The dwarf banana tree is classified as an herbaceous perennial that is native to Indo-Malaysia and northern Australia. The tree is fast-growing from underground rhizomes and produces small edible bananas. Most dwarf banana tree varieties will produce a flower stalk every four to five months when the temperature stays consistently warm and over a temperature of 55 degrees F. Cool temperatures will slow the growth of the tree.
Choose a planting location for the dwarf banana tree that is nutrient rich, well draining and has full sunlight for most of the day. Provide wind protection as it can be damaging to the plant stalk. Test the soil pH to verify it has an acidic pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Amend the soil to lower the pH by working ground rock sulfur into the soil. Water the soil well after adding the amendment and let it rest for two weeks prior to planting.
How to Plant
Dig a hole that is the same depth and twice as wide as the container the dwarf banana tree came in. Amend the removed soil with organic compost if it has a clay texture as this will increase the soil water draining ability. Place the tree into the hole and spread the roots in an outward direction. Gently fill the hole with soil and light pack to eliminate air pockets. Water the tree well to settle the soil around the roots and moisten the surrounding soil.
Care and Maintenance
Water the dwarf banana tree to keep the soil moist throughout the warm growing season. Do not over water or allow standing water around the base of the tree. Monitor soil moisture levels regularly throughout the summer as the large leaves of the tree require water to stay green. Apply a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch around the tree leaving a 3-inch gap between the start of the mulch and stalk of the tree. Fertilize the tree every other week during the summer months with an 8-10-8 fertilizer. Spread the fertilizer evenly around the soil covering the tree root ball making sure to avoid coming in contact with the stalk of the tree. Provide frost protection by wrapping the trunk and covering the foliage when temperatures drop below 30 degrees F.
Propagate the dwarf banana tree in the summer by removing large suckers growing around the base of the tree once they reach a height of three feet. Remove the suckers by carefully digging around the clump with a sharp spade. Make sure to remove a portion of the root rhizome without damaging the tree. Plant the sucker so it is at the same depth it was previously growing. Remove all large leaves and keep just the youngest leaves on the tree. Water the soil well to keep it moist but not wet to stimulate root growth.
Pests and Problems
The dwarf banana has few pests or problems that harm the tree. Do not over water as this can cause root rot and destroy the tree. Monitor the tree for earwigs and snails as they will attach to the green areas as a water source. These pests will not damage the tree but can be removed if desired.