There are over 60 different cultivars of the Banana Plant, most of them not fit for indoor gardening. Most of the indoor varieties do not produce fruit or if they do, the fruit is not edible.
Origin: Southeast Asia
Light: Most types of bananas plants prefer bright, indirect sun. Some variegated varieties can scorch easily and will do better in partial shade. Banana trees can also adapt to lower light levels but will grow slower.
Water: Since banana trees are tropical and originate in rain forests, they need a lot of water and plenty of moisture in the air. They do best when in groups rather than as single specimens. Keeping plants close together helps retain moisture in the leaves. Provide about half a cup of water weekly and check frequently to make certain the soil stays evenly moist. Avoid over-watering which can cause root rot. The soil should be moist but not soggy at all times, if possible.
Soil: The soil should be well-drained, deep, and organically amended. Slightly acidic soil (5.5 to 6.5 pH) is preferred.
Temperature: Bananas thrive in warm, humid conditions, but protect plants against temperature extremes as much as possible. Even very hardy, cold tolerant banana plants like consistent temperatures ranging between 18 and 25 degrees Celsius.
Fertilizer: This plant has large leaves which form very rapidly during the growing season, so much so a brand new leaf every 10 days isn’t uncommon, therefore feeding on a frequent basis is a must to fuel that level of growth. Feed well every 1 or 2 weeks using either a general liquid house plants fertilizer. Do not fertilise when the plant isn’t growing or if you don’t want to support any new growth, for example if it’s already overgrown and further height is undesired.
Humidity: The leaves might look tough but are actually very delicate and will rip easily if certain conditions are poor. Low humidity is often a contributing factor to leaf damage so moisture retentive pellets in the drip tray would be helpful, along with a regular misting.
Pruning: Banana plants that don’t fruit rarely require pruning. The only reasons to prune a musa tropicana are to control its size, remove dead or old leaves, or restore its shape.
Re-Potting: Young plants, also known as “pups”, will fill small pots quickly so you need to repot them into bigger ones quite frequently, this may be as much as two or three times in the first year. Normal potting compost at this stage is all you need. As they get older you can reduce the repotting to once a year.
Propagation: The easiest and probably the only way in which you’ll propagate your banana tree is by division. The banana tree shoots baby banana trees and when those pups grow and develop a root system of their own – you can go ahead and divide them from the mother plant.
Diseases and Pests: Root rot can affect banana plants if you are over-watering them (although they’re less susceptible to it than other tropical plants).
Toxicity: These plants are not toxic so they’re perfect for households with pets that tend to nibble on plants.
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