How to Grow and Care for a String of Bananas or Fish Hook Plant

Hi Judy, my son has a potted succulentLearn the definition of a succulent plant and why they are called a "fat plant." (at least we think it is), which was doing great and suddenly seems to be getting sick. Perhaps we have misidentified the plant and are caring for it incorrectly. Thanks for any advice you have!

Hi Mark,

Your son’s plant is a succulentLearn the definition of a succulent plant and why they are called a "fat plant." called “String of Bananas” or Fish Hook plant (Senecio radicans).” This is a hanging succulent plantLearn the definition of a succulent plant and why they are called a "fat plant." with plump leaves that resemble bananas or fishhooks.

Here are some care tips to help him grow the plant.

Water: Water well, until the water comes out the drip holes in the bottom of the pot. There must be drip holes so the excess water can drain out. Never allow the plant to sit in the excess water. Do not water again until the soil has practically dried out.

Light: bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light. from a west or south facing window is best. Morning sun is great, but avoid afternoon sun or the leaves will be damaged.

fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small.: A String of Pearls needs little or no fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small.. Feed once in the spring and once in the summer with a liquid, balanced plant food diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength. Too much plant food is worse than too little.

Temperature: A String of Bananas likes mild temperatures between 45°F (7.2°C) and 70°F (21.1°C). If you have it hanging outside in the spring and summer, be sure to bring it indoors before the night time temperatures get too cold.

Soil: Use a cactus or succulentLearn the definition of a succulent plant and why they are called a "fat plant." soil mix that drains quickly.

Resting period: This plant goes dormant and rests in the winter; during that time a String of Pearls plant needs even less water and absolutely no plant food.

propagationLearn how to propagate plants by plant division at https://www.houseplant411.com/glossary: You can easily start new plants from stem tip cuttings; only use cuttings from healthy stems. You can read more about propagationLearn how to propagate plants by plant division at https://www.houseplant411.com/glossary techniques in the Glossary of the website.

poisonousPlants are a great addition to homes and offices, but it’s important to know whether your plants are dangerous to children, pets, or even adults. Some plants contain chemicals such as oxalates, solanine, glycosides, or alkaloid lycorine that may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, swelling and redness of the mouth, throat, and lips, and trouble breathing. Touching parts of certain plants, especially the sap, may cause various skin irritations. The weight and age of the human or pet involved, and the part and amount of plant eaten determine how severe the reaction to the toxins will be. Although plants may be listed as non-toxic, they can still cause individual allergic reactions. If there is any question after a houseplant has been ingested or touched, immediately call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222.  More poisonous houseplant information and pictures of common plants that are dangerous to children and pets can be found in my book Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants Plant Info: Although there is not much formal information about the toxicity of this plant, it is known that it’s close relative the String of Pearls is poisonousPlants are a great addition to homes and offices, but it’s important to know whether your plants are dangerous to children, pets, or even adults. Some plants contain chemicals such as oxalates, solanine, glycosides, or alkaloid lycorine that may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, swelling and redness of the mouth, throat, and lips, and trouble breathing. Touching parts of certain plants, especially the sap, may cause various skin irritations. The weight and age of the human or pet involved, and the part and amount of plant eaten determine how severe the reaction to the toxins will be. Although plants may be listed as non-toxic, they can still cause individual allergic reactions. If there is any question after a houseplant has been ingested or touched, immediately call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222.  More poisonous houseplant information and pictures of common plants that are dangerous to children and pets can be found in my book Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants. I would err on the side of caution and keep a String of bananas away from small children and pets