Ask a Question forum: Red Banana plant dying

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Name: Kevin Langley
London UK
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AmberLeaf
Mar 2, 2017 6:33 AM CST
Hi there,

Up until recently my red banana had been doing so well but 2 weeks ago its leaves have started to die. The stem of the plant still looks green and healthy. I've since removed all the dead leaves in hoping that I can revive the plant but somehow I don't think its going to make which is really annoying as its nearly Spring time. I have always made sure that its been kept watered and fed it currently has 3 leaves left 2 leaves are pretty much dead leaving one green leaf left.

The plant has always been indoors. I'm going to be very annoyed if this plant dies as red banana plants are very hard to find here in the UK during planting season, last year I couldn't get my hands on any until Autumn time. I was really looking forward to putting this outside for Spring/summer.

Is there a chance that my red banana plant will grow back if it loses all its leafs or do I just cut my loses on it?

I have other tropical plants like Mango plants which have all been doing very well and thriving.

Another question is when is the best time to put plants outside in the UK London?

Many thanks.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
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Shadegardener
Mar 2, 2017 10:11 AM CST
Kevin - I have a dwarf Cavendish banana in a pot. It is outdoors during warm weather but I have to bring it indoors once it starts getting cold. We don't get a lot of sun here during winter - mostly cloudy. I've found that my banana really likes as much light as I can give it and warm temps. Otherwise, it languishes all winter, losing leaves or young leaves just won't unfurl. Maybe some supplemental lighting would help. I usually don't take it outdoors until nights are 60F or above which is the end of May/beginning of June. I'd say it's worth giving it a chance at warmer weather before tossing it.
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Mar 2, 2017 10:33 AM CST
I don't grow any type of bananas here, simply because I know how much intense light, water, humidity, heat it wants, seeing how it grows in our very humid homeland. In my homeland, temperatures do not go much below 70F (21C) typical of tropical island nations surrounded by warm bodies of water. As daytime comes about, temps just goes higher and conditions go very hot and humid, which bananas loves a lot with full sun bearing down on it. That is why you will never find them being grown indoors over there, always outdoors.

Indoors is really not its preferred growing habitat. Unless you can make your growing area have sustained, very tropical ambience of temps 70F and higher, with matching humidity and light, then bananas would endure much better.

Most tropicals would slow down while indoors as it waits for conditions to improve. So some have to augment their lighting while waiting for winter to finish.

We have some growers here in NGA growing bananas in colder regions and they just chop them down in Fall, and layer it with very thick mulch several feet deep to protect it from cold. Then they wait patiently for warmer conditions to return.
Name: Kevin Langley
London UK
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AmberLeaf
Mar 12, 2017 9:51 AM CST
The temperature is always above 70F in my house I don't think they need much humidity tho. There are lots of people growing them around my area during spring and summer.

If I cut all the leafs off just leaving it with the stork, will it grow back?
[Last edited by AmberLeaf - Mar 12, 2017 9:51 AM (+)]
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Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
Sunset Zone 15
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Calif_Sue
Mar 12, 2017 10:35 AM CST

Moderator

Don't know anything about growing indoors but I have mine outside in a large pot and cut everything off in the winter, the leaves are mush from the frost of course, and it always comes back.

@tarev, you should be able to grow them outdoors, I bought mine over 11-12 years ago. The below shot is from 2007. I need to to divide and repot it this year for sure.

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Name: Kevin Langley
London UK
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AmberLeaf
Mar 13, 2017 7:59 AM CST
I think what I'm going to do is cut the last dead leaf off and put it outside and see if it comes back. There is a new leaf starting to emerge so maybe there is still hope.

I've had a spider plant "Chlorophytum comosum, Variegatum"growing in my garden all year around I put it out last Autumn as I no longer wanted the plant and I was expecting it to dye in winter but to my amazement its still alive and greener than ever before and even flowers in winter. My garden is pretty shaded from frost so maybe I could just leave the banana out there in the future as well.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Mar 13, 2017 9:48 AM CST
Hi Sue, not on my side, by end of Spring to summer, it is just too dry here. In your area, yes, it will thrive better, you have better bay area influence there. Here it just gets bone dry when dry weather returns. Unless I am willing to generously water it everyday or even twice a day. We get that very hot and dry inland conditions here. So funny, how it varies as we cross the Altamont, like a whole new environment, the effect of our differing micro climates.

Kevin, spider plant has different needs, much easier to grow...it actually enjoys too our mild winter conditions here because that is the time we get Mother's Nature's juice, so I have it growing outdoors year round. You can certainly try and experiment with your banana plant, but it is under stress now, and exposing to much colder temps when it is still winter is rather risky.

Of course once mid Spring and Summer is in, the plant may bounce back, as temps are getting more comfortable. But I do wish you luck! Sometimes, plants do surprise us with its fighting endurance.
Name: Cheryl
Texas (Zone 9a)
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ShadyGreenThumb
Mar 13, 2017 9:54 AM CST
Beautiful banana @Calif_Sue. How big is your pot? I have an Ice Cream Banana in a pot (and one in the ground) The one in the pot gets more sun and is getting bigger and bigger. It was over-wintered in the greenhouse. It is currently in a 20" pot.

The outdoor Ice Cream Banana was covered and did not freeze back. But I did cut the cold-affected leaves. It has a new leaf shoot on it now. It gets half the sunlight as the potted tree and is half as tall.
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Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
Sunset Zone 15
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Calif_Sue
Mar 13, 2017 9:54 PM CST

Moderator

No idea how big @ShadyGreenThumb, it's in the biggest resin pot (the ones that look a bit like clay) that I could find, so it's easier to move around. It could be 20-25" wide.
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Name: Kevin Langley
London UK
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AmberLeaf
Mar 15, 2017 6:11 AM CST
Update: I've got to the bottom of the problem with the banana plant, it turns out its been attacked by a parasite, which explains why it suddenly died after doing so well during the winter months.

The temperature and lighting was not an issue otherwise my other tropical plants would be dead such as my mango trees and my other 2 small banana Cavendish plants and they are doing very well.

I've put the red banana plant outside now, its a very nice sunny day here in London UK. I got a very big surprise today when I went out into my garden to find that my apricots are coming up and they have been outdoors during winter, they took a long time to sprout I must say, almost a year in fact Thumbs up .

I've also had an interesting chat with somebody who grows banana plants in his garden at the end of my street and he told me that he never brings his banana plants indoors and that they always come back in Spring time providing that they are well shaded from frost during the winter.

I'm going to order another red banana plant just encase my current one doesn't make it this Spring/summer.

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