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How to Propagate String of Bananas (5 Easy Steps)

With its sleek, banana-shaped leaves, the String of Banana is a sight to behold and a houseplant you’ll enjoy propagating.

You can expect it to be hassle-free and straightforward regardless of whether you’ve ever grown bananas before or are an experienced gardener. Every step of the way, I’m here to help.

A string of bananas propagates easily in soil and water via stem cuttings. The first step is to take healthy leaves and treat them with rooting hormones. To get the cutting to root, either place it in soil or water. Ensure the new plant gets plenty of sunlight for the first three to four weeks.

Why Should You Propagate Your String of Bananas?

There are two primary reasons to propagate your banana string:

The first and most common reason is to save a failing plant. If your bananas are suffering from root rot or extensive root damage due to frost or cold, this may be your only option.

String of Bananas Root Rot

When all other rescue options fail, propagating bananas is an excellent way to start over and grow new succulents.

In addition, it is usually straightforward and hassle-free to propagate the banana string. That’s because it’s hardy, tolerant to near-drought conditions, and its leaves don’t fall off easily. Also, their cuttings take root fast.

It’s a piece of cake to propagate a banana string. But, take healthy stem cuttings from the mother plant, and you’ll have everything you need to start a new plant right in your hands.

With their glossy green foliage and white or light pink flowers, banana plants are a beautiful sight to behold in their natural habitats.

You won’t have to worry about adding extra stress to your gardening routine by making copies of these beautiful plants.

When Should You Propagate Your String of Bananas?

There are a few factors to consider when answering this question. The reason you want to propagate your plant is the guiding light here.

For example, you must propagate right away if you’re propagating to save a string of bananas with root rot. If it’s fall, you can’t wait until spring.

However, if you want to expand your succulent collection, you should plan ahead of time. The ideal time to propagate your banana string is thriving and growing rapidly.

This is almost always when your succulent is active during the spring and summer months.

Remember that the new cuttings will take 3-4 weeks to take root. As a result, you’ll need to propagate during the warmer months to reduce the likelihood of root rot and increase the chances of rooting.

In reality, I make a point of propagating my succulents (including a string of bananas) just before the growing season begins. In our area, this is usually in the early summer or spring.

Another advantage of picking this time is that the parent plant will not suffer from shock or stress due to taking several stem cuttings.

More importantly, for rooting cuttings to develop roots and thrive, they require plenty of bright, indirect light.

What You’ll Need

Fortunately, propagating a string of bananas is not a resource-intensive task. But, for the most part, most gardeners will need the following tools for the job:

  • A pair of sharp, disinfected pruning shears, snips, or scissors (a sharp, sterile knife may also suffice)
  • A pot or container measuring four or six inches in diameter. I strongly advise you to use a terracotta pot or flat with drainage holes in the bottom.
  • A potting mix that drains well – You can buy a pre-made batch of succulent or cactus mix (Check the latest price on Amazon here).
  • Powdered or liquid rooting hormone (optional, but I strongly recommend it, especially if you’re propagating in soil)
  • Bottled, filtered, or distilled water is essential if you intend to reproduce in water or if your tap water contains too much chlorine/fluoride.
  • To protect your new plant from the elements, pests, and so on, wrap it in cheesecloth or burlap.

Ways to Propagate String of Bananas

Stem cuttings are an easy way to propagate a string of bananas. A few stem cuttings should be taken in the spring or early summer and replanted.

If you want to keep your succulents alive for a long time to come, this is the best method.

According to what I’ve learned from my experiments so far, you can grow a banana vine in soil or water. However, even though you can start your succulent from seeds, this method is usually less successful.

Let me show you how to propagate your banana string in two ways.

Option A: Stem Cuttings Propagation in Soil

I prefer to propagate a string of bananas in soil because it is easier and less problematic. It is also easier to monitor the callus when you reproduce the callus in this manner.

As previously stated, you’ll need a disinfected pruner, a suitable pot, and potting mix. That being said, you should follow the steps below to propagate your plant in the soil.

Step #1- Taking Stem Cuttings

String of Bananas with nodes
  • Cut a few healthy stem strands off your string of bananas. 
  • The cut should be just beneath a leaf node.
  • Each stem cutting should measure between 4 and 5 inches long.
  • Pinch the last couple of leaves from each cutting

Step #2 – Allowing Calluses to Form

Before planting, consider leaving each stem cutting out for a day or two. This will allow the leaves plucked areas and the cut ends to be callous and slightly dry out.

Step #3 – Prepping the Potting Medium

Fill your chosen pot with a well-draining potting medium. I prefer a cactus or succulent-specific premix.

Fill the container with water and place it in a bathtub, sink, or saucer. Allow the pot to absorb water until saturated, then drain until the medium is moist but not soggy.

Make a hole in the pot’s center. It should be about an inch deep, and this is where you will plant your stem cutting.

Step #4 – Planting String of Banana Stem Cuttings

Although it is optional, consider dipping the cut end of each stem cutting in rooting hormone. This will give your new plant the necessary head start.

