string of bananas plant

String of Bananas (Senecio Radicans): How to Grow It From Scratch?

This is a vining succulent plant from South Africa. Its care requirements are simple which makes this a plant that any gardener, whether novice or expert, will enjoy growing.

How to Identify String of Bananas

String of Bananas

The key identifier of this succulent is the tiny green pods growing on its long vines. These pods are shaped like miniature bananas.

How to Grow String of Bananas from Seed

gardener's seed starting mix


This is not an easy plant to grow from seed. It takes anywhere between a few weeks and three months to see any progress and the effort doesn’t always produce a plant. The best method for attempting to grow a String of Bananas from seed is as follows:

  1. Purchase seeds from a quality seller
  2. Select a potting soil designed for succulent seeds
  3. Fill a seed tray with the potting soil
  4. Plant the seeds in the seed tray
  5. Set the seed tray in water so that it will soak up water from the bottom
  6. Set the seed tray in a spot that is warm and has access to indirect sunlight
  7. Cover the seed tray with plastic wrap to maintain humidity
  8. Check the soil regularly to make sure it is moist but not soggy
  9. Once tiny sprouts appear above the soil, move the plants to a larger container

How to Propagate String of Bananas

This plant is easy to grow from stem cuttings.  Simply follow these steps:

  1.  Use a clean cutting utensil to cut a healthy stem from a plant
  2. Allow the stem to dry out and callous
  3. Put succulent potting soil in a plant container with good drainage
  4. Set the cutting on top of the soil
  5. Water the soil
  6. Set the plant container in a warm and sunny area

The string of Bananas Growing Conditions

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

This plant requires warm and arid conditions to thrive. When kept indoors it should be provided with plenty of sunlight and dry heat. When kept outdoors it should not be planted in the ground unless it is in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 to 12; otherwise, it should be planted in a container that can be brought indoors during cold or wet weather.

How to Plant String of Bananas

This plant grows moderately fast so it may need to be repotted every other year.  Repotting will provide the added benefit of new, fresh soil.  The steps for repotting String of Bananas are:

  1. Plan to report String of Bananas in early Spring
  2. Fill a new container that is two inches larger than its previous container with potting soil
  3. Create a hole in the soil for the plant to set inside
  4. Carefully remove the plant from its current container
  5. Gently dust off any excess soil from its roots
  6. Set the plant into the hole in the new container
  7. Spread the soil around so that the plant is secure in its new container
  8. Water the plant
  9. Set it in a warm spot with indirect sunlight

The string of Bananas Potting & Soil

Hoffman 10404 Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix

This plant requires soil that is well-draining and has a pH level ranging between 6.6 and 7.5. An organic succulent/cactus potting soil mix will work well for a String of Bananas.

The string of Bananas Water Requirements

Since String of Bananas is a succulent plant, it is highly susceptible to root rot from overwatering. It is best to err on the side of underwatering it to prevent the plant from rotting out. A great way to prevent overwatering is to use a plant watering app.

When it comes time to water a String of Bananas plant, use the soak and dry method. The steps for doing this are as follows:

  1. Test the soil moisture level before giving it a drink.  If the top two inches of its soil is dry, it can use a drink, if however, the top two inches are still moist, it does not need any more water.
  2. If the plant needs a drink, fill a tray with a few inches of distilled water or rainwater.
  3. Set the plant container in the tray of water.
  4. Let the plant soak in the water for fifteen minutes.  The roots will soak up water from the bottom of the container.
  5. Take the plant container out of the water.
  6. Allow the excess water to drain from the holes in the bottom of the plant container.

The string of Bananas Light Requirements

Grow Lights

This plant needs at least six hours of bright, direct sunlight every day. If this unavailable, String of Bananas can be placed under grow lights to make up for the lack of available sunlight.

Best String of Bananas Fertilizer

Most succulents do not require much if any fertilizer and the String of Bananas is no different. If it is necessary to give this plant a feeding, it should only be done during spring and summer and the fertilizer should include either worm compost, liquid kelp, or fish emulsion.

Best String of Bananas Companion Plantings

Since this is a vining succulent, it is typically placed in a hanging plant container away from other plants. This, along with its need for a warm, arid environment can make it a little more complicated to decide what types of plants should be set next to it. There are three things to consider when determining which plants to use as a companion planting.

  1. Aesthetics – do the plants complement each other’s looks?
  2. Environment – do the plants need the same growing environment (climate)?
  3. Care Requirements – do the plants require the same type of care?

The following three plants are all positive companion plants for String of Bananas. Each one will complement the look of a String of Bananas plant and each one requires a similar environment and care needs as a String of Bananas plant.

Baby Rubber Plant

Baby Rubber Plant

This is a versatile plant that is hardy and easy to care for. While it isn’t a succulent plant, it does have some qualities that are more succulent-like. This makes it a great option for a companion plant for a String of Bananas.

Light Requirements

Baby Rubber Plant grows best in bright, indirect sunlight, but it can adapt to low light if necessary.

Soil Requirements

Baby Rubber Plant requires soil that is well-draining and well aerated. It is best to use a soil mix that contains two parts peat and one part perlite or sand.

Water Requirements

Baby Rubber Plant has the ability to store water in its leaves so it does not need as much water as other types of tropical plants. It should only be watered when the top two inches of its soil is dry and it should be watered in the soak and dry method.


