Dying Banana-leaf fig?

Lee Hadden hadden at wingate.edu
Fri Aug 18 21:07:51 EST 2000

I've grown banana plants in the yard [summer/fall] and taken them inside
during winter for many years.  Typically they lose their "outdoor",
bright sun-tolerating leaves shortly after I bring them in.  [I use a
large plastic or metal tub half-filled with potting soil and since I
have a vaulted ceiling, I rarely have to cut off too many of the
top-most leaf blades.]  They first turn yellow, then brown, although I
normally cut them off when they look really sickly [giving them just a
little time to recycle leaf components back to the rest of the plant].
Then they start to unfurl new leaf blades which do fine under interior
artificial light and indirect sunlight filtering through translucent
blinds.  When the danger of frost is past I replant them outdoors.  The
winter leaves sun scald immediately, die and shrivel up, but are
replaced by new leaf blades which become sun-adapted as they slowly

Even had it flower once outdoors in fall and then it produced a small
number of really delicious tree-ripened bananas in our living room!, the
first such bananas I had ever had.  They were as unlike store-bought,
picked green and gassed bananas as are store-bought styrofoam tomatoes
compared to vine ripened.

Sounds like you plant is doing what mine always do.  Be careful not to
make the soil too wet or soggy.  Mine seem to do better on neglect than
too much water.

Lee Hadden
Professor of Biology
Department of Biology
Wingate University
Wingate, NC  28174

hadden at wingate.edu


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