AE-AE Anyway to green up variegation?

rayandgwenn(z11 Puerto Rico)April 5, 2009

I have gotten 2 pups (of the 7 so far) from my Ae-Ae that are more white than variegated. I know a totally white plant will not survive. The first leaves were variegated green/white like normal. The next 3 leaves are all white.....

Is there any hope? Any fertilizer that will green up the next leaves?

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lac1361(z9a Lake Charles, LA)

A leaf on one of my Ae Ae pups is doing the same thing now. Potassium nitrate will make the green parts of the leaf a more darker green but I'm not sure whether it will promote more green. Also, I'm not sure if you can find Potassium Nitrate in PR as this product is not as available as it once was. Too many other dangerous applications.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 7:20PM
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rayandgwenn(z11 Puerto Rico)

My husband suggested a different fertilizer....
Potassium nitrate, I don't think I have seen that around.
Think I should try some fertilizer with high potassium? Would that help? I think I will try it- it can't hurt at this point- either the plant will live or it won't! So far the plants are nice and healthy, but almost all white! The leaves are starting to brown up, so I know if I don't get more green in there, they are goners.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2009 at 7:39PM
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What about epsom salt?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 12:09AM
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rayandgwenn(z11 Puerto Rico)

Jim- I just looked into Epsom Salts- it does say it increases chlorophyll production.....
Sounds like a cheap alternative to high K fertilizer.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 8:55AM
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Well, you can fertilize all you want, but the very nature of variegation is not controlled or influenced by fertilizer. Variegation is caused by an unknown mutation that switches a plant cells ability to produce chlorophyl on and off. Exactly how it works in unknown, but one thing is for sure: You can't force a cell to suddenly start producing chlorophyl if it's been programmed not to. And vice versa. Believe me, if there was a way to control variegation manually, someone would have found it by now ... and made a fortune.
It's most likely that the unknown mechanism that controls chlorophyl production in your pup suddenly turned itself off, thereby producing all-white new leaves instead of green and white leaves lower down. This happens often on unstable variegated plants. Side branches on non-bananas may turn out all white, mixed white and green, or all green. It's all up to the mysterious mechanism that controls variegation.
Best advice is to watch the pup. If it keeps putting out all-white leaves, I'd remove it and give the mother a chance to produce a more stable green and white pup. Since bananas won't product side shoots off an existing pup, you have no choice but to remove it. Otherwise, on non-bananas, you can cut the stem back to a point that's producing green and white leaves, and hope for the best.
Be thankful too for the fact that you can easily grow Ae-Ae and have it produce pups for you. That remains a dream for those of us farther north.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 4:07PM
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I would try a little epsom salts anyway,I also think you can get pups if you are willing to put your banana plants in the ground during the summer,the amount of growth for one in the ground compared to a pot is unbelievable!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 10:14PM
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rayandgwenn(z11 Puerto Rico)

I will fertilize them, but luckily it looks like the next leaf is coming up with good variegation all by itself.

I have planted a few pups, but I wanted to have a few healthy ones to sell and give away to friends. The mother plant is long gone, but she is still producing pups. Believe me, I am very happy about it!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 8:41AM
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"I wanted to have a few healthy ones to sell and give away to friends"I would like to be your friend! LOL, I love these banana plants !,someday I will get one,the funny thing is you could have tried the epsom salts before the new leaf and thought thats what did it.I first heard about epsom salts from people trying it on canna stuttgart,the closest thing I have to Ae Ae right now and a very beautifull canna it is,good luck with your Ae Ae's they are the most beautiful bananas IMO-

    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 7:42PM
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rayandgwenn(z11 Puerto Rico)

Jim- my crazy plant friends are very generous with me, so I am glad to have something to give them!
Have you seen the Siam Ruby? I have one, but it is just not thriving :-( But anyway, it has beautiful burgundy leaves. I think it is gorgeous.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 7:51PM
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Yea,Siam Ruby is another nice one,I would like to pick one up later this spring,I think they would look nice next to Ae Ae.
I currently have some Rowe red I will planting out in the next few weeks,another nice one!Heres a pic from mid July last year-

    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 12:23AM
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Jordon Steele of Coral Gables, FL has been growing Ae Ae for over 40 years and swears by potassium nitrate greening up the variegation of his Ae Ae. I don't know how this would work, but he's documented it pretty well on his web site.

Here is a link that might be useful: Florida Ae AE

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 12:23AM
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