Sun Soaker Reflector and Banana Tree Care

I am trying to grow food in my greenhouse as a demonstration this year. I have some basil (purple plants on table) rosemary and tomatos. I have a banana tree that is almost one year old.

Notice the sunsoaker reflector overhead of the plants.  I really like it since it concentrates the light in a nice 5x5 area under the reflector. I do have some suplimental sun light this time of year (Spring) so I keep it several feet above the plants to get a larger area of coverage.

Banana trees need a lot of light, but will benefit if they have a break of an hour or so from the hot afternoon sun. They will do well with a general organic fertilizer that has equal amounts of N-P-K. They like soil pH between 5.5 and 7.0. They should be well watered, but never sitting in standing water. If the top of the pot is dry to an inch or so you should water the plant, if the top is moist wait. If you are going to move them outside in summer and back in for winter in a temperate climate, watch out for spider mites, they love banana trees. As with all plants, you will need to acclimate your plants to sunlight when you first bring them outside. Always put plants outside on cloudy or rainy days for the first day, or put them in the full shade of a tree or house. After a couple days, your banana tree can tolerate the full sun.

At the end of summer if you have a smaller plant you can bring the whole plant/pot in for the winter. For larger banana trees you should cut back all of the leaves before digging up the roots. Gently brush off most of the soil from the root system and replant the trunk in a large container filled with slightly dampened soil/sand mix (50% each). Store the root ball in a warm area of your home. Don't water or fertilize at all unless the soil is very dry; you wantthe plant to go dormant for the winter. Water and fertilize well when spring comes and watch it grow.

You do not need to prune banana trees, other than for aesthetics. You should remove old brown/yellow leaves since this is a place for disease to start.

You can control how big it gets by 1) buying a dwarf variety 2) minimizing pot size and/or fertilizer.

Good Growing,
Dr. E.R. Myers

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