Senecio radicans, also known as Curio radicans, fishhook plant, or the string of banana plant, is another very common houseplant that looks good in any house or office space. It has relatively large leaves that are glossy and dark green, as well as white or yellow flowers that bloom in the spring.
The plant will grow in most climates and does not require much attention during the winter months, making it perfect for people who don’t have time to care for plants regularly but still want something beautiful and green to add to their living space.
String of banana plant grows in shallow water with its roots growing on the surface of the water and its leaves floating on top. This plant is found in the southeast region of North America, but can also be found in parts of China, Japan, Korea, and Russia.
The plant gets its name from the long, upright growing roots that form strings as they grow along the surface of the water. These roots can grow up to three feet long, making them easy to spot while searching through shallow waters in nature or while boating down waterways and rivers.
Senecio radicans can be grown as an indoor or outdoor houseplant or perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 11. The string of banana plant grows from 2 to 4 feet tall and needs at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.
Origin and distribution
This plant is native to tropical regions of Asia and Africa, where it is found in swampy areas. It has also been introduced to Mexico, Australia, Central America, and the Caribbean.
The plant’s ability to adapt to various environments helps explain its worldwide distribution. Senecio radicans can grow in wet, damp soil or dry soil with poor drainage. It tolerates wide ranges of temperatures from -3°C to 42°C (27°F to 107°F).
These adaptations make Curio radicans an invasive species that compete for light and nutrients with other plants growing nearby. One plant will take over a yard or field if left unchecked.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to get rid of this pesky weed because you have to dig up the entire root system. If you miss just one root, the plant will continue to grow back.
Senecio radicans propagation
Senecio radicans can be propagated by root division or stem cuttings taken from the plant in spring or summer when it starts new growth after the plant blooms in spring to summer depending on the climate in which it’s grown.
Divide rhizomes when they have 2 or 3 shoots in autumn, with 2 years being a good time to do so. Use a sharp spade to cut pieces of rhizome between 5 and 15cm long; remove any side shoots and replant them immediately, leaving about 10cm of rhizome attached to each shoot.
Replant into humus-rich soil in partial shade and water well. Give plenty of room for the plant to grow. Provide extra watering during dry periods. Protect from slugs and snails.
Repot in late winter every two years. Ensure that plants are kept moist at all times as this species is very sensitive to dehydration.
Senecio radicans care information
Senecio radicans is very easy to care for and all you need to do is give it indirect sunlight, lots of water, occasional fertilizer, and high humidity if you live in a dry climate.
If you’re growing senecio in containers or planters, make sure they have good drainage so that excess water doesn’t collect in them and cause fungal infections to form.
The String of Bannana plant grows best in a well-lit location. It would also be best to keep an eye on it because if you do not keep it well lit for about ten days, it will start turning white.
You should move it to a brighter area if that happens. If your String of Bannana is receiving more light than desired then you should place something dark around the base of its leaves so that they do not burn and turn brown.
You want a potting mix that will drain well and retain enough moisture. A healthy plant is also a happy plant, so don’t make it sit in water, which is just bad for its health.
Look for something that doesn’t compact over time, like vermiculite. An old garden of newspaper or leaves can work too. Just be sure to poke some holes in the bottom of the container before you put your soil into it to allow for drainage.
During hot, dry weather, water your Senecio radicans every three days. Make sure to leave at least one inch of space between your soil and water container to allow for proper drainage.
Your soil should feel moist when you poke it with your finger but not saturated or soggy.
If the top layer of dirt is beginning to crust over, water it. You can also test by poking a finger into the dirt or just touch the surface if there is still moisture present.
The string of banana plant is not a fussy eater and will take whatever fertilizers you give it. Be sure to water in your fertilizer well; Senecio radicans cannot tell when its rootball is full and will happily take on more nutrients than it can use.
If you have too much fertilizer, they often develop dark, coarse leaves. Regular deadheading will keep the plants looking nice for longer. The plants are also very drought tolerant once established, so be careful with how much water you provide them with.
When grown as an annual from seed, the string of banana plant has the potential to reach heights up to six feet tall!
