The Q&A Archives: Banana Trees

Question: Planted some Banana trees early spring 1999. They did very well util the fall Hurricane Irene Cut back the damaged leaves(salt and wind damage) Trees still look wilted and new leaves turn brown before they entirely open. Shuld they take this long to recover from hurricane? (5 months)
What type of fertilizer do I use. I have palm tree fertilizer, is that ok to use?

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, it might be that your plant is showing stress from wind, which tends to dry the foliage out, or from excess salt in the soil. Cut brown leaves off and destroy them. You can even cut the entire plant down to ground level if the entire thing looks unhealthy. Then keep well watered and wait for new growth in the spring.

Until you can leach the excess salt from the soil, don't fertilize (which will add more salt).

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