Are you looking for a hanging succulent which 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; in my humble opinion anyway. Let me introduce you to or reacquaint you with the String Of Bananas houseplant and how to grow it.
String of Bananas Characteristics
Here’s why I think growing String Of Bananas as a houseplant is easier than its Senecio relative String Of Pearls. The stems are thicker, which makes them less delicate. They grow faster which enables more propagating. The bananas don’t dry out like some of the pearls and their stems tend to. I’ve had readers say that SOBs are much easier for them to keep alive and have had zero luck with String Of Pearls.
String Of Bananas are sold in 3″, 4″ & 6″ pots. The trails on mine are currently 4′ long. Those trails can reach 6′ long. This plant is actually a ground cover when growing in its native environment.
A hanging pot (here’s the hanging pot mine is in – I sprayed it purple) suits this succulent to a tee. It can also be placed in a decorative pot & put atop a bookcase, shelf, ledge, etc so it can hang down & show off those beautiful trails.
My String Of Bananas grows moderate to fast outdoors. It trails down much faster than it spreads. You can expect a moderate growth rate indoors given the plant has enough light.
This trailing succulent needs as much light as you can give it indoors; a medium to high exposure. If it’s in lower light, it won’t grow much if at all.
Just be sure to keep it out of hot, direct sun (especially in the summer months) & make sure it’s not touching any hot glass. Either way, it’ll burn.
If it’s not getting light from all sides, you’ll have to rotate it every 3-6 months so it does.
How to Care for String of Bananas
It’s hard to say exactly because so many factors play into this (you can see what I mean in houseplant watering 101) but every 2-3 weeks is good ballpark. You want to water your String Of Bananas thoroughly & then let dry out before watering again.
Don’t keep it constantly moist but don’t let it go dry for too long. This 1, like all succulents, is subject to root rot.
Here are those cute little banana-shaped leaves.
As I always say: if your home is comfortable for you, then 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.
I don’t fertilize my String Of Bananas houseplant because most succulents don’t need it. Come early spring, I top them with 1/4″ of worm compost & 1/4″ of compost over that. If you go this route, easy does it. Too much of an application of either can burn the roots of a houseplant. Worm compost is my favorite amendment which I use sparingly because it’s rich. Here’s why I like it so much. I’m currently using Worm Gold Plus.
I use Tank’s local compost. Give Dr. Earth’s a try if you can’t find anywhere you live. Both worm compost & compost enrich the soil naturally so the roots are healthy & the plants grow stronger.
Liquid kelp or fish emulsion would work fine too as well as a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer (5-5-5 or lower). Dilute any of these to half strength & apply in spring. If for some reason you think your String Of Bananas needs another application, do it again in summer.
I give most of my houseplants a light application of worm compost with a light layer of compost over that every spring. Easy does it – 1/4 to 1/2? layer of each for a larger sized houseplant. Read about my worm compost/compost feeding right here.
A good, organic succulent & cactus mix is best for this plant. You want it to be light & well drained. I use a local mix which is very chunky too so the water drains right through. It’s the same mix which I use for my succulents growing outdoors.
If you can’t find a mix locally, here’s a mix you can buy online. Succulents need a loose mix so the roots don’t rot. You may want to up the ante on the drainage factor which lessens the chance of rot by adding some pumice or perlite.
This plant is easy to repot because the leaves don’t fall off as readily as other hanging succulents like the String Of Pearls & the Burro’s Tail Sedum. Succulents can stay tight in their pots for a while so don’t think you need to repot this plant every year or 2.
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.
Spring & summer are the best times for repotting succulents.
You can see tiny roots forming off a few of the mature stems. They practically propagate themselves!
It’s fast & easy. I have you covered in this post & video.
My String Of Bananas have never gotten any infestations but they can be susceptible to aphids & mealybugs. Be sure to click on the link so you can identify them & see the methods of control.
This I’m not 100% sure of because SOBs isn’t on the ASPCA list. Because they’re related to String Of Pearls which are considered to be toxic, I’d say this 1 is too. If your pets are prone to chewing on plants, keep it out of their reach. With this plant, it’s easy to do because you can hang it or place it high on a bookcase or shelf.
It does! The white puffy flowers are borne on long stems which curve slightly upwards. They aren’t as fragrant as the String Of Pearls flowers but they’re pretty none the less. The bloom time here is winter as for a lot of succulents. The shorter days & cooler evenings play into this.
My String Of Bananas never flowered indoors but it does outdoors. Please let me know if your plant flowers indoors.
This is what happens when you prune a stem. Multiple stems fork off of it.
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 3 things I want to point out:
Make sure it doesn’t get any strong, direct sun or it’ll burn in no time flat.
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 & doesn’t dry out, it could rot & the stems & bananas (the leaves) will turn to mush.
When you bring your String Of Bananas back inside for the cold months, be sure to give it a good hosing down (gently – not like a firehose blast) to knock off any hitchhiking pests &/or their eggs.
- Not enough light & 2) overwatering. Either of these or especially a combo will lead to the decline of your beautiful hanging succulent.
Here’s another thing I’ve found to be true. In all my succulent shopping expeditions (& there have been a lot of them!) is that String Of Pearls and Burro’s Tail Sedums are more commonly found to be for sale. If you can find a String Of Bananas for sale, buy it. This plant always makes me smile!
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