The Q&A Archives: Banana Tree Problems

Question: I was given two dwarf banana trees for my birthday 2 months ago. I keep the soil moist and water with compost tea once a week (diluted).

All of the leaves on both trees have died. They developed brown spots then dried up turning brown. Also-shoots have come up from the soil and are now growing in the pots.

Can I save my banana tree? What am I doing wrong? What are the shoots?


Answer: Banana trees are actually herbaceous shrubs, with a large stem that resembles a trunk, and large, frond-like foliage. True bananas grow from the species 'Ensete', but most commonly grown Banana trees are 'Musa', which do not produce edible fruit. Culture for both Ensete and Musa are the same; give full sun and lots of water. The tops of either plant may die down in cold weather, but new growth will begin in the spring. Both are very fast growing and need frequent, deep watering during the growing season (spring - summer). Because the leaves are sensitive to cold weather, it might be that your plant is showing stress from winter weather, or from wind, which tends to dry the foliage out. Cut brown leaves off and destroy them. Then keep the plant well watered and wait for new growth in the spring.

The shoots are probably new stems produced by the roots of the plants. Cut away the old, dead portion of the plant and allow the new shoots to grow into a new banana tree.

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