The Q&A Archives: Dwarf Banana

Question: I recently received a "Novak" super dwarf banana tree. I am hoping to use it as a dot plant in our summer landscape here in far southeastern Michigan. I would like to know what type of conditions are best for the tree, when I should plant it out and lift it for winte,r and approximately how tall the tree will get. This is my first experiment with a tropical plant so if you can suggest any other ideas I would appreciate it.

Answer: Your dwarf banana tree will grow only 3'-4' tall with broad, 3' leaves. As a tropical plant that needs protection during the winter months, you might want to plant it in a container rather than dig and transplant it in the spring and autumn months. (You can sink the container into the ground during the summer months and no one will be the wiser.) This plant spreads by underground roots and will form clumps if given the opportunity. You can help it spread by providing a container large enough to accommodate some additional root mass. Site your tree in full sunshine, protected from wind (which will tear the leaves). Give it ample water all year around and feed monthly with a diluted liquid fertilizer. Banana trees are damaged at temperatures below 60F, so don't leave your plant outdoors if the nighttime temperature dips below 60F. When your plant is indoors, mist the leaves every day to increase humidity around the plant. Specimen plants are fun to have in the landscape and are worth the extra care required. Your tree may even bear fruit!

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