Growing your own banana tree can be one of the most satisfying things in the world! These trees not only provide you with delicious fruit, but also add a touch of the tropics to any backyard! As you can imagine, growing a banana tree outdoors requires that you actually live in a tropical or subtropical climate! If you don't live in a warm area, you can also grow banana trees indoors or in a greenhouse as long as you provide the trees with enough sun and heat! Topically, banana trees will thrive in USDA zones 8 through 10.
But now that your banana tree is established…how do you care for it? In this article, we'll show you how to care for banana trees the correct way! Most of the time, banana trees will adapt to their environment, but there are still some very important things you need to know about caring for banana trees! Giving them the proper care can be the difference between healthy trees and amazing tasting bananas and not-so-healthy trees with less than stellar fruits!
Keep reading to learn how to care for banana trees with our easy to follow gardening guide!
How to Care for Banana Trees
Banana trees are actually fast growing herbaceous perennials that grow from rhizomes rather than root!
- Make sure to plant your banana trees in full sun. A banana tree will typically need about 12 hours of sunlight per day.
- This may seem like a lot, but the more sun your tree gets, the better it will produce!
- During the growing season, you must fertilize your banana tree weekly.
- Do this by using a low nitrogen, high potassium fertilizer which will encourage fast growth.
- If you happen to see sun damage on the leaves of the banana plant, place a posted canopy over the leaves. Remove the canopy once the leaves have healed.
How to Water Banana Trees:
- In order to produce sweet fruit and keep their large, tropical leaves, banana trees need to be watered deeply every 2-3 days, especially in hot, summer months.
- Because these trees are directly in the sun, they will need a regular supply of water.
- Only water when the top 1/2 inch of soil is dry. Test the soil with your fingers before watering.
- Banana trees are susceptible to root rot and will therefore NOT thrive in wet soil, but rather die off.
Fertilizing Banana Trees:
- During their growing season, banana trees can be heavy feeders.
- Give them a small amount of balanced fertilizer every time you water.
- Once flowers start appearing, cut back on nitrogen, as this could turn the fruit black.
- As you cut back on the nitrogen, make sure your fertilizer still contains a good amount of potassium.
- When it comes to fertilizing banana trees though, it's best to use an organic fertilizer, such as a liquid seaweed fertilizer which you can actually make yourself! This will not only save you money, but will also ensure healthy, organic fruit!
How to Care for Banana Trees in Winter:
- Depending on where you live, a banana tree will normally be able to survive desert frost and the occasional freeze with little to no damage.
- If you have an unusually cold winter, you may see the leaves “burn” from the frost. Do not remove these leaves as they will usually heal up, plus they'll also provide protection for the stalks.
- Banana trees will usually stop growing if temperatures hit below 50F (10C), but that does not mean the tree will dye!
- Just wait for warm temperatures to come back again, and check to see if your banana tree is growing.
- If not, simply cut back the stalk and wait for new growth. There is no need to dig up the entire tree!
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