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Tips on growing a dwarf banana tree?

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
by Amany on April 28, 2006 09:17 AM
Hello all.

Two days ago I became the proud owner of a dwarf banana plant. It's about 18 inches tall and is in a 3.5" pot. I read the section about banana plants on this site, and other articles online, but I still have (quite) a few questions:

I've read that it needs lots of root space. Does that mean I should repot right away? How big a pot should I put it in? Clay or plastic?

After watering it the leaves dripped beads of water. Why is that?

Potting soil... I've read to add perlite to potting soil. I've read to use strictly peat moss. And I've read to use a sandy type of potting soil. What do you guys suggest? Can I use half succulent, half potting soil mix (sphagnum moss, perlite & peat)?

Is it necessary to mist everyday? I have it in the most humid room in my apartment on top of a pepple tray.

I've read to use a weak dilution of balanced fertilizer at almost every watering when it's in active growth. I've even read to use tomato fertilizer. Does that make sense?

When it's no longer growing actively, should I cut out the fertilizer completely or should I still use it on occasion?

I've read that some people cut off the leaves when they get brown. I read somewhere else to leave them on and let them fall off so the plant can reabsorb nutrients. Which is right?

Please chime in even if you only know 1 or 2 answers to my questions. I want to do right by this little guy.
by margaret e. pell on April 28, 2006 11:05 AM
I had a dwarf banana for quite a while (until my father-in-law took care of it) and it grew beautifully. I kept it in normal potting soil in a plastic pot, since it likes even moisture. I certainly would repot yours in about 1 or 2 weeks, after it gets used to your humidity/light levels - one big change at a time. I never misted mine. We've got such hard water that misting always makes spots on the leaves. Dripping water from the leaves is normal transpiration behavior for some tropicals. My big philodendron does the same. Bananas are related to grass; sun + water + nitrogen fertilizer = growth. Use a diluted to ~1/4 strength balanced fertilizer so you don't stress it in other ways or get deficiency problems (plants can get mineral deficiency problems). I don't like to shock my plants by quick start or stop to fertilizing. I taper up and down by using it every other watering for a month or so in spring and fall. I always take dead leaves off indoor plants. Since I can't create a perfect ecology, I'm afraid some kind of fungus or bugs will live in them without whatever would have counteracted it in nature. I kept my banana in semi-sun to light shade indoors and put it out every summer where it got a few hours of morning sun and then dappled sun for the rest of the day. I haven't thought about that plant in years. Writing this is making me miss it. Maybe I'll get another one. Good luck with yours, they're really beautiful plants!

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may God bless the WHOLE world!
by Amany on April 28, 2006 03:48 PM
Thanks Margaret.
Your advice has helped me a lot.
by Amany on April 29, 2006 09:07 AM
Are spider mites a given when growing one of these?

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