The fruit-bearing banana tree is a herbaceous plant that often has a tree-like appearance and is native to the tropics. Its leaves grow in overlapping layers, forming a trunk that can reach a height of 3-5 meters. It has drooping, compound, and spectacular cluster flowers, as the fruits are positioned along a common stalk. It is incredible, but there are nearly 1000 varieties of banana trees in the world. Its fruit, which is actually a berry, is consumed worldwide. The fruit can be smaller or longer, angular or rounded, and can be yellow or even green. The curvature of the banana fruit is due to the fact that the small bananas, which initially grow straight towards the ground, strive to turn towards the sun, causing them to bend.
Growth of the banana tree
The banana tree is an extremely fast-growing plant. It produces an average of four leaves per month during the summer, while in winter, it only produces one leaf per month. Although bananas originate from New Guinea and the Southeast Asian and Pacific Island regions, the largest banana plantations are now found in the Middle East and South America. Currently, Ecuador is the world’s leading exporter of bananas, followed by Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, and Brazil. Banana is the fourth most important crop in the world, after rice, wheat, and maize.
Caring for banana trees
The ideal average temperature for bananas is between 25-27 °C, although this can vary depending on the variety. There are also frost-tolerant bananas. In their natural habitat, bananas do not tolerate dry seasons that last longer than three months under normal circumstances. The banana is a tropical plant primarily grown for its fruits, but in Central and Northern Europe, it is mainly kept for its unique leaves that can reach up to two meters. Unfortunately, in this climate, bananas rarely produce flowers and fruits. It is advisable to keep bananas outside in the garden during summer and in a greenhouse or conservatory during winter.
During summer, it is important to water them regularly, even weekly, but during their dormant period in winter, watering should be significantly reduced. Overwatering can cause the roots to rot and even lead to the complete demise of the plant. It is recommended to water them with collected rainwater or distilled water. Occasionally misting the plants with water and wiping their leaves with a damp cloth can help prevent the appearance of pests.
Banana tree varieties
The dwarf banana grows to a height of only 1.5 meters and can even be kept indoors. Its edible fruit is only about 7-10 cm in size. It is also known as the pink banana because both the veins of its leaves and the fruit itself have a pink color. The dwarf banana can also be placed outside in the garden during summer, in a sunny and warm location. It can even remain outside during winter if it is protected and covered. During winter, reduce the amount of watering and only water the plant indoors when the soil is slightly dry. It is advisable to periodically mist the leaves with a flower sprayer and humidify the surrounding air. It grows rapidly in warm, humid, and high-humidity environments.
The hardy banana can grow up to 4-5 meters in height. Unfortunately, it cannot withstand cold winters unless properly protected from freezing temperatures. In autumn, it is necessary to reduce watering and relocate potted plants to a frost-protected area. It is also recommended to transfer banana plants grown in open ground to a larger pot in autumn and bring them indoors for winter.
Before the onset of winter, it is advisable to prune the hardy banana trees by cutting them back to about 60 cm or tying their foliage together. The roots should be covered with a layer of wood leaves or straw, about 30-40 cm thick. In late March or early April, the plant will begin to sprout again if its roots were adequately protected from the cold. If necessary, it can be transplanted into fresh, nutrient-rich soil in spring. At this time, it will require regular watering as well.
For young and small banana trees, it is recommended to transplant them into larger pots every year. If transplantation is no longer possible, regular surface soil replacement should be performed. When placing the plant outdoors, it is best to find a shaded and wind-protected location, as strong sunlight can scorch its leaves.
Bananas can be easily propagated by separating and planting the small shoots in small pots.
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