If you miss the last post on how to start a banana plant Click Here. This is the completing part of this awesome post – How to start a banana plat.
Caring For Your Plant
1 Fertilize monthly a short distance from the trunk. Use store bought fertilizer, compost, manure, or a mixture of these. Add fertilizer immediately after planting in an even ring around the banana plant and repeat at monthly intervals.
• Young plants require 0.1–0.2kg (0.25–0.5lbs) each month, rising to 0.7–0.9kg (1.5–2lbs) for an adult plant. Increase gradually as your plant grows.
• If the temperature falls below 14ºC(57ºF) or if the banana plant hasn’t grown since last month, skip the fertilization.
• Fertilizers are usually labeled with three numbers (N-P-K) representing the amount of Nitrogen, Phosphorus (Potash), and Potassium. Bananas require very high amounts of Potassium, but the other nutrients are important as well. You can use a balanced fertilizer (three numbers roughly equal) or a fertilizer that addresses deficiencies in your soil.
• Do not use manure produced in the last few weeks, as the heat it releases while decomposing can damage the plant.
2. Water frequently but avoid overwatering. Underwatering is a common cause of banana plant death, but over watering can cause the roots to rot.
• In warm growing weather without rain, you may need to water your plant daily, but only if the top 1.5–3 cm (0.5–1in.) of soil is dry. Test with your finger before watering.
• Reduce the amount of water per session if the plant is sitting in water for long periods. (That can cause root rot).
• In cooler temperatures when the banana is barely growing, you may only need to water once every week or two. Remember to check soil moisture.
• Leaves help evaporate excess moisture, so be careful not to soak (just moisten) a young plant that has not yet grown leaves.
• Water the ring of fertilizer as well to help it soak into the soil.
3. Add mulch. Remove dead leaves and banana plants and chop them up to place around the live plants. Other yard waste and wood ash can also be added to return nutrients to the soil.
• Check the mulch regularly and remove any weeds that are growing. These can compete with the banana plant.
4. Keep an eye out for discolorations, dying leaves, and pests. If diseased plants are discovered, identify and treat them immediately, or uproot them. Insect pests should also be controlled as soon as they are found. Nitrogen and potassium deficiencies are the two most common nutritional problems for bananas, so learn to recognize the signs.
• Signs of nitrogen (N) deficiency: very small or pale green leaves; reddish pink leaf sheathes; poor growth rate; small fruit bunches.
• Signs of potassium (K) deficiency: rapid appearance of orange/yellow color on leaves followed by leaf death; small or broken leaves; delayed flowering; small fruit bunches.
• Examples of major plant diseases include: Bacterial Wilt/Moko Disease; Panama Disease/Fusarium Wilt; Banana Bunchy Top; Blackhead/Root Rot/Toppling Disease; and Black Leaf Streak.
• Examples of major plant pests include: Corn Weevil; Banana Aphid; Mealy Bugs. Fruit pests include: Flower Thrips; Red Rust Thrips; and Scarring Weevil.
5. De-sucker your plants. Once your plant is mature and has several suckers, remove all but one to improve fruit yield and plant health.
• Cut all but one sucker off at ground level and cover the exposed plant with soil. Repeat with a deeper cut if they grow back.
• The surviving sucker is called the follower and will replace the mother plant after it dies.
• Exceptionally healthy plants can support two followers.
6. Support the plant to avoid toppling of the plant due to strong wind or bunch weight.There are 3 easy ways of doing it:
• Wire/Rope and Bottle Method: Cut off the bottom of a plastic bottle. Insert a very long wire/very strong twine through the mouth and bottom of the bottle. Crunch the bottle to make it bendable and soft. Prop up the banana stem on the bottle, and use the wire to pull the stem slightly more upright. Tie the write to a strong support.
• Single Bamboo Method: Use a 3m (10′) long bamboo pole or other strong, durable material. Cut a piece of Y-shaped wood 10cm (4″) thick and 60cm (2′) wide. Let the stem rest on the middle of the “Y” and push the bamboo upwards a little bit so the stem is wedged into the “Y” tightly. Bury the other end of the bamboo (the base) deeply into the ground. Tamp very firmly.
• Double Bamboo Method: Use two 3m (10′) long bamboo poles. On one end of the poles, tie them together with strong wire 30cm (1′) from the end. Open up the poles to form a letter “X”. Let the stem rest on the short end, push upwards a little bit to create pressure, and bury the other ends of both poles. Tamp very firmly.
7. Provide overwinter care. If temperature during winter months falls too low for your plant, there are several ways to care for it:
• Cover the stem with a blanket or soil. If there is no frost and the plant is still small, this may be adequate protection until the temperature rises high enough for it to grow again.
• Store the plant inside. Uprooting the entire plant, removing the leaves, and store in moist sand in a heated indoor area. Do not water or fertilize; the plant will go dormant until you’re ready to plant it outside again.
• Grow the plant inside. This will require a large pot with drainage hole. If you don’t want to grow your banana too big for your pot, you may need to cease or reduce the fertilizer treatments.
• Salvage pieces to plant later. If frost or cold has killed most of your plant, chances are the suckers and corm at the base are still usable. Cut these away from the dead portion and store them in their own small pots to plant outside later.
Nurturing And Harvesting Fruit
1. Wait for the purple flower to emerge. The typical banana plant flowers in 6-7 months under ideal conditions, but may take up to a year depending on the climate.
• Never remove the leaves around the flower, as they protect it from the sun.
• Do not confuse this with the Banana Bunchy Top Virus. See Tips below.
2. Wait for the petals to withdraw and reveal banana bunches. This may take an additional 2 months or longer. Each bunch is called a “hand” and each individual banana, a “finger”.
3. Once all bunches are revealed, remove the extra portions. The remaining flower bud and/or tiny extra banana hand are the sterile male portions of the plant. The hand should wither off on its own, but removing the flower bud will cause the plant to put more energy into growing fruit.
• The male portion of the flower is called the “banana heart”. Some varieties of banana plants produce edible banana flowers that are popular in Southeast Asian cuisine, but not all are suitable for consumption.
• Use a stick to prop up the plant if the bunches are dragging it down.
4. Cover the bunch with plastic covers. This will protect the fruit from insects and other dangers, but they must be open at both ends to allow adequate air and water flow.
• Tie the nylon or plastic sack with soft twine several inches from the first hand.
5. Harvest bananas when the flowers or plant are dying. The small flower at the tip of each banana will become dry and easily rub off, or the banana plant will lose most of its leaves. This is a good time to harvest the fruit.
• Cut a notch halfway into the tree, opposite the side of the bunch.
• Carefully let the tree bend and cut off the bunch.
• The fruit will ripen quickly once harvested, so you may want to pick some well in advance of harvesting so you don’t end up with excess fruit that will go to waste.
6. Cut the stem of the tree and prepare the next sucker. Remove the top half of the banana stem once you harvest the fruit. Desucker the base using the same process as you have while caring for your plant.
• Remember to leave one sucker to replace the now-dying mother plant.
I hope this helps. You can leave your comments bellow and lets learn together.