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Battered banana

BananaI'VE recently moved into a house that has a mature non-fruiting banana in the garden, in full sun and well mulched. Recently some leaf stems have collapsed where they join the main trunk and the rest look really tattered. Should I be worried and can I do anything to stop this happening?


YOUR banana is the red Abyssinian variety, Ensete ventricosum, a very attractive tropical- looking plant when grown in good conditions. Unfortunately, in your case, the odd light frost combined with cold, wet soil has reduced growth to almost zero and their huge leaves have been battered by strong winds.

Don't despair. As conditions improve and the soil warms up, lush new growth will soon appear - huge red-green leaves will tower above the tatty ones, which you can then cut off with a sharp knife close to the main stem. These bananas need quite a lot of nutrients to support such huge leaves, so the more you fertilise it with a general fertiliser during the growing season, the bigger and better it will grow.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 186, 2005, Page 33

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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Last updated: September 29, 2006