10 EXPERT TIPS FOR GROWING BANANAS IN A POT
Bananas are a delicious exotic plant that grows fast and can make any garden look like a tropical paradise. Many people think that bananas grow on a tree, but they’re actually a herbaceous flowering plant. Another interesting fact for bananas is that they belong to the berry family of fruits.
If you love exotic plants and are interested in growing bananas, but don’t know where to start, you’re at the right place. Did you know that you can grow bananas at home in a pot? The process is far easier than you may think – there are different types of bananas that succeed in pots easily and can withstand low temperatures as well. We’re going to help you pick the right variety and show you how to grow the plant in a pot.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT BANANA VARIETY
Once you decide to grow bananas at home, you’ll need the so-called dwarf bananas. Dwarf bananas has a unique taste that differs from the bananas you buy in the market. They grow 2-4 cm. in size, and there are plenty of varieties to pick from (Cavendish, red banana, Jamaican banana, grand Nain).
If you want to grow a banana as a plant without edible fruits, you should get the musa sikkimensis or musa ornata variety.
BUYING A BANANA TREE
Once you choose the variety, it’s time to buy the tree. You can get banana seedlings online in the form of a rhizome. Once you buy one, you should wash it well with lukewarm water in order to remove fungi and bacteria that may grow on the rhizome. The next step is to plant the rhizome in a pot.
Buy a middle-sized pot with holes at the bottom. Plant the rhizome so that only the tip remains uncovered – you can bury in under soil when the first few leaves form. Once the plant roots, you can transfer it to a bigger pot.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT SPOT FOR THE PLANT
Banana is a tropical plant so it needs a lot of sunlight and moisture in the air – keep these two things in mind when trying to find a spot for it. Choose a sunny area shielded from the wind and put the plant there. It needs a lot of sunlight, although younger plants can do pretty well in half-shaded areas. We recommend putting the plant in the east, south or southeast parts of your home. During winter, it’s best to add artificial lightning as well.
When choosing the soil, go for the best quality you can find. Cheap and low-quality soil will only create problems. Bananas need good drainage and sandy soil, rich in organic material and compost. If you want to make your own soil, mix sand, perlite, compost and some fertilizer. Bananas need a soil with a pH of 6 or 7, so if your soil is alkaline, add some Sulphur to balance the pH value.
As we mentioned before, bananas love moist air, and do best in air moisture over 50%. This means that you’ll need to spray the plant frequently, and keep the pot in a container with gravel and water to increase the moisture around the plant.
The plant must be watered at least once a week, or every other day if the room temperature is high or the plant is in an extremely sunny area. Check the soil humidity before watering – it should at least be at 2.5 cm. If the soil is dry, you should water the plant. Add a layer of mulch to retain the moisture in the soil.
As the plant grows fast, it needs food. Young seedlings need nitrogen-rich fertilizer, and when the plant start bearing fruit, feed it with water-soluble fertilizer (15:5:30).
DISEASES AND PESTS
Bananas are pretty resistant to pests, but they are susceptible to aphids. In order to destroy them, use organic pesticides. If a leaf of the plant turns brown, it means that you’ve overwatered the plant. If the leaves turn yellow, there are not enough nutrients in the soil.
KEEPING THE PLANT ALIVE IN WINTER
When the temperatures drop to -10 C, the plant will stop growing. This is why it needs a nice layer of mulch before winter. Cutting the leaves is a good idea as well, and bringing the plant inside and keeping it in until spring is a must.