Going “Bananas” for the Banana Tree Plant
Banana trees are one of the common trees that come to mind when dreaming of the tropics, but did you know that it is not really a tree? It is the world’s largest herb.
The trunk is composed of the main fruiting stem enrobed by leaves. Still, due to its size, it is commonly thought of as a tree.
How to Grow a Banana Tree
You may plant a single banana plant but you will end up with several – so choose a spot that will accommodate several plants. There are different varieties available, the main difference being their height and leaf color.
The question we get the MOST is “Can my tree produce bananas?” Sadly, our growing season is not long enough to produce ripened bananas. They will set fruit and it is most interesting to watch them change from the flower stage to bunches of small bananas.
Banana plants prefer full sun.
The soil should be well-drained, deep, and organically amended. Slightly acidic soil (5.5 to 6.5 pH) is preferred.
Since banana trees are tropical and hail from rain forests, they need a lot of water and plenty of moisture in the air. They do best when planted in groups rather than as single specimens. Being close together helps them retain moisture in the leaves. Provide 1 or 2 inches of water weekly or MORE (especially during the heat of July and August) and check frequently to make certain the soil stays evenly moist. Make sure they are not over-watered, so you do not develop root rot. The soil should always be moist but not soggy, if possible.
Temperature and Humidity
Bananas thrive in warm, humid conditions. When temperatures drop, growth slows down, and very cold temperatures cause plants to die back. It is best to cut the plant down to ground level and cover with mulch for the winter. Only in the extremist winters have we lost hardy banana plants due to prolonged below freezing temperatures.
Banana plants should also be fertilized very well. Use a balanced fertilizer once a month. Spread the fertilizer evenly around the plant in a circle extending 4 to 8 feet from the trunk. Do not allow the fertilizer to come in contact with the trunk. Feed container plants on the same monthly schedule using about half the rate for outside plants.