It’s time to add some texture and exotic flair to your cozy corner of potted plants. However, the succulent string family can be somewhat confusing as they have slightly different names, but they resemble each other to the beginner.
A string of bananas and a string of fish hooks are from the same genus, Senecio radicans, a synonym of Curio radicans. They have common traits but are differentiated by the color and size of their leaves. The string of fish hooks has a longer curved leaf characterized by a bluish-green color.
Both of these succulents are a mesmerizing and beautiful addition to your collection, becoming a talking point at any gathering, but you need to know the differences and similarities to have bragging rights about the characters that each possesses.
The Differences Between String Of Banana & Fish Hooks
Although, to the untrained eye, there are very few differences between the string of bananas and the string of fish hooks, there are two distinct differences that, once pointed out or compared side by side, will allow you to easily identify these plants in the future.
Both are a form of green; the string of banana is a bright, vivid green with two translucent stripes on either side to allow extra light to be absorbed.
Whereas the string of fish hooks can be described as bluish-green, some have also described the color as bluish-grey.
Another distinct difference that can help you tell these two plants apart is the leaf size and shape. The string of banana has cylindrical shaped foliage that tapers into a point resembling the shape and curve of its namesake, the banana, which grows about two to three centimeters long.
The string of fish hooks has thicker and longer succulent foliage than that of its cousin, also curving into a tapered point, but the fish hook foliage has a much deeper curve resembling that of a fishhook.
The Similarities Between String Of Banana And Fish Hooks
Curio radicans are both succulents native to Southern Africa, both forms falling into the family Asteraceae; they bare the same genus name as they are very similar to one another, and the care requirements are the same.
Now that you can differentiate them by their color and foliage size, it’s time to understand how both the string of banana and the fish hooks Senecio compare to one another and how you can take care of them, growing them into luscious exotic hanging plants.
Both are native to Southern Africa, which is often seen as a ground cover that interlaces to form a complex carpet of green succulent plants.
This now trendy little plant is a focal point in homes both inside and out as they cascade out of hanging pot plants like tresses of woven vines or a waterfall down the side of a bookshelf that adds a trace of beauty and intrigue to your room.
Botanists have classified both of these plants as drought tolerant, making them easy plants to take care of. They need minimal water, and the soil should be let to dry out between watering to avoid overwatering issues for the plant.
Neither of these plants fares well in frost conditions and extremely cold temperatures; that’s why they make fantastic house companions in areas that experience harsh winters.
During summer, you can water them between one to two times a week, depending on the humidity and the temperatures. The finger test is always the easiest to determine if water is needed or not.
Push your finger deep into the ground and feel for moisture; if the ground is still damp, wait another day before watering the plant. If you feel the soil is dry, water the plant from above, allowing the water to filter through good draining soil.
Once temperatures cool down, reduce your watering frequency to once every two to three weeks. Remember that this all depends on the temperatures in your home and how dry it is.
As both these plants are used to the arid conditions of South Africa, they are hardy plants that will enjoy temperate conditions ranging between seventy and eighty degrees Fahrenheit but can tolerate temperatures that reach 110 degrees Fahrenheit as they would find themselves during the summer months in Southern Africa.
Both enjoy brightly lit placements in indirect sunlight indoors with at least six hours of morning rays to invigorate their growth. Outdoors they enjoy shaded to partly shaded areas, which is why they make a great ground cover under other shrubs and plants.
Again, both these plants are similar in the fact that they require very little fertilizer, but if you have the urge to give it an extra boost, sprinkling worm castings on top of the soil are recommended, or if you prefer, you can use a few drops of liquid fertilizer on top of the soil before watering the plant.
However, do not fertilize these plants in the winter and put off any nutrition until summer.
Another common aspect that both the plants share is how long they can grow, but pruning is both beneficial and important for the plant. Trailing on the floor could damage the plant from movement on the ground or give toddlers and pets a reason to eat the succulent leave, which by the way, are both mildly toxic to humans and pets if ingested.
Once your string of bananas or fish hook Senecio starts growing, you will understand the reason for pruning. Pruning allows the plant to have a growth spurt and encourages the pruned end to create two new trails. This allows these plants to grow bushier as well.
As these plants fall under the same genus, they both exhibit a small delicate white or off-white flower at the end of winter and the beginning of spring that smells of cinnamon. A small pod of a cluster of tubular petals is why these plants are classified in the Asteraceae family.
Although these flowers are pretty and delicate and smell of cinnamon sweets, they do not compare to the beauty of the foliage that these plants are better known for.
Pests And Diseases
Both of these plants share a common pest, the mealy bug! But there are very few reports of this pest infesting these plants, and if you see the small specs of white cotton, then simply rinse your plant off under tap water to remove the pest.
Once again, being part of the same genus makes both these succulents easy plants to propagate. From one plant, you could make yourself a forest of cascading strings and vines.
When Pruning your plant, use the cuttings, remove one or two leaves, place the cut end into a jar of water or directly into the ground, and allow the roots to form.
Once you see about one inch of root growth in the glass of water, you can remove it from the water, plant it into some well-draining cactus soil, and watch it grow into another pot of tresses.
The difference between the succulent plants, string of bananas, and string of fish hooks, is minimal apart from the size of the foliage and the coloration between the green string of banana and the bluish-green hues of the fish hooks, they are very similar in all other aspects, but both will make a focal talking point in its environment and bring you an abundance of joy as you care for these plants.
String of Bananas by Mharz Allego Hunt (FB)
String of Fish Hooks by Rumana Faruque (FB)