String of Bananas
The Senecio radicans or Rosary plant is a succulent plant composed of pendulous branches formed by numerous spherical capsules similar to the beads of the rosary or the pearls of the necklace.
Characteristics of the Senecio radicans:
Senecio radicans is an evergreen succulent plant of the Asteraceae family native to Africa, widespread in all areas of the Mediterranean and cultivated for ornamental purposes in the garden or in pots due to the elegant and extravagant shape of its balloon leaves.
Senecio radicans are provided with a robust fasciculated root from which cylindrical, thin, and long stems are generated on average about 80 centimeters which if they touch the ground emit adventitious roots spreading also outside the pot.
The stems are covered by a succession of modified leaves having the shape of globose capsules, similar to pearls of a necklace or to the beads of the rosary, light green in summer, and whitish in winter. Each pearl, succulent and leathery, has a showy translucent streak.
During the flowering period on the branches, between the leaf intersections, long hairy slightly hairy green peduncles appear, bearing on the apexes of the small white flowers formed by various white petals in sharp contrast with long purple stamens.
Senecio radicans in optimal cultivation conditions blooms from late summer to early autumn, usually between August and October.
How to take care of Senecio radicans String of Bananas:
it is a succulent plant that prefers bright and sunny places for many hours a day, especially if placed in cool places. It tolerates summer heat very well while it is very sensitive to cold and temperatures below 5-7 ° C. In regions with a mild climate this variety of Senecio can be grown in the garden close to walls or rock faces or suspended from a tree branch.
Like Sedum and other succulents, Senecio Rowleyanus must also be grown in a specific soil to ensure proper drainage. The optimal substrate is a mixture of common garden soil, leaf earth, peat, and coarse sand. Alternatively, it is possible to use normal soil combined with a part of expanded perlite, which retains humidity, guaranteeing optimal soil drainage.
Even if it is a succulent plant that also resists drought, Senecio radicans should be regularly watered, especially in summer but allowing the soil to dry completely, one irrigation and the other. In the autumn-winter period, watering is gradually reduced as the plant goes into vegetative rest. In winter it is recommended to give very little water and preferably at room temperature to avoid traumatizing the roots.
To produce new pearls or spheres, the Senecio radicans plant requires a fertilizer rich in potassium (K) and phosphorus (P) but with low nitrogen (N) content. A fertilizer too rich in nitrogen could cause the Senecio stems to soften which would lead to flattening of the pearls. In the summer months, it is also advisable to enrich the soil with a good fertilizer approximately every 15-20 days.
How to propagate Senecio radicans String of Bananas:
The Plant reproduces by seed but this technique is almost never practiced as it is used to propagate by cutting extremely easy and safe.
Propagation by cuttings
In spring, just take cuttings of about 10 cm from the stems longer and more vigorous stems using well-sharpened and disinfected scissors. The cuttings are to be rooted in a mixture of sand and peat kept constantly humid until new leaves appear (balls). After rooting, the new seedlings can be transplanted into pots containing a specific soil.
The ideal period for repotting Senecio radicans is spring when the plant has become too big and the roots come out of the pot through the water drainage holes. The new pot must be at least 2 sizes larger than the previous one. New and specific soil for succulents.