How Do You Care for Banana Palm Trees?

Overview

The banana palm tree is an herbaceous perennial that is native to Southeast Asia and northern Queensland in Australia. The tree is hardy to plant in USDA growing zones 10 and 11, where there is little risk of frost. Banana palm trees grow to a height of 20 feet with leaves at the top of the tree spreading 10 feet. The tree produces seasonal blooms that are yellow or cream in color and turn into banana fruit in some climates.

Step 1

Select a planting location for the banana palm that has full sunlight and a nutrient-rich, well-draining soil. Wind protection is preferred to prevent damage to the tree stalk.

Step 2

Test the soil pH. The banana palm grows best in a soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Add ground rock sulfur to the soil to lower the pH if needed.

Step 3

Water the banana palm tree regularly with deep waterings that absorb to a depth of 10 to 14 inches. The soil should be kept moist during the hot summer growing season and during periods of drought as the leaves are large and require supplemental water to prevent them from drying. Do not over-water or allow standing water around the stem, as this will cause root rot.

Step 4

Apply a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch over the root ball area of the tree to assist with moisture retention and prevent weed growth that will compete for water.

Step 5

Fertilize banana palm trees once a month in spring and summer with an 8-10-8 or 10-10-10 palm tree fertilizer. Spread the fertilizer in a circle around the tree making sure it is 4 feet from the trunk to prevent burn.

Step 6

Wrap the banana palm tree trunk with an insulator blanket when the temperature drops below 22 degrees F.

Step 7

Prune to remove shoots that appear growing out of the ground around the trunk of the tree unless they are needed for propagation. Shoots growing out of the ground will pull energy from the tree.

Step 8

Propagate banana palm trees by digging suckers or shoots growing out of the ground around the trunk of the tree once the sucker reaches a height of 3 feet. Plant the sucker close to the surface of the ground and cut off the top to leave only the two to three small leaves.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil pH test
  • Ground rock sulfur
  • Water
  • Mulch
  • 8-10-8 palm tree fertilizer
  • Insulator blanket
  • Pruning clipper
  • Shovel

References

  • California Rare Fruit Growers: Banana
  • Missouri Botanical Garden: Musa acuminata
  • Desert Tropicals: Banana
Keywords: grow banana palm, banana palm care, plant banana palm

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.