Indoor Banana - How to Grow a Tropical Miracle
Large-leafed, bright and literally breathing exotic bananas are the most popular of “fruit” exotics. Many people try to grow them, but it is very rare to save plants until a decent age. Despite its very reasonable price and ease of propagation, indoor bananas are not simple plants. They need to create such conditions in which they would feel like in a tropical paradise. And the slightest deviations from their favorite humidity and temperature lead to the inevitable loss of beauty of the leaves.
So different indoor bananas
Indoor bananas remain fruitful plants, although most often they are grown only for decorative purposes. Too many conditions must be met in order for very mature banana bushes to please the miniature fruits in the room.
Fruiting is more of a reward for impeccable care. The main aesthetic pleasure of bananas is brought by huge, with reddish tides, fancifully unwound from the tubes, forming leaves with their petioles cylindrical trunk.
The slightest discomfort and difference from the required conditions leads to the beginning of drying of the sheet. Moreover, on the gigantic banana leaves, this process looks disastrous.
To grow bananas in rooms, it is better to choose according to the degree of "non-capriciousness." Many decorative and dwarf fruit-bearing bananas cannot boast of resistance even to slight deviations from ideal humidity. They can only be grown in a greenhouse with a controlled microclimate. But there are species that are much better suited to room conditions:
- pink velvet banana (Musa velutina);
- banana japanese (Musa basjoo);
- darjeeling banana (Musa sikkimensis), mainly represented by one variety - variegated ‘Red Tiger’ (sometimes appears in catalogs as a red tiger banana);
- yunnan banana (Musa yunnanensis);
- pointy banana? or Cavendish (Musa acuminata, synonym - Musa cavendishii);
- The closest relative to bananas is snow banana or enset, also known as banana elephant foot (Ensete glaucum, synonym - Musa glauca).
But if possible, it is better to buy a varietal banana obtained from a plant already successfully grown in the room. Many domestic varieties are much better adapted to the contents of the rooms than their Western relatives.
Growing conditions for indoor bananas
Bananas are considered much better suited not to rooms, but to the culture of greenhouses, winter gardens and heated greenhouses, where they fit perfectly into tropical collections and collections of fruiting "southern" plants.
And the status of the plant, especially the hothouse in a banana, is explained very simply - all the main factors that ensure success in growing these amazing herbaceous perennials are the easiest to recreate in greenhouses.
The main factors in the normal development of bananas:
- Humidity is constantly high.
- Intense lighting.
- The presence of sufficient space for free development is a spacious room and the ability to place a banana where it will not be crowded - without contact with walls, glasses, with freely spread leaves and a uniform crown.
Of course, greenhouse climate control systems can provide a banana with these vital factors for growth and development. But the tropical status of a banana does not prevent him from finding the perfect place for him in the living room.
Like other tropical crops, bananas simply require more careful care and control of the conditions. And, of course, a certain experience. These are not plants that you can simply forget about. But if you have a whole collection of moisture-loving beauties from the tropics, a banana will easily become part of it.
If in nature bananas do an excellent job even with the strongest heat, indoor plants react to direct sunshine with very large burns and quick drying of not even old leaves.
When choosing lighting for indoor bananas, you should find the brightest place in which you can provide diffused light (protect the bananas with a screen, film, a thin curtain).
Best of all, any banana grows on the south windows, while the southeast orientation windows have optimal characteristics. If southern options are not available, you can grow a banana in a room on the windowsills of the east or west windows. Of course, in the greenhouse, lighting should correspond to the windows of the southern orientation.
In winter, a banana needs artificial illumination to lengthen daylight hours by at least 10 hours. And you need to turn it regularly to evenly develop the crown.
For the normal development of bananas, you need to create an environment with tropical humidity - not less than 70%. Fortunately, in this parameter, bananas are not too demanding for constancy: they can withstand short drops and moisture fluctuations.
Of course, installing humidifiers and creating a controlled microclimate is the best option. Even pallets with moss or expanded clay are suitable. But so that the banana leaves do not lose their luster and do not dry out, in the room format it is enough to carry out frequent spraying, brushing and “rubbing” with a wet sponge (at least 1 time per week).
Abundant watering and generous top dressing
Bananas in spring and summer require generous watering, without stagnation of water in pallets and with light drying of only the top of the substrate. In winter, moisture is greatly reduced by light and sparse irrigation, maintaining a stable substrate moisture, but allowing it to dry well in the upper part. At any time of the year, watering can be carried out only with soft, slightly warm water.
Bananas grow quickly, and their huge leaves require a considerable amount of nutrients. From spring to autumn, while bananas are actively growing, top dressing is carried out every 1.5-2 weeks after heavy watering. For this plant, it is better to alternate organic and complete mineral nutrition.
Features of indoor banana care
Bananas - lovers of fresh air
Indoor bananas in the warmer months, when the night temperature does not fall below 18 degrees, grow well in the fresh air. They can be placed on the balcony or in the garden, in shading.
But in the room it is better to ventilate them regularly, protecting from drafts. Temperature differences for this plant are undesirable, and constant drafts have a deplorable effect on the development of the plant.
Heat-loving and accustomed only to the hot climate, indoor bananas prefer to grow in such conditions in which even lowering to 16 degrees is not allowed.
Some domestic varieties are able to withstand temperatures of 10-12 degrees, but because of such endurance, they lose their heat lovingness. So, the very popular variety “Kiev dwarf” is best grown at 18-23 degrees Celsius.
But in general, all indoor bananas are heat resistant. They grow well in the summer and at temperatures above 25 degrees, they are not afraid of raising indicators to 30 degrees and above.
The wintering temperature should be warm, stable, but not hot. It is best to contain bananas in autumn and winter at a temperature of 18 to 20 degrees Celsius.
A banana grows well only when it has room to grow: if the rhizome has nowhere to grow, then the aboveground parts also stop growing. That is why bananas are grown in capacious, wide, spacious containers and with a thick layer of drainage sprinkled with sand above. But then the substrate is suitable for them the usual - universal, loose and nutritious.
Usually this plant is transplanted annually, but you can transplant it more often if the banana is pleasantly surprised by the growth rate. Bananas are always carefully transshipped, retaining an earthen lump, but setting the plant lower, slightly deepening compared to the previous planting to stimulate the release of children and increase productivity.
To bananas quickly adapt, just pour them with warm water and put in good light at mild temperatures. An important “trifle” is loosening the soil. It is very carefully carried out a few days after transplantation in order to aerate the old lump of earth.
Banana Diseases and Pests
In ideal conditions, there is no problem with the health of a banana. Indoor bananas rarely get sick, suffering from rot under the condition of improper lighting, temperature and humidity. And pests can not be found even on very neglected plants.
Restoring the substrate to normal moisture, eliminating drafts and hypothermia is the main means of combating decay along with an emergency transplant. But still, bananas are easier to replace than save.
Propagation of indoor bananas
Bananas are, without exaggeration, the easiest to reproduce tropical plants of room format. The ease of obtaining offspring is the main reason for their affordable price. Indoor bananas produce children in abundance, which, after being separated into small pots, quickly root and start growing.
Vegetative propagation is much easier than seed, and you can’t collect seeds on your own. But on sale they are found often, special indoor varieties. And if the expectation of seedlings from 3 to 6 months does not scare you, then it is enough to soak the seeds for 12-24 hours (or until the shell softens) and carry out scarification.
Seeds are not sown, but pressed into light soil. Young plants are similar in all respects to adult bananas, but they need to be transplanted much more often.