The Q&A Archives: String Of Bananas And Lipstick Plant

Question: I cannot find any information on a houseplant called "string of bananas". I have been told it is a very close relative of Senecio rawleyanus, 'string of pearls". Can you please tell me how to care for it, and if it's toxic?

I also have a lipstick plant that is not growing. I don't keep it in bright light, and I keep the soil fairly dry. Any suggestions? thank you!

Answer: I haven't found reference to any plant with the comon name "string of bananas". However, I did find mention of other members of the Senecio genus: S. herreianus, with oval foliage (another common name is "gooseberry kleinia"), and S. citriformis, with lemon-shaped foliage. Interestingly, this is a huge genus of plants, numbering between 2000 and 3000 species, and includes the flowering plant cineraria and some dusty millers. (Other plants with the common name dusty miller include Artemisia spp and Centauria spp.)

It could be that your lipstick plant (Aeschynanthus radicans) is simply resting, and will resume growth in the spring. Lipstick plants like average household temperatures in the summer and cool temperatures in the winter.They need bright light, but not direct sunshine. Water your plant freely in spring and summer and sparingly in the winter, using tepid water. Mist the leaves frequently in the summer, as it likes humidity when it flowers. Once it stops flowering, cut the stems back so it doesn't become straggly. It will put out new stems and leaves in the spring before it blooms.

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