool as can be? Here are care and growing tips for the String Of Bananas houseplant.

Everyone seems to be madly in love with that wacky and wonderful succulent String Of Pearls, and rightfully so. Did you know there’s another adorable  “string” succulent on the block?

This one is easier to keep alive and just as attractive as its close relative, in my humble opinion anyway. Let me introduce you to or reacquaint you with the String Of Bananas houseplant and how to grow it.

Botanical Name: Curio radicans, formerly Senecio radicans  Common Name: String Of Bananas

String of Bananas Traits

Cutting of a String of Bananas on kitchen counter, in bright lit room.
String Of Bananas plants are easy to propagate from cuttings.

I think growing a String Of Bananas as a houseplant is easier than its Curio relative String Of Pearls. The stems are thicker, which makes them less delicate. They grow faster, which enables more propagation. The bananas don’t dry out like the String Of Pearls with those thin stems. 

I’ve had readers say that SOBs are much easier to keep alive and have had zero luck with String Of Pearls. Why don’t you give this one a try?

Size

String Of Bananas plants are sold in 3″, 4″, and 6″ inch pots. The trails on mine are currently 4′ long. Those trails can reach  6′ long. This plant is a ground cover when growing in its native environment.

Growth Rate

Mine grows moderately to fast outdoors. You can expect a moderate growth rate indoors, given the plant has enough light.

Uses

A hanging basket or hanging pot suits this succulent to a tee. It can also be placed in a decorative pot and put atop a bookcase, shelf, ledge, etc., to hang down and show off those beautiful trails.

String Of Bananas Plant Care

Close up of a String of bananas leaves & trails growing in a cluster.
Here are those cute little banana-shaped leaves.

String Of Bananas Light Requirements

This trailing succulent needs as much light as possible indoors, in a medium to high exposure. If it’s in lower light, it won’t grow much, if at all.

You can grow it in or near a sunny window indoors. Just be sure to keep it out of the hot, direct sun (especially in the summer months), and make sure it’s not touching any hot glass. Either way, the plump leaves will burn.

If it’s not getting bright light from all sides, you’ll have to rotate it every 3-6 months so it does.

You may need to move it in the winter months to another spot in your home so it will get an adequate amount of light. 

Wondering How Much Sun Do Succulents Need? We got you covered with this blog post.

String Of Bananas Watering

It’s hard to give you a particular watering schedule because many factors play. Here are a few: the pot size, the type of soil it’s planted in, the location where it’s growing, and your home’s environment. 

Watering every 2-3 weeks is a good ballpark. Water your String Of Bananas thoroughly, and let the soil dry out before watering again.

They, like all succulent plants, are subject to root rot. Don’t keep the soil constantly moist but don’t keep it dry for too long. 

A common problem with succulents is keeping the soil too wet. You may find this guide helpful in knowing How Often Should You Water Succulents.

Temperature

As I always say: if your home is comfortable, your plants will be happy too. Normal house temperatures are just fine.

Even though this plant can tolerate a wide swing of temperatures outdoors, make sure it’s not sitting next to or on a heater or air conditioner. They don’t like hot or cold drafts.

Stem of a string of bananas houseplant which has been pruned several stems fork off of that 1 stem.
This is what happens when you prune a String Of Banana’s stem. Multiple stems fork off of it.

Fertilizing/Feeding  

The time for fertilizing and feeding is spring and summer into early fall if you’re in a temperate climate.

String Of Bananas aren’t fussy or needy regarding fertilizing. I fertilize mine with Grow BigLiquid Kelp, and Maxsea or Sea Grow three to four times during our long growing season. I alternate these liquid fertilizers and don’t use them all together.

You may have a shorter growing season and only need to feed yours twice yearly in spring and summer, at half the recommended amount.

I sprinkle a thin layer of local worm compost/compost on all my houseplants every other year. Both enrich the soil naturally, so the roots are healthy and the plants grow stronger. If you go this route, easy does it. Too much of an application of either can burn a houseplant’s roots.

