Banana trees (Musa) are great additions to warm-weather gardens, if your climate will support them. If you garden in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plant hardiness zones 10b or above, you may well be able to grow these tropical plants and benefit from home-grown bananas. Banana trees may grow in colder zones but the fruit may be unsuitable for eating. If your zone is unsuitable for planting trees in the yard, you might consider growing banana trees in containers.
Soil pH Requirements for Banana Trees
Banana trees grow best in soils with pH levels between 5.5 and 6.5. This pH level is slightly acidic and has high nutrient levels. It is easy to determine the pH values of your garden soil with a simple test that can be purchased from local garden centers. If you require more detailed test results, contact your local university cooperative extension for laboratory testing.
Adjusting pH Levels
It's possible to adjust pH levels of your garden soil. If you wish to increase the level then add lime, the amounts you add depend on soil type and current pH level. Adding sulfur to your soil will reduce pH levels, again you will need to adjust the amount you add to soil depending upon current pH level.
Best Growing Conditions for Banana Trees
Ideal soil for growing bananas is well-drained, but with good water retention capacity. Bananas grow best in locations receiving 100 inches or more rainfall per year. If rainfall is insufficient, the trees will need irrigating. Bananas grow best in full-sun locations and can be susceptible to wind damage.
Container-Grown Banana Tree
Miniature banana trees for container growing are available and dwarf lady finger (Musa "Dwarf Lady Finger") is one variety that may grow happily in the yard during summer months and transfer to the home environment over winter. This dwarf tree grows no more than 5 foot tall and should fruit eight to 10 months after it has been planted. Dwarf lady finger banana trees are hardy to USDA zone 8.
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