The String of Bananas shares many of the same features as the String of Fish Hooks. So, it is not unusual to confuse the two plant species at first glance.
The green of a string of banana is brighter and more vivid than that of a string of fish hooks. The former also has two translucent stripes to allow extra light absorption. In general, the green of a string of fish hooks is bluish-grey.
As previously mentioned, coloration is the primary difference between the two species. The bluish/green coloration is why gardeners are drawn to the String of Fish Hooks. While only a mild bluish/green, the species adds a bit of coloration in areas, where it is needed.
If it is surrounded by green plants, it will become the focal point of your garden.
The String of Bananas has a dark green coloration. When cared for properly, the dark green will glimmer. It too can become the focal point of your garden if placed among other green plant species.
Differentiating between the two plant species is generally easy. In fact, you can see the difference from a short distance away, but only if you are familiar with both species. Not only do you have the color variation to rely on but also the leaf shape.
While both plants have long strands that are filled with leaves, the difference is obvious. The leaf shape of the String of Bananas is no doubt, banana-shaped. The String of Fish Hooks, on the other hand, has leaves with a fishhook shape.
The String of Banana leaf is slightly thicker while the String of Fish Hooks is slightly longer and more curved.
Both plant species originate from South Africa, where they sprout up from the ground. The String of Fish Hooks belongs to the Senecio family while the String of Bananas is a member of the Asteraceae family.
Both plant species are considered what botanists have deemed “drought-tolerant.” The water needs for both plant species are low. In other words, minimal water is required, and the soil should be dried out between each watering.
Botanists a finger test to determine if water is required in advance. Stink your finger deep into the soil while feeling for moisture. If moisture is present, hold off on the water for another 24 hours before repeating the finger test.
As a rule of thumb, reduce the water amount, beginning at the onset of the winter season. Some gardeners start reducing the water amount in mid- or late-fall.
The primary reason for the reduced water amount is due to the temperature fluctuations between the summer, fall, and winter seasons.
During the winter in South Africa, the temperatures range between 63 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit during the daylight hours and 28 and 54 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Compared to the summer, the temperature variance can be as high as 40 degrees or as low as 25 degrees.
The water changes may not be necessary if the plant species are housed indoors.
It is vital for the survival of your String of Fish Hooks or String of Bananas to replicate their natural habitat as close as possible. Summer temperatures in South Africa can soar to 97 degrees Fahrenheit.
So, it is easy to see these plants can easily survive in subtropical conditions.
If your plants are being housed indoors year-round, the ideal temperature ranges between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping this in mind, in the natural habitat, the plants can tolerate temperatures up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
Botanists do not recommend strong temperature fluctuations for indoor tropical plant species. If you are not utilizing a greenhouse, you should consider a grow tent and grow lights to replicate their natural environment.
The String of Bananas and String of Fish Hooks are “succulent” plant species. In other words, they require very little fertilizer. Botanists do not recommend regular fertilizing for succulents. However, if are concerned about nutrition, it is recommended to utilize worm castings or an organic fertilizer in liquid form.
Scatter the worm casting on top of the soil. If you opt for liquid organic fertilizer, a few drops on top of the soil when watering is sufficient.
Fertilizing should be put on hold throughout the winter season. This gives succulents time to rest, which is vital for survival.
Both plant species must be pruned regularly to prevent out-of-control growing. Pruning will help with length management, not only to protect the plant but also to protect gardeners from mishaps.
Regular pruning is also important for aesthetics. This is an easy process that does not need to be timed. Experienced gardeners know when their String of Fish Hooks and String of Bananas need to be pruned.
You must start with a quality pruner, with a sharp blade. Since this is not a pruning job for a large area, a short, lightweight pruner blade is recommended. The short, lightweight blade design will deliver more preciseness as compared to that of a long, heavy blade.
It is crucial that the blade be sharp to deliver the cleanest cut. Dull blades will damage the plant matter. Since the plants are considered delicate, it is best to stick with a pruner, with a thin, lightweight, sharp blade.
The String of Bananas and String of Fish Hooks are not prone to pest infestation. However, some gardeners have reported mealybug infestations.
These pests are very easy to eradicate, with a short shower. Most botanists do not recommend conventional pesticides or insecticides for these plant species.
If the season is summer, you can take the plant outside to spray it down with a garden hose. During the winter season, it is more preferred to spray the plant down in the shower or tub. Even so, you need to protect the plant from overwatering.
The String of Bananas and String of Fish Hooks are succulent hanging plant species. They should be kept in a subtropical-like environment indoors in the winter season. These low-maintenance plants require minimal fertilizing and watering. Routine pruning is necessary to control overgrowth.