Caring for banana plants – tips and things worth knowing

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Bring the tropics home with banana plants. The species, also known as Musa, is becoming more and more common as a refined houseplant. Most varieties should be overwintered frost-free, but some bananas are hardy. With its impressive leaves, the banana forms a false trunk that can be up to 40 cm thick. The tree-like perennial belongs to the banana family (Musaceae), which includes around 100 species. Whether in the room or in the home garden — it is important that the location should be as bright as possible. Dwarf forms with a maximum of 1.5 meters can grow as decorative pot plants on balconies and terraces for many years. Here, too, frost-free wintering is recommended. In this article you will learn everything about banana plant care.

Worth knowing Site Care Watering Fertilizing Repotting

Pruning Varieties and Species Pests & Diseases FAQ

Interesting facts about banana plants

Botanical name: Musa basjoo, M. balbisiana, M. chessmanii and other species
Other names: Japanese fiber banana, dwarf edible banana, dessert banana, edible banana
Use: houseplant, interior greening, container plant from May to September, conservatory, fruit suitable for consumption
Origin : tropical to subtropical Asia and western Pacific region
flowering

The flower is colorful, oversized, very decorative in shape, it only blooms when it is old.
Sheet

Green, red, some large leaves, can grow up to 2 meters.
Special features: Only a few of the many species produce flowers and edible fruits. Overwintering varies from species to species. Most banana plants should be overwintered in light and frost-free. An even water supply and high humidity are important for care in summer. Only special species are hardy. Some species can grow up to 6 meters tall.

In which location does the banana tree feel most comfortable?

Site selection is very important when caring for banana plants. Musa prefer a light and warm spot in the house. An ideal place is near the window or in the conservatory. From the end of May to September, the exotic houseplant can also stand outdoors in a sunny spot. However, it is important that the banana plant is gradually accustomed to outdoor conditions, otherwise unsightly burns will occur. In autumn, it is important for most banana varieties to be put into their winter quarters in good time, since temperatures from -5 degrees Celsius can damage the exotic species. The rarity grows less in a partially shaded location.Winter-proof variants can also be planted in the bed in the garden. It is important here that you overwinter the perennials carefully. In short, the optimal place is as follows:

houseplant:

  • as bright as possible
  • Location without drafts, but airy
  • high humidity important
  • from the end of May as a plant in a pot outdoors (gradual acclimatization to outdoor conditions)
  • winter frost-free
  • Winter quarters bright and at least 10 degrees Celsius

dark hibernation not ideal, but possible

In the garden:

    • sunny, especially old specimens tolerate sun
    • protected from strong winds so that the foliage does not tear
    • optimally planted near a wall or wall
    • as a balcony plant in large tubs
    • only possible in mild regions

Fleece protection necessary in winter

How do I properly care for my banana plant?

Musa are robust and easy to care for. In addition to need-based watering and regular fertilizing, there are hardly any maintenance measures. Small plants can be showered with lukewarm water once or twice a year. If the plants are too large and unwieldy for this, wiping the leaves with a damp cloth will help. This removes the dust and supports a good development of the plant. Yellow foliage on the plant need not be a cause for concern as the plant grows rapidly, forms a trunk, the old foliage turns yellow and can be cut off. Transplanting into a larger pot is recommended every 2 to 3 years. Important when repotting is the use ofStructurally stable potting soil. If possible, choose a high pot for a better stand and put a layer of expanded clay on the bottom of the pot as drainage. You can buy plants online from us.

How do I water my banana tree properly?

Banana plants are largely made up of water. Therefore, even soil moisture is important for the vitality of the tropical plant. It is important that there is never standing water. Daily spraying with low-lime water helps the banana tree, especially in winter, as dry heating air quickly leads to brown leaf edges. How often you have to water depends on the temperature, the pot size and the radiation. In summer, watering every 1 to 2 days may be necessary. You can also dive smaller plants once a week. Here you place the houseplant in a bucket filled with water and immerse the plant until no more air bubbles rise. The advantage of the immersion method is that the root ball is completely soaked and the banana plant feels so comfortable. Excess water is removed from the flowerpot saucer or planter.

Professional knowledge: The cooler the location, the lower the water requirement. Loss of leaves is usually a sign of too much moisture, sometimes after standing wet.

How do I fertilize my banana tree properly?

Musa need regular fertilizer for good development and rapid growth. A special green plant fertilizer that contains important growth and vital substances and thus helps the plant to look healthy and fresh is ideal for fertilizing. Give the houseplant fertilizer weekly from March to October and once a month in winter. Fertilizing with fertilizer sticks is easy to handle. With this convenient long-term fertilization, your Musa is supplied with all the necessary nutrients, minerals and trace elements for 3 months. It is important that the root ball never dries out after fertilization, otherwise root damage can occur.

