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Black leaves

Posted by jetlag98 Ohio (My Page) on
Sun, Nov 25, 07 at 7:11

I have a couple small Musa (14" & 6") growing in pots inside the house for winter. Both are producing new leaves approx every 10 days, but within a week of the new leaves unfurling, they turn black and die. Am I doing something wrong? Temp is 66-70 and plants are in front of window.
Any help would be appreciated :-))


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Black leaves

What kind of Musa?


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RE: Black leaves

This is the Musa Basjoo. I am wondering if they are getting too much water? I also have windmill palms which I feed with slow release nitrogen and wondered if this would be ok to introduce to the Basjoo. I would hate to lose these plants before I get them into the ground in the spring.


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RE: Black leaves

I would think that black leaves would be a sign of overwatering, coupled with low light levels. The very fact that you have Musa Basjoo tells me that you are in a northern latitude location. Down here in BKF, we don't even see Basjoo in the stores, just things like Abysinnian, 'Ice Cream', Super Dwarf, Zebrina and the like. The really cold hardy Basjoo seem to wind up in the northern stores. Therefore, I have to believe that you are in a location where the Sun is really low in the sky right now and your Banana don't get a lot of light, even incident light from windows.

I have my Banana growing in a Patio Glass door area and although it faces east, they get enough light to continue to be healthy. San Francisco is about the same latitude as Chicago and BKF is some 400+ miles south of SF. The Sun's angle to the surface here is much different than what it would be further north. That is, we get higher intensity light than folks further north. When you read threads in this forum, you need to keep in mind the differences in lighting and temperature that geographical location creates. Follow the advise given by folks in your latitudes and geographical area.

I would suggest that you have two options ... 1) follow the Corm storage procedure that so many people in northern latitudes use or 2) beef up your lighting with some good grow lights. Certainly, you need to probably water less so that the matabolism of your Banana slows down and the Corm stays healthy until Spring. Read my thread "It's Not My Imagination" and you'll see that I have noted some unusual behavior from my Banana since I moved them indoors and have been warned by a couple people on this thread of the danger of continuing to grow Banana as the season turns and light levels dwindle. Note also, the distinctions placed on the Zebrina by one poster, claiming it is a more open and sun loving Banana than the Super Dwarf which is commonly sold as an indoor plant and the 'Ice Cream' Banana which has similar tendencies to be not just tolerant of, but fond of shade.

I think it may be too late for you to simply store your Corms as they may be sick already. So boost the light and reduce the watering. Do what you must to save them and keep them alive till Spring.

BTW: Nitrogen is always good for Banana. They are very hungry plants.


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RE: Black leaves

I live in Michigan, and this fall I tried growing 2 basjoos under grow lights in my basement, but they did terribly. If you live anywhere near as cold as I do, I suggest getting them below 50 degrees ASAP. Mine yellowed continuously, and did not grow at all. I moved them into my garage, which is constantly between mid 30s and 50s in the winter. Since I moved them, they stopped yellowing, and stopped dying. The idea is to get them to go dormant.

Basjoos seem to need very high light levels in order to do decent. Outside here in Southern Michigan, they need full sun to grow well. I think I didn't have bright enough lights.

If you do get them growing, you should be able to fertilize them indoors by using a diluted mixture.


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RE: Black leaves

There is also the possibility that you're facing a fungal infection. If the leaves blacken and develop a thin powdery coating, destroy the plants and bleach their pots.


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RE: Black leaves

Thanks everyone for the info! I am in the Columbus Ohio area, and was told that these plants are still too young to let go dormant over the winter. I think I'll reduce the water, increase the light, and feed some slow release nitrogen. The leaves do not develop a powdery coating so here's hoping no disease. I'll continue to follow this up and post my results.


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RE: Black leaves

Here's a photo showing how much light my Zebrina's get opposite the window which faces West ...

Musa Zebrina Overwintering indoors in light from West facing window

The shadow is from the Hackberry Tree just outside the window. The Zebrina get good light, especially, late in the afternoon. My other bananas which are more adapted to shade are doing well in front of my East Facing patio doors.


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RE: Black leaves

The pic shows the leaves doing the same thing as mine, altho my plants are much younger and smaller. It seems it is always the oldest leaf that turns brown and eventually dies. I am still gaining and losing approx 1 leaf per week. Perhaps this is normal? I have mine in the same size pots as the pic and yesterday bought a florescent 2 tube grow light....maybe this will help. I have been watering about 6oz/week as the soil seems to be constantly dry. I'll try to get a pic on here shortly.


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RE: Black leaves

jetlag98,

Leaves turning yellow and browning is due to them being light starved or just plain aged. Yes.

The yellowed leaves on mine are due not however, to their currently being in a light starved environment. They were lower leaves that were hidden from light by the upper leaves. What you must know is that all three of those potted plants were until just recently, in one pot, the small black pot. As such, the leaves of each overhung each other and kept light from the lower leaves. I note also that some of the yellowing and tatted leaves are due to damage or bruising that was incurred at the store. At the store, Lowes, this pot of Zebrina was crowed in with several others and just looking through them to pick this one out, I could see damage on all of them ... due to their being clumped together on a shelf and from people ( like me I suppose ) moving them around to find the healthiest looking one. My purchase was not too long ago and yes, some of those leaves are the damaged originals. Look closely and you will see some obvious scarring on some of those yellowed leaves. Those spots are too local on the leaf to be caused by some systemic starvation for light or nutrients. One reason I separated them was because I noted that they were competing for light and perhaps even nutrients. They are now looking healthier and the new leaves are much bigger and even velvety green.


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RE: Black leaves

I have a recently planted hardy banana plant. It has grown well but now the leaves are turning black. We have had lots of rain. It is planted in sandy soil on a flat location among other plants which are doing very well.
any suggestions?


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