The Q&A Archives: Banana plant leaf problem

Question: My banana tree looks as if something is eating it. The full leaves that are there have brown splotches and holes and the leaves that are trying to come out are stunted. Could this be slugs?

Answer: If you have slugs and snails in your garden, they're sure to find the leaves of your banana tree quite tasty. Control the slugs or snails by setting traps or baiting. 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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