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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GROWING A STRING OF BANANAS HOUSEPLANT
Bananas are one of the most favoured fruits by most people for the reasons that it is easily accessible, it grows easily, it is affordable, and it tastes delicious! Bananas are also included in a lot of dishes or beverages such as pastries like banana bread and drinks like your daily morning smoothie. Bananas are one of the tastiest fruits and versatile since it can be incorporated in a huge variety of foods and drinks. Besides the fruit having multiple uses, its other parts can also be transformed into something different, too! The leaves are sometimes used for weaving to make fabrics and mats, the stems are also used for other dishes, and the heart is also used for other dishes. Bananas are indeed versatile and have multiple purposes!
But hold up! We are actually not going to talk about the banana you just visualised! This article will be talking about the “string of bananas” houseplant. The reason why it has a name like that is because the leaves possess the features of having a shape that looks like a banana, thus the name. It is a hanging plant and fully green.
Now that you have learned the basic description of the plant, it is time for you to know how to grow and propagate this plant.
Points to Remember Before Growing String of Bananas
- Temperature: String of bananas can withstand a temperature of 30 degrees Celsius but could not go much colder than that. If you live in a region with a temperature lower than 30 degrees Celsius, you can put a towel over the plant from time to time to warm it up or place it inside the house with a heater.
- Exposure to Time: String of Bananas can withstand exposure to sun for about 6 hours
- Geographical Area of Origin: String of Bananas are natives to South Africa.
- Appearance/Morphological Aspects: It is in the colour green, it has a glossy appearance, and has leaves shaped like the banana fruit which grows into long tendrils. This plant is from the family of Asteraceae and these plants are also a type of succulents. These plants could grow to a maximum of 36 inches long.
How to Grow String of Bananas
Now that you finally have the grasp of what a string of banana plants is, it is time to know how you can grow your own stringy plants!
You must know that these plants are usually sold in pots and it is perfect to be situated in a hanging pot indoors or outdoors, hanging or one of the terrain plants for landscaping.
Here are some tips and reminders regarding growing and taking care of your string of bananas plant.
- Porous soil is the best for string of bananas plant. When planting string of bananas, make sure that the soil you will be planting the plant on, ground or potted, is porous, capable of easily draining water, basically a soil that is pretty loose and not that intact. You can make soil porous if you add perlite to and you can also add compost of fertilizers if you think that the soil might need more nutrients. One of the best fertilizers for string of bananas are liquid kelp or fish emulsion. These are liquid fertilizers that are needed to be diluted and applied to the plant during spring. You could also use worm compost or basically worm waste to fertilize your plants.
To have your own worm compost, you can gather some earthworms or mealworms then put them in a container with holes for them to breathe. If you do not have worm feeds, you can always feed the biodegradable wastes or leftovers or rotten food that you have, preferably vegetables you have thrown out. Not only that you will not be wasting food, your waste will be decreased as well and make things organic.
- Do not overwater your plant and wait for the soil to dry before watering again. This kind of plant can withstand drought or hot temperatures since it is from South Africa after all. Which is why if you are growing this type of plant, you do not need to water it vigorously and if you do, just make sure that the soil is already dry. Too much watering of the plant can cause the roots to drown, no intact soil for it to latch onto, and it will also cause the roots to rot thus killing your plant. The amount of watering this plant varies with the season. If it is spring or summer, you can water it for about once or twice a week. As for winter, wherein it can get cold and damp, you can only water the plant once for every two weeks. If you plant it in a pot or hanging pot, make sure that there are holes underneath the pot so that the water could get drained easily.
- Just a little bit of sunlight will do. As you know by now, string of bananas are not that high maintenance and do not need any other special kind of treatment. Just like any other plants, they need sun for photosynthesis as well but string of bananas does not need direct sunlight. If it is indoors, place the plant inside a bright room but not entirely in front of a window where the sun usually shines through. If you are planting it outside, place it along with other plants making sure that it would not be exposed to direct sunlight but not entirely covered by other plants.
- Training the strings of bananas plant. Since the strings of these plants grow in multiple directions, it would look messy but that would be fine! However if you want it to look more kempt, you can always use strings or thin steel wires to help guide the plant to grow in a direction you want it to grow.
Cut some of the strings to promote more growth. Just like hair, cutting or trimming the ends once in a while can promote growth and make hair healthier. String of bananas, if its vines or strings are trimmed, the trimmed part could give rise to newer growth and make it healthier.
- Pest control. String of bananas are susceptible to aphids and mealybugs which is why you must try to find mild insecticides or DIY your own insecticides to get rid of these pests and save your plants. If you are looking for something mild and not chemical pesticides for your string of bananas plant, you can use Neem oil to get rid of the aphids and mealybugs.
How to Propagate Your String of Bananas Plant
Not only that string of bananas are low maintenance, string of bananas also grow easily and are easy to propagate.
In this segment, if you want more string of bananas plants in your home, this is the way to propagate the stringy plants.
- Do cuttings to the plant. Cuttings are one of the most common ways to propagate plants. You must cut the plant about two inches above its stem using scissors or a knife. Make sure to be careful to avoid cutting yourself.
- Remove the leaves around the stem. Since the string of bananas plant is full of leaves in every string and vine it has, you must cut off the leaves around the lower region of the stem you just snipped.
- Dry the cuttings. Once you snip the stems you want to propagate, make sure to dry them off first until a callus is formed. A callus is like a node and this will give rise to new roots. The drying process will usually take about three to seven days.
- You can now replant. Now that you have your stem cuttings ready, you can now replant it to a different place, ground or pot. Just make sure that the soil is well-drained so that the water can get out easily.
- Water the plants. Now that you have replanted your stem cuttings to the soil, you can start watering it. But make sure not to water it often. Refer to the first earlier segment regarding watering your string of bananas plant.
Are String of Bananas Plants Toxic?
For added information regarding your new houseplant, yes, string of bananas are actually toxic. This plant is toxic to your cats, dogs, and other pets if they are ingested. This plant is also mildly toxic to humans. Side-effects of ingesting the plant or being exposed to its sap is dermatitis or inflammation of the skin. Keep your plants out of reach to avoid these health hazards. Visible symptoms of string of bananas poisoning are vomiting, dermatitis, and diarrhea. If you or your family has experienced this, contact a medical professional immediately.
Remember, it may have the name of “string of bananas”, but this is NOT A FRUIT but only a houseplant for the purposes of decorating and landscaping only. NOT FOR INGESTION AND COOKING.