String plants are super easy to propagate, and the String of Bananas is no different!
In this post, I will cover three techniques for propagating your String of Bananas at home and provide a step-by-step guide with pictures.
Why Should You Propagate a String of Bananas
Like many other string plants, String of Bananas is incredibly easy to propagate, and there are multiple reasons why you might want to do this.
I mainly propagate string plants like this to bulk them up. When you buy a young String of Bananas, it can appear full initially, but as it grows and starts to trail, it can look sparse and leggy.
The easiest way to make the plant fuller is to propagate it, allow the cutting to establish roots, and replant it back into the same pot. It’s that easy. It may require some patience as you wait for the propagation to take, but it’s totally worth the wait.
You can also use propagation to create a whole new plant without going to the nursery. I like collecting a few propagated pieces together in one pot to create a full, beautiful plant. This is a cost-efficient way to grow your plant collection and fill your home with plants!
Things You Will Need
- Pruning shears or scissors
- Small glass jar or vase
- Small pot with drainage holes
- Cactus potting mix
- Coconut coir
- Spray bottle
- Bobby pins or paper clips
Today, I will demonstrate these propagation techniques using my own String of Bananas. It has started looking leggy and isn’t very full, so I want to fix it with some of these propagation techniques.
I would also like a second String of Bananas to decorate my bedroom, so some of these propagations will go towards making a full new plant right from the start. Taking these cuttings will also neaten up my existing plant and promote growth at the top.
There are three main methods to propagate a String of Bananas.
Method 1: Plant It Straight in the Soil
With many succulents, you need to let the cutting callus before planting it in the soil. Still, with the String of Bananas, this is not necessary. There are two types of cutting you can take for soil propagation that I will detail here.
The first is a straight cutting, as demonstrated above. All you need to do is cut the end of one of the stems that is a few inches long and includes at least three leaves. This type of cutting is the fastest way to get a propagated stem to trail quickly.
Remove the bottom leaf. You are going to use this node to establish roots under the soil.
The second cut is called a butterfly cut. I find this technique results in a fuller plant from the start. I like to take one long cutting with multiple leaves like this one above to break it into numerous cuttings.
For this cut, you need to isolate the node where the leaf grows because this is where the roots will grow from. Make a cut on either side of the leaf, leaving just a short length of stem on each side.
If any of the leaves have new stems growing from them, like the cutting on the right of the photo above, be sure to save those as they will start trailing more quickly once the roots have been established.
This is an optional step, but at this stage, you can dip the cuttings’ ends in rooting hormone to give it the best chance of forming roots successfully.
Fill a small pot with a 1:1 mix of cactus potting mix and coconut coir. This combination creates the perfect well-draining soil that this plant thrives in. Ensure the pot has drainage holes so the soil doesn’t become waterlogged.
To plant the straight cutting, make a small hole with your finger and place the stem into it, covering the exposed node. Fill the hole and pat the soil down to hold it in place.
For the butterfly cuts, place each small piece onto the soil so the node makes contact with it. Then carefully bury each end of the stem under the soil so only the leaf or offshoot can be seen.
Water well. The roots should take around 4-6 weeks to grow.
Method 2: Let it Root in Water
This is by far the easiest way to propagate a String of Bananas. Take a few straight cuttings from stems with at least four leaves on each. Remove the bottom leaves as you did above.
Place the cuttings in a small glass jar or vase filled with water. Place it in an area that gets bright but indirect sunlight and avoid direct sunlight as this can burn the new plants. You need to top the water up regularly and replace it if any algae start forming.
The roots should start to appear after 2-3 weeks. Allow the roots to grow longer so they are strong when you plant them. Once they look ready, plant in a pot with drainage holes with a 1:1 mix of cactus potting mix and coconut coir.
Method 3: Wind a Stem Back Into the Pot
I love this method for bulking up my existing String of Bananas or growing a new plant that is full from the very beginning. I’ve demonstrated how to execute this method without taking a cutting, but you can use the same method for a long cutting in a new pot.
Choose a stem with several leaves on it. I like choosing ones with leaves that are on the skinny side because they don’t look good as trailing, and this is a great way to bulk them up.
Wind the stem into a spiral on the surface of the soil.
The nodes need to make contact with the soil to root. If any of your nodes already have roots growing on them, then make sure these are facing down.
If the cutting isn’t secured in place, the roots won’t grow, and the cutting will wither and dry up. I secure them using bobby pins, but you can also use paper clips to pin the stems to the soil’s surface.
Initially, you need to keep this propagation moist, so give it a good spritz every few days until the plant establishes itself. It should take around 4-6 weeks.
4 Tips & Reminders for Propagating a String of Bananas
This plant is so versatile no matter which method you choose; you should be able to propagate it successfully. Here are a few extra tips to help you on your way to propagation greatness:
Locate the node
This is an important aspect to remember because it is where the roots will grow from. No cutting will succeed if it is just a bare stem, so always choose a cutting with a few leaves so you can remove them to expose the node.
Always make sure the node is buried beneath the soil.
Be wary of the sap
The sap from a String of Bananas is toxic to humans and animals but not deadly. When you are propagating, ensure your pets aren’t around and thoroughly wash your hands after you are finished.
If you are concerned or your skin is particularly sensitive, I suggest wearing gloves when propagating this plant.
Only mist until the plant is established
The cuttings planted in the soil will enjoy a mist as they establish themselves. But once the roots have grown, I recommend using a soak-and-dry method (which means you water your plant really well and then allow it to dry out completely before watering again.)
Avoid direct sunlight
These propagations are delicate and prone to burning in direct sunlight. I like to place mine on a windowsill that gets bright but indirect sunlight, and they seem to thrive in this location.
After reading through all these methods, I hope it’s clear that propagating a String of Bananas is very straightforward. With some successful propagation, you can easily bulk up a sparse-looking plant or grow your plant collection with beautiful draping vines.