Banana trees are fast growing perennials that need a lot of sunlight to grow well. Whether you plant the trees in the ground or in a container, make sure it will get light most of the day. Avoid shady areas at all costs.
Keep in mind that the fruit of the banana tree can easily burn from the sun. Experts recommend covering the west side of fruit-producing banana trees with a shade cloth to prevent burning.
Banana plants can be a bit finicky, so it is very important to use the proper soil mixture. The plants like well-drained soil that is rocky. Soils containing lava sand or lava rock are ideal for banana growing. An ideal soil for banana growing is similar to what you would find in Hawaii.
If you have trouble finding the right type of potting soil, you can use potting soils suitable for growing cactus plants. Do not use regular potting soil or soil taken from your garden. Organo Patio Mix made by GroWell Industries is recommended as a good banana-growing medium by many sources.
Good drainage is vital. The addition of 20 percent perlite to the potting soil mixture will help promote drainage.
Ideally, bananas grow best between temperatures between 54 and 80 degrees Farrenheit. All but the hardiest banana varieties stop growing when temperatures fall below 53 degrees Fahrenheit. Growth stops when temperatures reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
It takes a long time for a banana plant to produce fruit. Count on bananas needing 10 to 15 months with warm temperatures and no frost to produce a flower stalk. The plants also do better when protected from the wind.
Banana trees are a nice addition to gardens and yards, especially in warm climates. While your patience may run a bit thin waiting for a banana to eat, the plants themselves are quite attractive and make very popular house and/or garden foliage plants.
When planting a banana plant, dig a hole that is twice the size of the root system. Make it a depth of one-and-a-half feet. You can put organic composted manure in the bottom of the hole before adding a base of a couple of inches of the appropriate soil. Place the banana plant in the hole and add soil while gently compacting it around the roots.
It is important to make sure the banana plant has sufficient water. It is best to water the plant every other day during the warmest months. A good rule of thumb for establishing the need for water is to feel the soil. When the top one-half to one inch of soil is dry, water is needed.
Beware that you do not over water. Banana plants are susceptible to root rot.
If you’re lucky enough to have your banana plant produce fruit, harvesting can be interesting. The bad news is that you have to cut the plant down to get the fruit. Don’t fret because the plant would die off once it finishes fruiting. The good news is that new plants will grow from the root system.
Interested in learning more about banana growing?
Visit the University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources website for helpful information about diseases and pests that affect banana plants.