The Q&A Archives: Banana Tree

Question: I have a banana tree which seemed to be doing very well. It started to get black areas on the leaves starting at the tips. I cleaned them all off and new leaves sprouted. However the same problem is happening again. What should I do?

Answer: Musa is a tropical shrub that develops a tall stem that resembles a trunk, and long, wide, palm-like leaves. It is better suited to growing in a greenhouse than under average household conditions, but with special care, it might perform well indoors. The black areas on the tips of the leaves indicate under watering, using cold and/or hard water, dry air, overfeeding, low light conditions, or a combination of them all. For best performance, give your banana tree warm temperatures (minimum of 60F in winter), bright light with some direct sunshine, keep the soil very moist at all times, and mist the leaves frequently to increase the amount of humidity around the plant. Keep it out of drafts and use room-temperature distilled water rather than cold tap water. Feed a diluted liquid fertilizer in the spring to encourage new growth, and repeat once in the summer. Next time you water, immerse the pot in a container of water until no bubbles appear on the surface (this process ensures there are no pockets of air around the rootmass). Then keep the soil moist, watering daily if necessary. Following the above guidelines should help restore the health of your banana tree and keep it performing to the best of its ability in its current environment.

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