Professional knowledge: Light yellow foliage is often an indication of nutrient deficiency. It is important that you ensure a sufficient supply of nutrients.

How do you repot banana trees?

Bananas as indoor plants or patio plants have enormous growth. Therefore transplanting into larger pots is necessary every 1 to 2 years. This care measure is optimal in the spring as soon as the light supply is higher. The new pot for the exotic should be 15 to 20 cm larger than the previous one. It is important that you do not plant banana plants too deep. Use potting soil or a structurally stable peat-sand mixture that does not bind moisture too much. Musa are undemanding, but prefer well-drained soil. You can buy the right potting soil from us.

How do I prune my banana plant?

Musa tolerate pruning well, but do not require pruning. In principle, however, you can cut off old leaves or leaves that are too large. The banana trees grow very quickly, so a cut is often recommended for reasons of space. Use one of our high quality secateurs .

What types of bananas are there?

Dwarf Edible Banana — Musa Dwarf Cavendish

With a maximum height of 1.5 meters, this special variety is ideal for keeping indoors all year round. Conservatories or a place near a south-facing window are ideal. Like all other Musa , Dwarf Cavendish can be outdoors during the summer. With a bit of luck, tasty fruits will form on solitary plants. The lush green leaves with interesting markings are impressive in Dwarf Cavendish. An impressive canopy of leaves quickly forms and a feeling of vacation and exoticism arises on the terrace, balcony or in the room. It is important that these species hibernate indoors.

Hardy Bananas — Musa Basjoo

In addition to the banana plants known as a houseplant, there are some Musa that can stay in the garden. The suitable location for all bananas is as protected as possible from too much moisture and wind. The soil should be improved with a sand-peat mixture, since waterlogging is not optimal, but some moisture should be available. All outdoor specimens require shelter during the Central European winter. Each part of the banana has a different hardiness. The guideline is:

  • The foliage tolerates a maximum of 0 °C without winter protection.
  • The trunk tolerates between -2 and -5 °C.
  • Depending on the variety, the rhizome can withstand between -10 and -20°C.

Hardy banana plants remain planted out in beds with careful winter protection. A layer of leaves or dry straw on the ground is ideal. It also makes sense to build a wooden framework around the perennial. This framework is filled with leaves and straw. Finally, a winter protection fleece can be wrapped around the tropical plant. It is important that no airtight materials are used. Plastic films are unsuitable! The banana tolerates that no light reaches the inside of the plant for months, as a perennial it is in hibernation. From the end of April, the Musa is unpacked again and withered leaves are removed. The care of the hardy Musa is a bit time-consuming, but the stately growth and the imposing appearance make up for the effort.

What pests and diseases can the banana tree get?

Bananas are robust perennials, which are very rarely attacked by diseases and pests in the optimal location. The following pests can occur:

spider mites

The affected leaves have silvery dots on the upper side and webs are visible on the underside of the leaves. It is usually sufficient to spray the plants with water and treat them with plant strengtheners. These bio-active agents contain natural plant extracts that contribute to the vitalization of the plant. An infestation with spider mites occurs particularly at high temperatures and low humidity. Make sure it’s never too dry for the foliage and occasionally mist the beauties with a hand sprayer.

Woolly scale insect

There are white, slightly curved knobs, especially in the leaf axils. The scale insects are safely hidden under these protective shields and are therefore difficult to combat. As soon as you discover the infestation, you should wipe off the scale insects or cut back the plant. The pests can be controlled biologically with oil-based agents. It is important that the application is carried out several times.

Are you looking for more information about pests and diseases or do you have questions about a plant problem? Our plant doctors will be happy to help you – in person and online!

FAQ — Frequently asked questions about Musa

What can be the reason for brown leaf tips?

Brown tips or brown leaves are often a sign of too much water. In addition, dry heating air in winter can damage the leaves. Regular spraying with low-lime water can help to prevent brown leaf tips.

How can banana trees be propagated?

The easiest way to propagate bananas is to obtain cuttings. Separate the offshoots from the mother plant when repotting. In propagation houses with a cover, there is an ideal climate for the young plant. A new leaf quickly sprouts from the rhizome and a new plant emerges. After a few weeks, the young plant can be planted in larger pots. Propagation by seeds can also take place.

Can I grow edible bananas in the garden?

Bananas are topical crops that need lots of sun and warmth. Planting out in the garden is possible in climatically favorable regions. A protected location (on walls or house walls) and professional winter protection are important here. With a bit of luck, the edible bananas will bear fruit and you can harvest your own fruit.

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