Asked on Aug 8, 2013

My Aunt Gave Me a Small Banana Tree and It Was Growing Very Well Until

Lori FuellingJeanette SHilliriah Jacobs


Approx. 3 wks. ago the plant started having limpness to it's leaves. I discovered it had aphids and so sprayed it for aphids. It continues to do very poorly with first limper leaves, turning bruised and then browning at tips and working up towards the stem. It came as a single plant but shortly another came up right beside it, and then later a third. The first 2 are poor, but so far the third looks healthy. I had it inside, but after it started looking sad, I put it onto the front porch where it sits yet now. All the original leaves from the first plant have died and I trimmed away, but it had set on a few new, and now they are going also. I water it regularly, it has plenty of light and I use Miracle Grow every 6 to 8 weeks. I have not had a young Banana Tree before and am looking for advice. Was a neat gift from my dear Aunt who is a MAJOR Green Thumb gardener! :) Thank you
Banana Tree
Has gotten very weak trunk and limp leaves.
Seems to have bruising look to backs of leaves before they brown, starting at the tips.
The youngest of 3 still looking good and I see no evidence of pests.
This is what has happened in approx. 3 weeks.
So sad.:( Do you have any ideas of what may be occurring or what I can change to help it regain it's health?
11 answers
  • Sia@South 47th
    on Aug 8, 2013

    Is the root system fairing well? One of the many garden Pro's such as @Douglas Hunt or others, will be along to give you some help @Angie Base . Hang in there! xox

  • I have never grown a banana tree but from my experience with other houseplants bringing them back I would have to tell you first take and cut off the bad leaves (plant is going to look pathetic for a month or so. Lightly give it a bath with a mixture of ivory soap and water to get rid of any pests (you may not see them but they still could be there). Then I would re-pot it which you do not re-pot but 1-2 inches larger only if it is root-bound. If it is not root-bound, just take out as much old dirt without knocking it off the roots in the pot (I prefer Miracle grow and I do not use the expensive one with water saving gunk). do not over water and use rain water or let the tap water sit in a clean milk jug for a few days. Most plants cannot tolerate sitting in wet soil and even if it is dry on top it could still be soggy at the roots. Good luck.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Aug 9, 2013

    What do you mean by plenty of light, Angie? Bananas do best in full sun. I had one that sulked in a pot on my patio, but is doing great now that it is in the ground and getting much more sun. It's very easy to overwater in a container, especially if it does not have holes in the bottom. Because bananas are heavy feeders, and because the soil in containers can easily become depleted, it's important to have them on a regular fertilization schedule. 20-20-20 would be good. The smaller offshoots are "pups," which may well just hang out for awhile. It was easily a year before one of mine showed any real growth. If your banana recovers and gets happy enough to flower, that stalk (technically a "pseudostem") will then die, to be replaced by the pups.

    • Angie Base
      on Aug 10, 2013

      @Douglas Hunt Thank you. I hope so too. Right now I am not certain if it will but I will keep caring for it until it either comes around or bites the dust.

  • Miriam Illions
    on Aug 9, 2013

    I'm tagging @Jeanette S as she has one growing in her garden and may have some insight.

  • Jeanette S
    on Aug 9, 2013

    This is my first year to have Banana Trees...I have mine outside in the yard and have never tried to grow one in a pot...??? But I will say, these are large plants and that is a very small pot!

    • Angie Base
      on Aug 10, 2013

      @Jeanette S Thank you. When I received it it was in a smaller pot and I repotted into this pot. It is a 20" pot.

  • Pauline Cobb Choate
    on Aug 10, 2013

    I'm doing well with my banana in a container. I started with a 3 gal container when it was young and have since moved it into a large tub. It is thriving, but, it does require lots of sun and it lets me know if I've been neglectful with the water. Fortunately, we've had more than our share of rain here in west central FL so she's a happy banana now. I've learned bananas, as Douglas says, are heavy feeders. To try a natural approach, I've been planting some of my kitchen scraps that are headed for the compost pile, directly around the base periodically. Seems to be working, it's thriving and stands over 4' tall. I fear I'll be seeking an even larger tub soon. Good luck with yours!

  • Wilma Fendrick
    on Aug 10, 2013

    My mother and Grandmother grew these when we lived in Arkansas. They always planted them in the ground in the summer. Before winter they would lift them wrap in burlap and store under the house. They would grow above the roof line. My grandmother actually had one set Bananas one year. Maybe yours would do better in the ground instead of in a pot. They do like lots of morning sun also.

  • Mary-Jo Westbrook
    on Aug 10, 2013

    is there drainage? looks like it's direct planted, and could have some root rot- plant it in a plastic pot, then put into the decorative pot. You can cover the plastic pot with spanish moss. Make sure the dirt is light with perlite and fillers to allow the roots to breathe

  • Hilliriah Jacobs
    on Aug 10, 2013

    i have never seen banana trees growing in pots but if some of you gets it growing to bloom and fruit kudos but they thrive better in the ground with lots of sunlight. i love to see them so much that i bought an artificial tree that looks so real with bananas on it

  • Jeanette S
    on Aug 10, 2013

    Angie, I grew up in the country a long time before a lot of pesticides were available for flowers. When my mother saw aphids, she always poured the water from her dishpan over the bush. Since we do not use dishpans any longer, perhaps you can mix up some tipid soapy water and wash it sure and get the undersides of the won't hurt. My son told me Banana plants LOVE the hot sun...sure enough as soon as it began to creep up to 90 degrees, this thing took off! Set it out in dapple shade to start with (or in a garage) to give it a chance to acclimate and then put it where it gets some sun. Mine gets about 8+ direct west sun a day! Loves it! Good luck...keep it moist, but not with wet roots!

    • Angie Base
      on Aug 10, 2013

      @Jeanette S @Thank You! I have it on my front porch which is west and it gets all the afternoon and evening sun now. I am fertilizing it and praying for it to burst with new growth and energy! :) Thanks again!!

  • Lori Fuelling
    on Oct 30, 2014

    Not wanting to sound mean, but why didn't you just ask your Aunt? From your description she sounds quite knowledgeable about plants. I'm sure she would of helped you without judging, she loved you enough to give you the plant, next time don't be afraid to ask her, she will adore you for it as then she can pass her knowledge onto you, what better legacy. Peace and happiness

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