Senecio radicans need warm temperatures to thrive. The ideal temperature range is between 65 and 75 degrees F, although it can withstand temperatures between 45 and 90 degrees F if it’s well-established. The String of Bananas plants will not survive temperatures below 45 degrees F, nor will they do well when exposed to nighttime frost.
Most people fail when trying to grow a String of Banana plants because they can’t keep them humid enough. They must have high humidity, or they will die. If you grow the string of Banana plants in a pot, make sure it is sitting on a tray of pebbles. The tray should be filled with water so that water drains into it as pebbles are soaked up by the plant’s root system.
The ideal humidity range for Senecio radicans is between 40% and 60%. You can also try misting the leaves every day to maintain the right amount of moisture in the air.
Controlling your plant’s size is essential if you want to keep it healthy. Pruning or pinching back when young will encourage branching, while pruning of branches as it ages will help prevent your plant from becoming too unruly.
Prune out any dead, diseased, or damaged stems, and always make sure your plant has plenty of space to grow without being crowded by other plants. This may mean that you need to move some plants elsewhere in order to accommodate its growth.
If you’re trying to protect a succulent from frost, do not let the plant’s foliage touch the ground because this can lead to rot. If there are no frost warnings in the forecast then don’t be afraid to expose them to chilly air for short periods.
When to repot
The best time to repot Senecio radicans is when its roots have filled their container. This can be in as little as a year for slow-growing plants, or 3 years for fast-growing ones. If your string of banana plant leaves are turning yellow and falling off, it’s growing too quickly and you should consider repotting it every few months to keep it from getting rootbound.
Senecio radicans prefers soil that’s well-drained with compost mixed in. You’ll want to mix some organic material into the top layer of soil before you put the plant back into the pot so that the moisture stays near the roots and doesn’t just sit on top of the soil.
It will also make your watering easier because the water will drain down instead of sitting on top of wet soil.
Senecio radicans is not an annual plant, but a perennial. It will spend its winter in a dormancy stage until early spring when it starts to grow again. During the dormancy period, it is important to keep its roots moist and cool by storing them in a bag of sand or simply allowing them to stay beneath larger potted plants such as ferns or palms.
Be sure that you don’t let the soil dry out completely because it will become crispy and inedible. You can also provide some protection from frost by covering the crown with mulch or straw.
When bringing it back into your home for the summer months be sure to remove any dead leaves and stems before replanting.
Senecio radicans flower & fragrance
The flowers of Senecio Radicans have a gentle spicy fragrance and are valued in bouquets. The scent is said to have a calming effect, which makes it popular for aromatherapy use.
They are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use in warm climates and they grow well in containers. In colder areas, they can be grown under glass, preferably near a sunny window or conservatory but if necessary they can be grown indoors under lights.
Senecio radicans, or string of banana plant, is a fast-growing annual, flowering from May to October. It grows about 1 foot tall and can grow up to 4 to 6 feet long, producing masses of tiny yellow flowers with orange centers. Its blue-green leaves are large and elliptical in shape.
The plant produces a long string of ripening fruits that eventually turn brown and split open to reveal clusters of black seeds.
This plant is toxic if ingested. Children and pets should be kept away from it. If it is ingested, vomiting may help, though medical assistance should be obtained as soon as possible.
The effects of ingesting any part of Senecio radicans last at least 10 days. Symptoms include burning in the throat and mouth, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and fever.
USDA hardiness zones
Senecio radicans thrives in USDA hardiness zones 8-11, and can be grown outdoors in other areas of the country. The String of Bananas plant is an upright perennial that bears a cascading effect of banana-like leaves. It grows 2 to 3 feet tall and spreads 1 to 2 feet wide. The plant prefers moist soil but tolerates drought.
Pests and diseases
It’s important to take preventative measures for plant diseases and pests in order to keep your plant healthy. Senecio radicans is prone to a few main diseases, but most can be avoided with proper care and environmental conditions.
Some examples of common diseases include crown rot, anthracnose, Cercospora leaf spot, black spot fungus, and brown patch. The best way to avoid these problems is through good sanitation practices such as removing dead leaves and other debris from around your plants.