  • It is easy to care for
  • It is a unique-looking plant
  • It is not toxic
  • It can be planted in water for short periods of time


  • It is susceptible to root rot
  • It is susceptible to infestations of mealybugs and spider mites

Burro’s Tail

Burro’s Tail

This is another vining succulent. It will look wonderful in a hanging plant container with a String of Bananas and because it is a succulent plant, it will require the same type of care as its companion.

Light Requirements

Burro’s Tail pods are sensitive and can get burnt when exposed to a lot of direct sunlight, it is best to set this plant in a spot that gets bright but indirect sunlight or partial sunlight.

Soil Requirements

Burro’s Tail needs soil that drains well.  If set in a plant container, a cactus/succulent potting mix is ideal.

Water Requirements

Burro’s Tail should be watered only once a month.  It should be watered in the soak and dry method to prevent its roots from getting oversaturated and then rotting away.


  • It is not toxic
  • It has many of the same care requirements as String of Bananas
  • It is easy to prune


  • It is susceptible to infestations of aphids

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

This is a succulent that is so easy to grow indoors. It also provides healthy and natural skin and hair care. Aloe Vera is a great plant on its own but it will also look wonderful in a plant container with a String of Bananas.

Light Requirements

Aloe Vera plants should be set in a place that receives plenty of bright light. If kept indoors, the plant container should be rotated twice a year to ensure that every side of the plant is receiving adequate amounts of sunlight.

Soil Requirements

Aloe Vera requires soil that is well-draining and has aeration. A regular succulent/cactus potting soil mix will be fine for these plants.

Water Requirements

Aloe Vera will handle drought conditions far better than wet conditions. It should not be allowed to sit in soggy soil, so it is best to wait until the soil has dried completely before watering it. It should be watered in the soak and dry method.


  • It is easy to propagate via pups
  • It is easy to transplant
  • It produces a natural skincare product


  • It is susceptible to infestations of aphids, mealybugs, and aloe mites
  • It is susceptible to root rot from overwatering
  • It is susceptible to stress from too much sun and too little water

The string of Bananas Diseases and Common Problems


While this plant is hardy and easy to care for, it is susceptible to a few types of infestations and diseases.  The most common problems it faces are:


Evidence of this type of infestation is tiny insects that are shaped like a teardrop.


Evidence of an infestation of mealybugs is small white spots that look like cotton on leaves and stems.

Root Rot

Evidence of this problem is pods that have turned yellow, mushy, or have wilted. The plant may also smell rotten.

Scale Bugs

Evidence of this problem is round lumps on the plant’s leaves and stems.  These lumps are usually small, round, and brown in color.

Spider Mites

Evidence of a spider mite infestation will show up as webbing on the leaves and stems.

The string of Bananas Treatments and Maintenance

String of Banana Plant

The best cure for the problems faced by String of Bananas plants is to prevent the problems in the first place. Take time to learn how to properly water this plant so that root rot doesn’t occur and set time aside to clean and examine the plant regularly to prevent pest infestations.

When a String of Bananas is dealing with one of its common problems, it is best to act quickly to save the plant and prevent nearby plants from being infected as well. These are the steps to treat the most common problems faced by String of Bananas.



To deal with an infestation of aphids, follow these steps:

  1. Spray the plant with a mixture of neem oil and soapy water
  2. Wipe down the leaves of the plant
  3. Apply neem oil to the leaves to prevent another infestation


To deal with an infestation of mealybugs, follow these steps:

  1. Spray a solution of alcohol and water on the leaves
  2. Rub the leaves with a cotton ball
  3. Coat the leaves in neem oil or insecticidal soap every few days

Root Rot

To treat this problem, let the soil dry out completely and set the plant in a place where it will get plenty of airflow.  If it is still struggling with too much water in its container, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the plant from its current container
  2. Trim away rotten roots with a clean cutting utensil
  3. Allow the plant’s roots to callous
  4. Add sulfur to the root system
  5. Repot the plant in new potting soil and a clean container

Scale Bugs

To deal with an infestation of scale bugs, follow these steps:

  1. Spray them off with a hose
  2. Wipe the remainder off with neem oil and a cloth
  3. Prevent them from returning by coating the leaves with neem oil regularly

Spider Mites

spider mites

To treat this type of infestation, follow these steps:

  1. Fill a spray bottle with a quart of warm water, 1 tsp. of dish soap, and 2 tsp. Of neem oil
  2. Spray and wipe the leaves and stems of the plant clean
  3. Repeat as necessary

Where to Buy String of Bananas Seeds Online

Since this plant is more commonly grown from stem cuttings, it is difficult to acquire seeds; however, this online store does offer them.

Where to Buy Mature String of Bananas Online

The plants can be purchased at any of these online stores:


Question: Is String of Bananas Toxic?

Answer: Yes, this plant is toxic. If an animal or a child has consumed one of these, contact a health professional or poison control.
Poison Control Center
Animal Poison Control
Ask a Poison Control Vet

Question: How Large Will String of Bananas Grow?

Answer: The vines of this plant can grow up to 36 inches in length.

Question: Should String of Bananas be Pruned?

Answer: Yes, this plant can be pruned when its vines or pods become dry or unruly. Pruning is also a great time to propagate a new String of Bananas plant.

Concluding Thoughts

The string of Bananas is a wonderfully unique plant that is hassle-free and looks beautiful wherever it is placed.  This is one of those plants that should be in every home or garden.

Research Citations

Joy Us Garden

Succulents HQ

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