Place the cut end of each cutting into the center hole right away, making sure all of the leaves are above the soil line.

Begin gently patting the soil around the cutting to ensure it stays in place.

Step #5- Care and Maintenance

You should place the pot in a well-lit area if you’re growing indoors. However, if the cuttings are outside, they will thrive better in a shady area.

Keep the temperature between 65°F and 75°F (18°C and 24°C)

Check the potting soil and re-water if it feels a little dry every day. You must avoid overwatering at all costs to prevent the decay of the cuttings’ tips.

Option B: Stem Cuttings Propagation in Water

It is simple to propagate a string of bananas in water without specialized tools. All you need is a clean pair of pruning snips, a healthy stem cutting, and a jar or glass container.

  1. Look for several strong stems and cut four- to five-inch cuttings. Make a clean cut above the leaf node with a sharp, disinfected cutting tool.
  2. Pinch off two or three of the last leaves to help prevent rotting.
  3. Place the stem cuttings in a glass container or jar right away.
  4. Fill the glass halfway with filtered or distilled water; tap water may contain fluoride, chlorine, or other harsh chemicals.
  5. Place the glass jar in a bright area, not in direct sunlight.
  6. Weekly water changes are recommended to replenish oxygen levels and prevent microbial growth.
  7. Long, thin roots that resemble tendrils will appear in a few weeks.
  8. Once the roots are numerous and well-established, move the rooted cutting to a pot filled with a well-draining cactus or succulent potting medium.

There is less risk of soil-borne fungi and bacteria attacking water-propagated bananas.

String of Banana Stem Cuttings Propagation in Water
Propagation of String of Banana Stem Cuttings in Water

Here’s How I Do: I filled a jar with water and wrapped it in Saran wrap. Poke holes and insert the cuttings.  Within a week, all of my small cuttings have sprouted roots.

Problems You May Encounter While Propagating Your String of Bananas

Root Rot

A string of bananas should be relatively trouble-free if it is propagated correctly. However, overwatering can be a big problem for it.

Keep an eye out for early root rot symptoms, such as drooping leaves, yellowing foliage, and a pungent odor coming from the soil.

This is a common issue with succulents propagated in soil. However, it is scarce in those grown in water.

Another thing to look out for is poor drainage, especially the lack of drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. If this is the case, start over with a terracotta pot with plenty of drainage holes.

The potting medium that does not drain properly could also be to blame. Instead, use a sterile batch of cactus or succulent mix.

Generally speaking, you should wait until the soil feels slightly dry before adding more water. Indeed, root rot is most often caused by excessive watering.

Furthermore, you need to wait about two days for the callus to heal entirely before planting your stem cuttings in the soil. A fungal infection is likely to take hold if you plant them too early.

Sun Scorching

When indoors, keep the recently-propagated string of bananas in a bright spot. Having too much direct sunlight can damage the leaves and roots of the plants.

The soil will harden, preventing the roots from developing, if the potting medium dries out too quickly.

Put it in a place where it can get indirect light, and you’ll have a healthy plant. In the first two weeks, a moderately sunny location should be ideal.

If you’re propagating bananas outside, make sure to place them in a location that receives some sunlight.

Taking Too Long to Take Root

In ideal conditions, stem cuttings should sprout within three to four weeks. Anything more than six weeks out of the ordinary indicates a problem.

Low temperatures, poor lighting, overwatering, and root rot are all possibilities as causes of the problem.

You must use the rooting hormone if not one of the above. This action will help to facilitate and accelerate the rooting process.

Pest Infestation

Pests such as mealybugs, caterpillars, mealybugs, aphids, and even spider mites can infest most banana plants grown outdoors.

It’s best to cover the cuttings in cheesecloth, burlap, or net to keep these pests at bay!

However, fungus gnats can be a problem if you’re propagating indoors. These soil-dwelling bugs may feed on roots beneath the soil’s surface. If you can, use a sterilized soil mixture free of fungus gnats and their eggs.

Does Your String of Bananas Have to Be Healthy to Propagate Successfully?

The short answer is no. Propagation is a gardener’s most potent weapon in the fight against failing or damaged plants. One or a few healthy stem cuttings from the parent plant are all that is required.

The mother plant does not need to be in good health; only the cuttings used for root development need to be healthy enough.

However, time is always a factor when propagating a string of bananas due to root rot or other serious issues. Therefore, when the plant has not been completely destroyed, it is best to take stem cuttings early.

Fortunately for you, it is suggested that you remove a few of the stem’s lower leaves before cutting.

How Long Does It Take to Propagate a String of Bananas? 

Because the string of bananas is a slow grower, it may take up to three weeks or longer to notice any signs of growth.

However, you don’t have to be concerned. On the other hand, the Rooting hormone can help speed up the rooting process and ensure faster propagation.

Coconut milk, cinnamon, yeast extract, or honey are all-natural alternatives to commercial rooting hormone if you can’t get your hands on it.