Senecio radicans-String of Bananas

Senecio radicans on 9-22-11, #80-20.

String of Bananas, etc.

Senecio radicans

sen-ek-ee-o   RAD-ee-kans

Senecio radicans (L.f.) Sch.Bip. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Senecio. It was described by Carl (Karl) Heinrich ‘Bipontinus’ Schultz in Flora in 1845. It was first named Cacalia radicans by Carl von Linnaeus the Younger and described in Supplementum Plantarum in 1782. Carl von Linnaeus the Younger was the son of Carl von Linnaeus.

If I remember correctly, my good friend from Mississippi, Kyle Hall, was with me plant shopping at Lowe’s sometime in 2011 or even earlier. I think he bought this plant then later gave it to me. Anyway, all I can say is that it was weird. 

I always kept it hanging in the Crape Myrtle tree behind the den because this plant likes filtered light. One time I checked the soil and it was as hard as a brick. An attempt to repot this plant was a complete disaster. I finally took it out to the clothes line and hung every piece across the wires. Then, one by one, I attempted to put every stem back in the pot. Well, that was very difficult because this plant has WEIRD roots! I finally got it done and it was OK for a while.

The other problem was the seed pods from the Crape Myrtle fell into the pot. One day a squirrel jumped in the pot and all the stems of this plant wound up on the ground. Then I had to put the plants back in the pot AGAIN! That wasn’t a problem when the potting was hard. I never understood how the soil became so hard…

The other thing I didn’t like about this plant was how the leaves fell off the older part of the stem. It left about 2 feet of bare stem and maybe a foot with leaves. 

Family: Asteraceae
Origin: Africa
Zones: USDA Zones 10a-11 (30 to 40° F)
Size: Hmmm…
Light: Light Shade
Soil: Well-draining potting mix amended with extra grit and pumice or perlite.
Water: Average. Water when soil is dry on top. Soil should not completely dry out but not wet.

The Senecio radicans has leaves that are supposedly transparent that allows light to shine through them. They are fairly fast growing and their stems (vines) can reach at least 36” long. They produce tiny white, yellow or lavender flowers during the fall and winter months.

Some people mistake this plant for the String Pearls which is the Senecio rowleyanus. Many websites list it as one of the common names of Senecio radicans.

Although websites say the plant is easily propagated by stem cuttings, I never had much luck with that.

Information also says the Senecio radicans goes through it’s dormancy during the winter but my dormancy table says they are summer dormant. How can they flower during the winter if they are dormant? Anyway, whether they are summer or winter dormant, most succulents rest somewhat in both seasons. If they are summer dormant, they also rest during the winter. If they are winter dormant, they also have a rest period in the middle of the summer. They do most of their growing in the spring and fall.

I mentioned above that the Senecio radicans in my care lost most of its upper leaves. There are many really nice looking, fully leaved plants online. 

Maybe someday, in better conditions, I will give this plant another shot. Maybe in the Philippines. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.


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