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May 9, 2020 10:05 AM CST
Thread OP


I am brand new to taking care of tropical plants. I got a Red Banana and Christmas Palm on clearance at the end of last Summer. I live on Long Island, NY and was hopeful they would survive the colder months indoors. They have (I'm pretty sure Thinking ) but they are STRUGGLING! Looking for lots of advice on how to help them bounce back!

Red Banana:
-Clearly no longer has any hint of red. Not sure if this is normal while not in growing season, or if that's a result of me doing something wrong.

-Still producing about 1 leaf per week (they had looked a good bit healthier than the one pictured, but I tried to bring it outside in the Sun for a few days since it's been warmer lately, but I think the cold at night probably hurt it). Also cut off 2 leafs recently because they snapped and were hanging. Overall, it seems weaker and that happens a lot. Again, not sure if that's normal or results of my error.

Christmas Palm:
-Very Sparse and brown. Still has its spike in the middle growing very slowly, but that's honestly the only thing that's been reassuring me it's still alive.

-I re-potted it several months ago into a larger container and used Miracle Grow Moisture Control soil, which I think I am now realizing was a mistake. From what I'm reading, I'm supposed to be using fast draining soil. I felt like I was constantly forgetting to water it, so I opted for that soil, but it definitely holds water more than it seems like is ideal for a palm.

For both, I have been using the fertilizer in the image. That's just what my local nursery had. Should I be using something different? How much and how often should I be using?

Should I re-pot them with new soil? If so, please recommend what kind.

How often should I be watering and how much? The Palm is 8ft and the Banana is about 6 ft (if that matters)

I am including a picture of each of the plants at the end of last Summer when they were growing strong! Please help me figure out how to bring these back to the vibrant plants they were last Summer...or let me know if they are damaged beyond repair! Thanks in advance!

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May 11, 2020 10:24 AM CST
Name: Will Creed
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Both your plants are very difficult to maintain successfully indoors. Both require a great deal of direct sunlight all day and all year long and that is hard to do indoors. After being indoors all winter, they struggle to adapt when moved outside when warmer weather returns.

Repotting and fertilizer are not going to help. Even proper watering is not a substitute for lots of good sunlight.

Once temps are consistently above 50 degrees at night, you can try moving them outside into a shaded location. Otherwise, keep them inside in front of a very sunny window.

Water when the top inch of soil feels dry.

Keep your expectations low as full recovery is very unlikely.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
May 11, 2020 1:05 PM CST
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Amaryllis Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Orchids Master Gardener: Florida Irises
Herbs Region: Florida Vegetable Grower Daylilies Birds Cat Lover
I agree with Will. Sunlight is what your plants need. Move them gradually over a week or so to a place in front of your sunniest window. Also agree, these aren't good house plants. May survive but most likely won't thrive without a climate controlled greenhouse.

In addition, warmth and humidity are essential to these guys. I wouldn't rush to get them outside, rather do it gradually again, and by all means do not leave them out if the night temperature will be below 55 or so. Acclimate them to a warm sunny spot for the summer and see how they respond. Get them back indoors as soon as the nights start to be chilly.

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
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