The Q&A Archives: Saving My Bananas

Question: I have two banana plants who's leaves were shreaded in the recent Santa Ana wind storms we had in Southern California. They are about 15ft tall and one of them is beginning to turn yellow and black. I fear that they are dying.

Can I cut them down in early January and still have the plant re-grow in the spring?

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 weatherand wind, which tends to dry the foliage out, they can lose their leaves. In your case, cut the brown leaves off and destroy them. Then keep the plant well watered and wait for new growth in the spring.

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