The Q&A Archives: Banana Tree

Question: The leaves on my banana tree keep turning brown as soon as they sprout off the trunk. They start off wit brown spots and then the edges of the leaves turn brown and the leaves dry out. This plant is in the house, upstaris in front of a window. Does this tree have a disease?

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 the winter, 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 drafts and cold temperatures (perhaps from air conditioning?), it might be that your plant is showing stress from the local environment. Cut brown leaves off and destroy them. Then keep the plant well watered and wait for new growth. New shoots should develop from the roots. When that happens, 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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