The Q&A Archives: Dying Banana Tree

Question: I have a dwarf banana tree and the leaves are turning brown. It is in a very lg. pot and I do fertilize it with Miracle-gro. When the new leaves begin to grow they are green but soon they turn brown. I also keep it indoors but bringing outside on warm days. P.S. The plant is almost 1 yr. old.

Answer: Bananas do best with temperatures over 60 degrees and plenty of water and plenty of nutrients when they are actively growing, although they will not tolerate being kept soggy in poorly drained soil. Based on your description it is impossible to tell if your plant is protesting the outdoor sunlight or is possibly overwatered or underwatered, as either one could cause the symptoms you describe. When the plant has been indoors all winter, it needs to acclimate slowly to the strength of real sunlight so the leaves can adjust. To do this start by setting it in a shady spot and gradually move it so that it receives more light each day, begin with morning sun and move it so that it eventually receives sun all day long. For watering, the rule of thumb is to keep it moist (not dry and not soggy) and to use a soil mix that is one third peat moss, one third perlite and one third potting soil and to water daily when the plant is actively growing. If the plant is not growing fast yet, be careful not to overwater it. Finally, it is normal for old leaves to turn brown as the new leaves replace them. Good luck with your tree!

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