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Banana tree care

Latin name: Musa paradisiaca

The banana tree (Musa paradisiaca) is a plant, widely cultivated in the tropics, monocotyledonous, herbaceous, often tree-sized. With its leaves covering each other, it creates a 3-5 meters high trunk. It has a hanging compound cluster of flower. It produce 50–70kgs of artery fruit (harvest actually) per year, which is rich in starch. These fruits are berries. The average 10–15cm long, curved, rounded, greenish yellow fruits are located on a common pseudostalk. In banana export, now Ecuador is on the first place.

Although big, hard seeds can be found in the wild version of the fruit, the grown triploid version is seedless. In the absence of seeds, it is reproducing asexually, therefore grown bananas can be considered as clone of each common ancestor, and the resulting monoculture reduces the resistance to diseases.

In Hungary, dwarf banana tree - in its scientific name Musa nana or Musa cavendishii - gets in the flower shops in small potted specimens. However, keeping the banana tree is mostly just interesting to us, making it grow is still not a cheap hobby.

The banana trees - even dwarf banana trees - with their considerable, more than 2 meters height, make us think they are woody plants. In fact, all of the banana trees are monocotyledonous, perennial plants. The perennial part is the underground rhizome. Pseudostalk are grow out from this. The hollow inside trunk is made of half-one meter long leaf stalk bushings, leaves are spirally arranged.

The female flowers (which can develop into fruit) appear in rows further up the stem (closer to the leaves) from the rows of male flowers.The typically shaped, likely consumed, yellow seedless fruits grow out from each of its flowers without fertilization. It is peculiar, that clusters of banana are extracted in their green colour according to long-distance transport, and they become pretty yellow on 14-15°C in one-six weeks.

There are few months till production begins, in our country even two years. Even dwarf banana tree can reach its 2, 2.5 height during that period. On this height, almost one meter wide, bright green, brown-spotted leaves are spreading out. The plant gives space to its descendants on the trunk (getting dry after ripening of fruits) already during its lifetime.

Buying banana tree is recommended mostly in the end of March and beginning of April. Then we have time to raise it in summer, and we will have a big and strong banana tree by the time of searching a wintering place, what can survive the winter. Most of the banana trees arrive to Hungary are in too small pots, therefore it is recommended to transpose them into twice bigger pots.

Requirements and care:

Light and heat requirements:

It is tipycal of its raising, that it needs a lot of light and heat, but the hot summer heat slowes down its growing, the temperature around 20–25°C are the best for the plant. On warmer temperature, leaves of the banana tree get yellowish, so in the heat it is worth moving the plant to a shaded place. In winter, on temperature around 16°C its growing continues. At this time, the adult plant can grow its harvest well in 3-4 months. In winter, it can be kept on temperature around 10°C, on a place which is not too poor in light. Untill the age of growing, it can stand winter even on an unheated place, but in that case it has to be covered in order to avoid the frost. Being in the room wintertime, keep it close to the window and far from the heating unit.

Watering requirements:

As it is originally from South Asia, the potted-bowled banana tree also needs a plenty of water supply. When it is warm, it is especially important to water it regularly, if possible, with mild water, preferably rain water. The water temperature should not be under 13–14°C. It also suffers of too wet soil, as a result of excessive watering.

If possible, advantageous humid circumstances can be created by regulary water spraying of the big leaves in summer. The serious browning of leaves can be a result of the lack of water or humidity.

In winter, regarding to its period of rest, water it rarely with small amounts of water, just in order not to let the soil dry. Avoid watering the base of leaves and leaves, because it can cause browning, and even rotting. In such a case it is worth placing the pot on a wet tray covered with gravel.

Further care:

Its soil should have good drainage. The soil or soil mixture of loose structure, rich in humus and nutrients, with neutral or slightly acidic pH is appropriate for raising the banana tree all its lifetime. Remaining parts of pine, cow fertilizer and clay in equal proportions are enough for us to make good soil for the plant.

Its nutrient needs are very high. Satisfying that, it is important to give it fertilizer juice or nutrient solution made of compound fertilizers in 0.5% concentration.

In the beginning of raising, in the first two years, it should be transposed into bigger and bigger pots because its especially fast growing. As big leaves can get damaged easily, they may become cracked as a comb, so it should be moved outdoors and to the garden for summer only if there is a sunny place for it, sheltered from the wind.

Unfortunately, the plant blooms only after the first, mostly the second year, but it worth waiting for it, because 60-80 days after the blooming, we can harvest the fruits.

In the beginning of blooming it is especially important to keep the plant under equally warm and humid air circumstances. Beside its wide size, warmth and humidity requirements also makes complicated the indoor keeping of the plant. Because of that, raising it to harvest is recommended only for those, who have a large, high greenhouse, or 1-2 m2s of free space under a foil for cover.


Its domestic propagation is the simplest by separating the small sprouts from the trunk in autumn. After careful removing of inches of grown sprouts, they can be transposed into relatively small pots and loose soil. They need warm place, sheltered from the blazing sun. Preventing their dehydration, they can be kept under glass or foil cover, until the hopefully strong root taking. It's takes a few weeks.

Most common diseases, pests of the Banana tree, main reasons of their destruction:

Abnormal leaf browning can be caused by the lack of water and humidity.
In winter, no water should get to the base of leaves or leaves, because browning, rotting can occur.

If the plant is not developing, or it do not grow new sprouts, that is because of the small amount of soil and the lack of nutrients, it is worth transposing that and fill the deficit with nutrient solution.

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