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Care of Banana Palm Plants

The banana palm (Musa spp.) is a perennial plant, often mistakenly called a tree, that is popular not only for its tasty and nutritious fruit but also for its lush, tropical beauty and ease of care. The banana palm can reach heights of 30 feet, depending on the species. The most popular varieties remain around 10 feet tall on average. The general culture of this plant remains the same regardless of which species you plant.

Choose the right location for your banana palm plant. Unlike many tropical plants, the banana palm will grow in partial shade as well as full sun. Still, the more sunlight you can expose the plant to, the better it will thrive. The plant will also grow in almost any type of soil, although it prefers rich, rocky soil. The banana palm does not fare well in salty environments.

Provide shelter for your banana palm. The wide, thin leaves of the plant are quite fragile and are easily torn when blown about by the wind. Plant your banana palm in a location where it will be protected from strong or even moderate winds.

Water your banana palm when the top layer of soil becomes dry down to about an inch. In the summer, this will likely mean three waterings per week. Slow, deep waterings are best, such as those done with a drip hose. Water only during long dry periods in the winter. If it does not rain, this will mean once every two weeks.

Feed your banana palm often. These plants need a high amount of nutrients to bloom and produce fruit. A potassium-rich fertilizer is best. Give your palm a full dose once a month, according to the instructions on the package. The instructions will vary depending on the size and age of your banana plant.

Prune away dead or broken branches in early spring. Banana palm plants can withstand heavy pruning and will grow back even healthier than before.

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