Banana (Musa spp.), (Kela), are herbaceous perennials. Their stem is not a true stem, what we see above ground is leaf part only. Many leaf bases wrap tightly around each other and form a cylindrical stem-like structure. Bananas are grown at homes to bring a tropical feel. Also, they are low maintenance plant. In India, the female banana plant (kela) is worshiped.
Tips for Growing Banana (Kela) Plant Indoors
You can’t grow bananas from seeds as banana plants don’t produce seeds. At the base of a banana plant, under the ground, is a big rhizome, called the corm. The corm has growing points and they turn into new suckers. These suckers can be taken off and transplanted, and one or two can be left in position to replace the mother plant. The best way is to start with these mentioned suckers. When the suckers or “pups” start to form, allow at least 4 leaves to develop before attempting to remove it from the mother plant. Once cut, remove the pup with as much root as possible and pot up in a new container. Or order corms online, after receiving wash the corms with lukewarm water to remove any fungal or bacterial growth which may have developed during shipping.
The first priority to consider when growing a banana is to use the proper soil. Use a well-drained soil. Add compost to the soil, it enhances water retention capacity in sandy soil and increases drainage capability in clay. Bananas like an acidic growing mix with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5.
Container / Site
Grow banana in a medium-sized ( 6 inches or 8 inches) container. A container should have drainage hole as the banana doesn’t like to stand in water. Plant the stem (corm) upright and cover with soil partially. When the pot becomes crowded, transplant in the large container. As it grows it can be transferred to permanent outdoor location.
While growing outdoors, plant bananas in clumps, not single rows as they need crowded environment generally available to tropical plants.
Banana plant has high water requirements due to its large leaves. Keep soil moist always. To help with this, you can add a layer of mulch (dried leaves, straws, bark etc) to help plant in retaining water. Allow soil to dry slightly between watering. Maintain high humidity environment around the plant as the plant likes that.
Sun / Temperature
Bananas, being tropical plants, like bright, indirect light. To provide maximum sunlight and warmth. The ideal night temperature would be 67° F (19° C) and day temperature would be 80° F (27° C). They can handle extreme high and low temperature but do not like it and as a result, leaves may turn yellow, fruit skin may turn grayish).
In frost areas, plant above ground dies in frost but corm can survive and re-shoot.
When plant start to fruit, feed it once a month. In case of liquid fertilizer, dilute it in water at half strength. If your plant is blooming continuously then also you may need to feed it to keep up with its nutritional needs at that time.
Most gardeners prefer to keep spent leaves than cutting them off as they turn from green to yellow to brown then shrivel which is a normal cycle. This allows your plant to re-absorb the leaf nutrients.
There are relatively few pest problems with indoor bananas. Wash stems and leaves with detergent mixed water. It will keep them dust and bug (mites) free. Be sure to clean the bottom sides of the leaves as well.
Read Also: How to help your plants get through drought
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