HELP SAVE MY BANANA PLANT! (Pictures)

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by agentcooper, May 3, 2019.

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  1. agentcooper

    agentcooper New Member

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    dying-banana-plant.png


    I bought a large banana plant early this year. The previous owner recommended that we wait till the outdoor temperature at a minimum 5°C / 41°F to transfer to plant in order to minimize the shock to its root and repotting, so we waited till early March.

    The owner sawed the root out from the previous planter and we moved it back to mine, and I got a 25" wide 20" tall pot for the plant. Everything was peachy. A couple of weeks later, the leaves started falling. So we cut the broken leaves off.

    It was downhill from there. Leaves kept on breaking/falling and a sucker keeps sprouting. I would try and dig out the soil around the sucker and cut it from as deep as I could. But it's no use; it keeps popping out every week.

    Now, there are 2 leaves left and they're browning.

    Is there hope left?

    I read a bunch of articles and here are what I know:
    1. Definitely not too much water. Top 2" soil is quite dry and going deeper it's moist.
    2. It's facing the same side (south west) by the window so it should get the same sunlight as before.
    3. No fertilizer yet but when I repotted it I chopped up broken leaves and mixed in with the soil, as I was told that's the best plant food for banana trees.
    4. Cut off some of the thick brown layers on its trunk.

    I feel pretty hopeless.
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2019
  2. pmurphy

    pmurphy Rising Contributor

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    First did the previous owner identify the variety, musa basjoo perhaps? - this is a cold hardy variety that will die back in the winter and re-sprout in the spring if planted outside.
    Second, where was the plant located prior to you getting it - my guess would be inside, judging by the green growth on it - and where are you currently keeping the plant (photos look like inside)

    Keep in mind that the plant has already gone through stress when it was removed from the old pot (with force by the sounds of it) and moved to a new environment.

    That being said, one of the most common reasons for banana leaves to turn yellow is temperature. If it is too cold they will turn yellow and die, and at this time of year it is just getting warm enough for basjoo to start sprouting outside so if you have taken a plant from inside and put it outside it will be suffering from this stress. If the plant has been inside the entire time, it could be that there is difference in the temperature between where it is - right in front of a window - and where it was. It also appears that the new leaf is leaning in your photos, which means it is seeking light and very few homes have the correct lighting for plants - bananas require full sun.

    The other thing to note is the brown on the leaves which could signify either temperature and/or water issues, either too much or not enough. Both too much and too little water can stress the plant, resulting in leaves turning brown due to the inability of waterlogged roots to circulate moisture and nutrients, or insufficient water for the roots to circulate. Bananas love water but they need good drainage. You have to make sure the soil around drains efficiently and that the plant gets a thorough soaking regularly to help avoid problems with the foliage. Container-grown banana plants especially need pots with good drainage and a growing medium that retains moisture but does not get soggy; do not let them sit in water.

    However basjoos (if that is what it is) can take a lot of abuse and will recover is most cases. As long as there are no other issues with the plant - such as insect infestation - it might be possible to encourage the plant to regrow by cutting off the entire top third of the plant and it will resprout from that point....which, judging by the photos, has been done in the past. But before you attempt this you will have to correct the current problem.


    As for the sucker, if the plant is really sick this would be its way of trying to continue by producing a "pup". You can leave these to grow and you will eventually end up with a clump or "mat" of bananas.
     
  3. agentcooper

    agentcooper New Member

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    I’m not sure about the species… I bought the plant from someone who housed the plant indoors for the past 3 years, it’s never been grown outdoors before. And as I also live in downtown and have no balcony so it cannot be moved outdoors. It is at a spot that's getting the most amount of sun available. Not sure if it's enough though.
    As for temperature - it is getting warmer now but there aren’t signs of any new leaves growing out from the middle. The middle actually looks quite dead.

    The pot does not have a drainage hole sadly but I did put a bunch of rocks at the bottom. Definitely not too much water, could be too little if anything.
    And thanks for the tips - I'll stop cutting out the pups.
     

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