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Banana trees can be grown with a sucker from an existing tree, or by transplanting part of the plant's stem. They prefer warm climates but can be grown in non-tropical regions if potted and brought inside when the weather grows too cold. Well-drained soil and frequent watering are also musts for growing a healthy specimen.
A banana tree — actually a perennial herb plant — is mainly cultivated through a pup, also known as a sucker. One of these is usually cut from an already-thriving plant, and should be transplanted to a warm, sunny spot in light soil that drains well. A soil and sand mixture works best for proper drainage. Banana trees will grow outside in warm climates and can also do well in large pots inside, in colder temperatures. They love humid environments and like to have their leaves misted with water.
It is also possible to grow banana trees by transplanting part of a plant's underground stem known as a rhizome. Much like the pup, the rhizome piece is simply removed from another plant and then placed in soil to grow. Banana plants 'eat' quite a bit, in fact, experts recommend that the plant be fertilized every time it is watered, which should be on a frequent basis. Banana trees planted in hot, dry climates may even require watering once a day. Since cultivated bananas do not make seeds suitable for planting, merely putting the fruit in soil will not result in a plant.
To help the plant survive over the winter in a cold area, the whole thing can be replanted into a container. If space is an issue, just the root system can be brought indoors. Inside, the plant will go dormant for the winter and does not need water or fertilizer. It can be replanted outside when the weather is warm again. When leaving the plant outside in cold months, it should be cut to ground level, covered with mulch and then topped with plastic or another insulator to keep the remaining rhizome as warm as possible.
In addition to being grown for the fruit, banana trees are often used for a tropical landscaping look, due to their large, shiny, green leaves. These are extremely thin and susceptible to tearing, however, so it is generally recommended that the trees be planted in a spot out of the wind. The plants do not need to be pruned, but the ragged leaves may be removed if a more uniform look is preferred.
I have never tried this, but I know they have dwarf banana trees that you can plant and grow at home. If you live in a cold climate, you would just need to be sure and bring it inside during the winter.
It would be something that would at least be fun to try sometime. There is such a tropical look to a banana tree with their big leaves that it always make you think of someplace warm and sunny.
My gardening zone is 5, so I would never be able to grow banana trees in my climate, but whenever I visit a tropical place, I love to see the banana trees. It would be interesting to see if I could grow an indoor banana tree, but don't think I even have the space or the green thumb for that.
I tried growing a miniature lemon tree, but it never made it, so don't know if I would have much more luck with a banana tree or not. It would be great to be able to pick your own fruit from the tree though. I like to have a banana almost everyday, so find myself going to the store a few times a week just so I can have bananas that are not too ripe.
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