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What Is String of Bananas Plant?
Contrary to its name, string of bananas (Curio radicans) is not a fruit, but a succulent vine plant with banana-shaped leaves. This South-African native plant is part of the Asteraceae family, and it features small, white flowers that bloom in early spring.
String of Bananas vs. String of Pearls: What’s the Difference?
String of bananas and string of pearls (Curio rowleyanus) are both trailing succulents that can be grown with other drought-tolerant plants such as sedum, echeveria, and crassula to create a succulent garden. The key difference between the two plants is that string of bananas features oblong leaves, and string of pearls has pea-shaped leaves.
How to Grow and Care for String of Bananas
String of bananas, typically sold potted in planters, is perfect for growing in a hanging basket indoors or in a garden as groundcover. Follow these tips to grow string of bananas:
- String of bananas do best in porous, well-draining soil. You can grow this plant in cactus potting soil with perlite for drainage. Add compost if the soil needs nutrients.
- Wait until the soil is dried out before watering. This succulent can tolerate drought. Wait until the soil is dried out before watering—about once a week in the spring and summer, and approximately every two weeks in the fall and winter when the plant is dormant. If growing string of bananas in a pot, make sure the pot has drainage holes, and be careful not to overwater, which can lead to root rot.
- Choose a location with bright, indirect light. Place the string of bananas near a sunny window indoors. If you're planting outside, make sure the plant can receive both morning sunlight and afternoon shade. Direct sunlight will burn the leaves. Sparse foliage is a sign that your plant is not getting enough light, and if the leaves have brown tips, it's getting too much direct sun.
- String of bananas thrives in warm weather. String of bananas can handle temperatures up to 110 degrees. If you live in a place where it gets below 30 degrees Fahrenheit outside, move your plant indoors for the winter.
- Use string to support trailing vines. String of bananas is fast-growing and tends to trail. Use a growing string to give the vines—which can grow up to three feet long—something to hang onto.
- Prune the plant to encourage growth. You can prune the plant if you want to encourage more growth. Snipping a string of bananas halfway down the vine will result in two new vines growing from the cut.
How to Propagate String of Bananas
String of bananas plants can be easily propagated. Follow these steps to propagate your string of bananas from cuttings:
- Cut: Cut a vine off two inches above the stem.
- Prune: Remove the lower leaves around the cut end.
- Dry: Dry out the cutting until it forms a callus, about three to seven days.
- Replant: Replant the cutting in a well-draining pot with cactus or succulent mix soil.
- Water: Keep the soil damp until new growth occurs and the new plant has roots, then wait until the soil is dried out between waterings.
Is String of Bananas Plant Toxic?
If ingested, string of bananas is toxic to cats and dogs and mildly toxic to humans. The sap of the plant can also lead to dermatitis. Keep your hanging succulent out of reach of pets and small children. If a pet or child experiences symptoms like vomiting, skin irritation, or diarrhea after consuming part of a string of bananas plant, contact a medical professional.
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