String Of Bananas Soil

A high-quality succulent and cactus soil mix is best for this plant. You want the potting mix to be light and well-drained so the roots don’t rot. 

I use this DIY Cactus and Succulent Mix Recipe that’s very chunky, so the water drains right through. It’s the same blend I use for my indoor and outdoor succulents.

If you can’t find a mix locally, the ones I’ve used available online include Dr. Earth, EB Stone, Bonsai Jack, and Tanks’. Other popular choices are Superfly BonsaiCactus Cult, and Hoffman’s

Regular potting soil isn’t ideal, but you can use it in a pinch. You’ll want to up the ante on the drainage factor to lessen the chance of rot by adding some pumice or perlite.

Repotting String Of Bananas

The best time for succulent repotting is during the active growing season: spring, summer, into early fall. This plant is easy to repot because the leaves don’t fall off as readily as other hanging succulents like the String Of Pearls and the Burro’s Tail Sedum. 

Succulents can stay tight in their pots for a while, so don’t think you must repot this plant every year or two. I repot mine every 3-5 years if only to give it a freshen-up on the mix.

When it’s time for SOBs repotting, I generally go up one pot size. For example, from a 4″ pot to a 6″ pot.

Make sure the crown of the plant (the top part where all the stems grow out of) is no further down in the pot than 1″. If a String Of Bananas is planted too far down in the pot, it’ll be subject to stem rot. 

Planting in a pot with multiple drainage holes is the best way to ensure the excess water thoroughly drains out after watering. 

Here’s a Guide To Repotting Succulents you might find helpful.

Close up of a string of bananas houseplant you can see a couple of roots on the stems.
Looking closely, you can see tiny roots forming off a few of the mature stems. They practically propagate themselves!

String Of Bananas Propagation

It’s fast and easy to propagate a String of Bananas by stem cuttings. I won’t go into detail about this here because a post and video are dedicated to propagating this plant below.

More on Propagating A String Of Bananas here.

String Of Bananas Pests

Mine has never gotten any infestations, but they can be susceptible to spider mites, aphids, mealybugs, and scale insects. Be sure to click on the links below so you can identify them and see the methods of control.

More info on these pests and how to control them: Get Rid Of Aphids, Mealybugs On Plants, Spider Mites, and Scale.

String Of Bananas Toxicity 

I’m not 100% sure of this because String Of Bananas isn’t on the ASPCA list. Because they’re related to String Of Pearls which are considered toxic, I’d say this one is too. 

If your pets are prone to chewing on plants, keep them out of their reach. It’s easy to do with this plant because you can hang it or place it on a bookcase or shelf.

String of Bananas in a hanging basket in bloom, plant has dozens of String Of Bananas white flowers.
The puffy flowers of a String Of Bananas. Mine growing outdoors flowers every winter. They have a sweet, spicy fragrance.

String Of Bananas Flowers

Yes, it flowers! The white flowers are borne on long stems which curve slightly upwards. They aren’t as fragrant as the String Of Pearls flowers but are pretty nonetheless. The bloom time here in winter, as it is for many succulents. The shorter days and cooler evenings play into this.

My String Of Bananas never flowered indoors, but it does every year outdoors.

String of Bananas Outdoors

If you live in a cold climate, your String of Bananas would greatly appreciate a summer vacation in the great outdoors. Everything I’ve written above applies except for  three things I want to point out:

1.) Make sure it doesn’t get any strong, direct sun. The full sun will burn in no time flat, so partial shade is best.

2.) If you get a lot of rain over the summer months, you might consider placing yours under protection. A covered patio or screened porch would be fine. If a String Of Bananas gets too wet and doesn’t dry out, it’s subject to rot, and the stems and bananas (the leaves) will turn to mush.

