How to care for: Banana plants (Musa)
The Banana plant, or Musa, comes in many shapes and sizes. The banana plant belongs to the family of Musaceae. There are 400 species to be found in nature. Originally, the Banana plant comes from South-East Asia and Australia. In perfect tropical conditions at home, the plant can grow up to 3 meters. In nature, its leaves can even grow up to 2 metres long! In a living room the chance of such large leaves is unfortunately zero.
Water once a week
How do you take care of a Banana plant?
In nature the Banana plant gets a lot of sun. It prefers to get a lot of sun in your living room too. Position the plant in a location where there is a lot of bright direct sunlight. Preferably at least 5 hours a day. Does your Banana plant get too little light? You will soon notice this. The leaves will start hanging, when it gets too little sunlight.
A banana plant needs water at least once a week. In summer it is best to water the plant twice a week. In nature the Banana plant is confronted with a tropical rain shower every day. In order to reproduce such a tropical shower, you can place the plant in the shower on a regular basis. Make sure that the water can drain away well. Otherwise, water will remain in the bottom of the flowerpot and your Banana plant may suffer from root rot. In the winter, a splash of water once a week is enough for a Banana plant.
Plant nutrition is certainly something a Banana plant needs. In summer the plant grows so fast that it could use some extra nutrition. It is best to add a little plant nutrition to its water once every two weeks in summer. Universal plant nutrition is sufficient for a Banana plant. With poor nutrients the Banana plant will not grow as fast and may even hang down a little. In winter, your houseplant does't need any nutrition. Too many nutrients can even cause your plant to die in winter.
The Banana plant is a fast grower. Especially in the summer with all that extra sunlight, the plant can grow out of its flowerpot quickly. Repotting the Banana plant is best to do every year. Especially when the plant is relatively small and continues to grow quite a lot. The best time to repot is in spring, before the plant starts to grow vigorously. Use a flowerpot that is at least 20% larger, than its previous. When repotting, you can simply use universal potting soil. This soil can then be reused for other houseplants.
The Banana plant is a light air-purifying plant. This is mainly due to the large leaves. The large leaf surface gives the plant extra stomata. Banana plant uses these stomata to convert CO2 into oxygen during the day. And that is always good. For you and your home.
Is a Banana plant toxic?
The Banana plant is nowhere near a toxic plant. You can position the plant anywhere without any worry, as it has no toxic compounds that can harm pets or humans.
Diseases and peculiarities
If the air is too dry, the Banana plant can suffer from spider mites. This usually happens in summer. To prevent spider mites, it is best to use the plant sprayer once a week. Spider mites are an infection of mites on plants. You can recognise the infection by infected leaves and a kind of cobwebs. If you have come across spider mites, it is best to place the plant outside. Wind and moisture from outside will quickly keep the spider mite away.
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Frequently asked questions about the Banana plant
Why does my Banana plant die?
Although Banana plants love water, they usually die from a surplus of water. If there is too much water, the roots of the plant can't absorb all the water. Eventually this can lead to root rot.
What are the brown edges on the leaves of my Banana plant?
These brown edges are usually caused by hard water, or too much chalk in the water. The only solution is to provide less hard water.
Why are the leaves of my Banana plant turning yellow?
Yellow leaves on a Banana plant usually indicate too much light. Although the Banana plant loves sunlight, the leaves have to get used to receiving more light.
What should I do with dead leaves on my Banana plant?
You can leave the dead leaves, they are not harmful. It is quite normal for the lower leaves of the Banana plant to die off.
Do you want to remove the dead leaves anyway? Cut the leaves off as close to the stem as possible.
Can a banana plant be placed outside?
Yes, this is certainly possible in the summer months. Make sure you let the plant get used to its new environment. If you place the plant outside, without it being accustomed to the amount of light and humidity, the leaves may burn.
Please note that the Banana plant needs more water once it is outside. This is because the plant uses more energy.
Is the banana plant winter hardy?
Musa basjoo is indeed winter hardy. However, Musa basjoo is usually not sold as an indoor plant. So pay attention to what kind of Banana plant you place outside. Not all Banana plants are winter hardy.