Banana Tree Culture

robitaillenancy1(zone 5)June 17, 2006

I have a 4 foot banana tree as a houseplant.

1. Should it go outside in summer?

2. Fertilizer for growing period?

3. Approximately how much water for a large container?

4. Best soil mix for bananas?

5. Can I expect fruit from a plant grown indoors?

Thanks

Nancy

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rayandgwenn(z11 Puerto Rico)

Hi Nancy-

I'll try to answer some of your questions ...

#1 ... Most bananas thrive outside in the warmer months. Though most can handle full sun, be careful and don't do it all at once. If you move it from inside (where it's probably getting indirect sun at best) directly into full sun, you're almost certain to burn the leaves. Take it out, and put it into the shade. Then in a couple of days, move it into dappled sunlight. Then in a couple more days, maybe where it gets direct sun in the morning. Just like you have to do when you go to the beach. If, on your first day at the beach in the summer, you spend 8 hours sitting in the direct sun .... ouch!

#2 ... Here in PR, where everyone has fruiting bananas and plantains in their yards, we can buy "special" banana fertilizer. It's a 10-5-20 mix with 3% magnesium. Seems to work well on our potted ornamental bananas. But a balanced 20-20-20 should give you good results, too. Bananas are heavy feeders, so they'll be happy with just about anything.

#3 ... Bananas, especially if they're in the sun and actively growing, are very thirsty plants. During the hottest part of the day you'll see their leaves "curl" to conserve water. As long as the pot drains freely and is not sitting in a bowl of water ... give it as much water as you can. The soil should remain moist (an inch or 2 below the surface) ... but not wet. It's the draining part that's important.

#4 ... Not sure what the best "mix" is. Our bananas in the ground are growing in clay ('cause that's what we got!). Our potted ornamentals are in "pro mix" (which tends to dry quickly ... but we get rain almost every day). Other people may have more educated opinions.

#5 ... don't know ....

Hope this helps.

-Ray

    Bookmark   June 17, 2006 at 7:55AM
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gardennoob(z7 VA)

My answer for #4 is what I did for mine, I just dug a hole and mixed the half the soil I dug out with some new top soil and planted the banana with that and it is doing real well!
I totally agree with the answer to #1. Gradual exposure to sun is best. I started my babies out from dormancy in the corner of the sunroom then planted outside. I only lost one leaf on one of the pups.
I did not feed them last year (I am a bad plant mother) but they grew real tall anyway (about 15 feet). This year I plan to feed especially since I expect fruit on one.
And finally, I think if you expect fruit indoors you may need a dwarf variety. From what I have been reading and what I have seen around our town bananas get pretty darn tall!
Well anyway these are my totally uneducated opinions as I too am still learning about the banana, but the learning is lots of fun.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2006 at 7:25AM
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