3.) When you bring your SOBs back inside for the cold months, give it a good hosing down (gently – not like a firehose blast) to knock off any hitchhiking pests and/or their eggs.

Close up of the long, thick trails of a string of bananas succulent the text text reads what you need to know about growing a string of bananas houseplant joyusgarden.com.

I’ve grown this plant indoors and outdoors. Get tips on Growing A String Of Bananas Outdoors here.

String Of Bananas Video Guide

String Of Bananas FAQs

Does String Of Bananas need direct sunlight?

When growing indoors, Sting Of Bananas needs a medium to high exposure. Bright indirect light is best. Too much direct sun will cause sunburn, so keep it out of hot windows.

Why is my String Of Bananas plant not growing?

If yours isn’t growing, the most likely cause is insufficient light. It probably needs to be moved to a place in your home with higher light exposure. If the temps are too cool, plants don’t grow as much. Warm weather and higher temps stimulate growth.

Is String Of Bananas hard to care for?

If in the right conditions, a String Of Bananas plant is an easy-to-care-for hanging succulent. 

What window should String Of Bananas be in?

Keep your plant out of hot windows or cold windows. It can be near but not in a west-facing or south-facing window.

Is String Of Bananas an indoor or outdoor plant?

It can be grown indoors or outdoors year-round in a temperate climate. When growing outdoors, be sure it doesn’t get any strong, direct sun exposure.

What is a fun fact about String Of Bananas?

A String Of Bananas can grow to great lengths. I saw one growing in San Diego with 7′ trails. 
Also, many people don’t know this plant flowers.

What is the difference between a String Of Pearls and a String of Bananas?

String Of Pearls is a darling of houseplant lovers. Both have the same genus (Curio, formerly Senecio), but a SOPs has thinner stems. The SOPs have round leaves, whereas the SOBs have banana-shaped leaves. Other similar succulents include String Of Fishhooks, String Of Dolphins, String Of Hearts, and String Of Turtles. This post on Growing A String Of Pearls Indoors will give you an idea of what one looks like.

Conclusion: These are the 2 of the most common issues people have with String of Bananas care indoors – not enough light and overwatering. Either of these or especially a combo, will lead to the decline of your beautiful hanging succulent.

If you can’t find a String Of Bananas for sale locally, check out the growers/sellers on Etsy

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance and visually stunning plant to add life to your space, look no further than a String Of Bananas! With its unique cascading trails and funky banana-shaped leaves, this little gem will surely be a conversation starter.

Note: This post was published on 5/29/2018. It was updated on 7/4/2023.

Happy gardening,

Signed by Nell Foster

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13 Comments

  1. I have one indoors currently and it has four flowers, they haven’t bloomed yet but are close

  2. Mine is strictly indoors and is a prolific grower and flowerer. Just like the string of pearls, the little white flowers smell like cinnamon!

  3. I live in a dry climate and with my first SOB, the “bananas” grew thinner and thinner. I just bought a second one and would like to keep it as healthy as possible. Any tips on keeping the bananas full size?

  4. Hi – I live in the desert & my SOBs grows outside. If the bananas get thin, it’s usually due to a lack of light or lack of water. Nell

  5. I just got my string of bananas & I left a regular light on, and the top my bananas, the new growth look like it was burnt ?.
    Help will it come back ??

  6. I found my String of Bananas at my local farmer’s market. I never heard of them before but I thought they were so cute! My SOBs were in a hanging basket under my tree. It didn’t get a lot of direct sunlight so it did really well there. We also didn’t get very much rain this summer. Now its inside and the bananas are shriveling. I read from your post to not put it above a register vent. Well that’s where I put it. So I moved it to a different room. I hope it has enough light and hopefully it was the register!

  7. Yes, it’ best to keep it away from any heating or cooling vents. Shriveling bananas are commonly due to lack of water at some point. Now that we’re going into winter, be sure not to water it too often. The balance between too little & too much water is often hard to balance out! Nell

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