Nowadays, many people have only a vague idea of the origin of common foods. This is understandable because most of us buy our food from grocery stores and other retailers, which means we are out of touch with the actual sources of our food. It stands to reason, then, that many people do not have this knowledge, either because they have nothing to do with it or because they are around it. Bananas are a good example of this phenomenon. If you ask them, many will think bananas grow on banana trees. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Yes, banana trees look very much like trees. However, it is important to note that these are huge grasses that look a lot like trees.
In any case, bananas would have been domesticated in Southeast Asia. From there they spread along the sea trade routes to other tropical areas of the world, such as Indochina, South Asia, East Africa and Oceania. In the Middle Ages, bananas appeared in the Middle East, spreading to North Africa and then to Muslim-controlled areas of Spain. After all, it was Portuguese sailors who brought bananas from the Old to the New World, not from the Iberian peninsula but from West Africa. Today, most bananas are Cavendish bananas, because the previous mass-produced variety, called Gros Michel, proved unviable due to Panama disease. It is also interesting to note that plantains are also very popular, although the distinction between banana and plantain can be very vague, as the term can be used for any kind that is usually cooked for consumption, regardless of whether it is a true plantain or not.
Why do you need a banana tree?
People may want banana plants in their homes for a variety of reasons. For example, they are looking for a new hobby, so taking care of a banana tree may be an interesting hobby for them. The houseplant species has also been shown to have benefits for humans, such as increased happiness, faster reaction times and lower blood pressure, meaning that the banana plant may also have very practical benefits. Plus, some potential buyers may just be curious about the taste of a homegrown banana.
Taking care of your banana tree
Here are some suggestions for caring for the banana tree:
- Temperature – Banana trees are tropical plants. Not surprisingly, they can’t stand cold or even cool temperatures. Therefore, interested parties should keep their banana plants at a temperature above 12-15°C. For many people in many places, this means keeping their banana plants indoors rather than outside, where they have better control over the factors involved. Some plant varieties are more resistant than others, but even then there is a limit to their resistance.
- Light and water – Speaking of which, banana trees need lots of light and lots of water. First, they should be placed where they receive about six to eight hours of sunlight per day, although such long periods in direct sunlight may be excessive. On the second point, the soil should be constantly moist, but never so that the banana tree is actually standing in standing water. In this regard, they are advised to check the soil regularly, as they should not allow it to dry out, which would have a very negative effect on their banana trees.
- Soil – Banana plants do best when planted in rich, well-drained soil. Also consider adding a layer of organic mulch, which can serve to retain moisture and provide additional nutrients.
- Protection – Banana leaves can be very fragile. Therefore, they need some protection, which may mean covering them with a blanket or bag. In this regard, it may be useful to place banana trees near a fence or other protective structure that can prevent them from feeling the full force of the wind. Something that can be surprisingly damaging if the banana trees are exposed for too long. Of course, many of these problems can be mitigated or minimized by simply placing banana plants indoors, which is especially true in places without tropical climates.
- Pests – On the one hand, banana plants are not known to be susceptible to pests. On the other hand, there are potential pests and other problems that stakeholders could keep an eye on. For example, aphids, mealybugs and even red spiders have been known to settle on banana trees, which is undesirable for both the banana trees and the owners of the bananas. When banana trees are outside instead of inside, they can be exposed to even more pests, such as moths, snails, and even gophers. Fungal infections are also possible if people are not careful.
- Pruning – banana trees can grow very large. Finally, there is a reason why people confuse banana plants with banana trees. This can make it difficult for people who grow banana trees in areas where it is winter to let the banana trees grow to their full size. For this reason, some sources recommend cutting the leaves to a length of 6 to 8 inches. Still, it may be easier to just choose a smaller variety that is better suited to the space, especially if people have little or no interest in growing bananas on their banana trees.
frequently asked questions
How much sun does a banana leaf plant need?
Banana plants need lots of bright light. The Bloomscape plant delivery service recommends a south-facing window and at least 4-6 hours of full sunlight per day. You can also store them outside in the summer.
Should dead leaves of banana trees be cut off?
Although banana trees don’t need much pruning, trimming away old dead leaves helps to stimulate growth. Removing leaves that rub against the banana tree promotes fruit formation. The banana trees are quite tall, so be prepared to climb them to cut off the top leaves.
Why are the leaves of my banana tree turning brown?
Both excess and deficiency of water can stress the plant, causing the leaves to turn brown because waterlogging prevents the roots from circulating moisture and nutrients, or because there is no water for root circulation. … Heat and cold can also cause browning of the leaves.
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