dwarf banana tree sick?

chueh(7B)June 26, 2008

I have had this indoor dwarf banana tree for one year and a half. When i first got it, I planted it in a pot in partial shade outdoors. Then, I brought it in during the winter. This past spring, I brought it outdoors at the same spot where it was originally. Four leaves were burned. I brought it indoors again, it started producing new growth. It has gotten 3 leaves so far. Yesterday, it looked unhappy. Today, it looked sad and droopy.

I touched the trunk, it felt soft and kind of hollow, whereas it felt sturdy and hard before. I took the picture this morning. Now, one of the 3 leaves is completely yellow now. The other 2 look starting yellowing too and droopier. What happened to it? Why all at sudden, it is sick. By the way, the soil does not seem to absorb any water when I water it. The soil seems shrinking too. The mulch level was at almost the top edge of the pot. Now, it lowered quite a bit. What's going on? Am I going to lose this banana tree? Please help me? Thanks

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I'll tell you what I would do, but you're not going to like it. First I would cut off all leaves and stalk back to firm tissue (even if that means leveling it to the ground). Then I would transplant it into a similar size (or the same container) after introducing a generous portion of fresh soil into the mix. (Not not make any radical changes in the depth of the planted tuber.) Then, I would put the plant outside in full sun (preferably someplace protected from heavy rain). I would water it thoroughly if the soil is really dry (as you describe). Then I would without watering until you begin to see new active growth. Bananas, given full sun, fertilizer, and plentiful water (WHEN IN ACTIVE GROWTH) are strong growers. I've been growing bananas for years and have several varieties and have even gotten flowering and fruiting. I have occasionally seen a plant like yours after a winter indoors. And I always treat it the same way and they normally regrow with health, vigorous new growth once growing conditions improve.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 7:00AM
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Thank you. I will follow exactly what you said in order to save the tree. One more question though: Should I take it indoors again this winter? I notice that you live in zone a tiny little bit cooler than I do. Are all your banana tress ok during the winter? Do you cover them at night during harsh cold wave time? How could my banana tree get burned when I brought it outdoor last time; I don't get it? Although I knew that it was a indoor banana tree, in general, the plants that grow fruits need a lot of sun. I am very confused.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 11:05AM
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When you grow a plant indoors, it get acclimated to indoor conditions (very low light levels, and cooler conditions--compared to outside in the summer). When you take
a plant that has been growing indoor and stick it out in the sun, it will initially burn (just like a person might experiencing his/her first trip to the beach in the summer). But eventually the plant adapts to the higher light levels that it needs in order to push new growth. My bananas are in large pots right now and growing vigorously. I feed and water heavily as they are in full sun and warm conditions. Eventually they will go into the ground and get to be around
8 feet or so by the end of the season. Normally, they get cut down by harder frosts in late November, then I lift them out of the ground and put them in the basement over the winter. Musa basjoo (Japanese fiber banana) is supposed to be winter hardy in zone 7 (a and b) with mulching but I don't bother and just take their tubers in with all the others. When I lift the bananas, I cut off all the leaves and some of the trunk (just enough to let it fit in the basement without hitting the ceiling. Basically, I forget about them until about April and then I repot and start them up again.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 1:42PM
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So.... in another word, I should get my banana tree winterized instead of keeping feeding and watering? As long as i don't water it and keep the tuber clean, it will get back to life in spring when it's out and being watered? So...perhaps my problem is that I let the tree adapt the indoor environment too much which is not in banana trees' nature and then it got sick? There is no instruction ever saying that! The nurseries should tell customers about it, instead of telling them "You can grow and harvest bananas indoors." It all sounds easy, as long as the plant being watered.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 3:02PM
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"The nurseries should tell customers about it, instead of telling them "You can grow and harvest bananas indoors." It all sounds easy, as long as the plant being watered."

Nurseries don't tell people a lot of stuff they really should tell them, which is sort of distressing. There should be a blog somewhere, like Customers Suck, that archives stupid advice and/or non-advice nurseries give.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 7:49PM
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