Asides from giving of the awesome banana fruit, these plants can also offer other things:
- They are good for wind, boundary and noise screens
- They make good use of water and the nutrients in waste drainage systems.
- You can actually use the dried remains of trunks for weaving (how about that for a side job from your tropical gardening?)
- You can sell your dried banana leaves to local farmers or owners of horses, cows and other grazing animals.
How to Grow Strong Banana Trees
- Plant in fertile soils. The darker and richer, the better.
- Pile on as much mulch and organic matter as you can get and that doesn’t get in the way. (Seriously, banana trees love this stuff!)
- For best results use a fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen and potassium. Chicken manure works great. Maybe you can trade your dried banana leaves to farmers in exchange for chicken manure.)
- A consistent, warm temperature. If it gets too hot or too cold your banana plant will suffer.
- To protect your banana tree from strong winds, shield them with other banana trees or other screening type of tropical plants like bamboo.
How NOT to Care for Banana Plants
- Expose it to strong winds.
- Expose it to intense heat or extreme cold.
- Don’t use lots of mulch and organic matter.
- Don’t water it plenty.
- Leave it alone and over-exposed to the elements.
Growing the Banana Tree
Even though these plants are often called “banana palms”, they’re not palm trees or even trees. These plants are actually perennial herbs. Who woulda’ thunk, right?
Your banana tree will take about 9 months to grow to maturity and start producing fruit. Strangely enough, the mother plant will then die off. What is left is, at the base of the mother plant, a whole bunch of baby banana plants. These are corn-like plants, called suckers. You can take these baby plants and transplant them in different areas and leave 1 or 2 in place to start growing right there.