Learning how to plant a banana tree in your backyard means you can have access to delicious fruit without ever making a trip to the grocery store. But, did you know that a banana tree isn’t technically a tree? They’re actually just giant herbaceous plants because they don’t have a trunk or woody stem. Their stalks are made of layers of banana tree leaves. That means there are some special steps to take when you plant a banana tree, and I’ll go over all of them.
Keep reading to learn all about how to plant a banana tree in your yard!
Things to Consider Before Planting Bananas
While the idea of learning how to plant a banana tree having a banana plant is exciting, it’s important to consider how a banana plant will fare in your specific yard.
Firstly, banana plants can get huge! There are dozens of varieties of banana plants, and not all of them grow the same. Some varieties can reach up to 25 feet in height.
Just the leaves of the plant themselves can grow nine feet long. If you don’t want a banana tree that large, look for varieties such as the Grand Nain Banana Tree, which stays around eight and 10 feet tall.
Next, not only does the plant appear huge above ground, but the roots also spread out vigorously within the soil. The root mass of a banana tree can burrow down as deep as five feet, and it can spread anywhere from 10 to 30 feet horizontally.
This is important to know if you want to plant more than one banana tree. Make sure your yard has enough space to allow the roots to spread without hindrance.
What You’ll Need to Plant a Banana Tree
Before I go over the steps to plant a banana tree, let’s go over what you’ll need:
- A young banana tree
- Planting soil
- 10-10-10 fertilizer
- Pruning knife or shears
- Access to water
How to Plant a Banana Tree
Choose a Growing Site
A key factor in your success regarding how to plant a banana tree is where it is planted. The growing spot should be in full to partial sun, as banana trees require at least six to eight hours of sunlight per day. The less sunlight, the smaller yield of fruit the tree will produce.
Banana trees love water, but not too much. To avoid the banana plant rotting, choose an area that has good drainage and won’t sit in water.
Banana trees also love humidity. If your climate tends to lean toward hot, humid summers, your banana trees will thrive happily because they are actually tropical plants.
Source a Banana Tree
Once you’ve settled on a proper growing site, it’s time to find your banana tree! Do your research to see what variety will thrive in your growing zone. Banana trees are widely sold online, where you can be selective about the variety you want. You can online at Fast Growing Trees.
If you prefer to buy locally, you can find potted banana trees at some plant nurseries and garden centers. Banana trees grow in clumps, so you could also find a banana owner near you who is willing to divide their banana tree. If you don’t know anyone, search for online gardening groups that are specific to your area. This is a great, cost-friendly way to get a banana tree.
Trim the Banana Tree
Once you have your banana tree, you’ll need to prune away the old leaves if that hasn’t already been done. Banana trees need to be pruned and planted in early springtime. If you prune after spring, you’ll risk removing new growth that will produce fruit in the upcoming year.
Using a knife or pruning shears, remove any leaves toward the bottom of the tree. Leave three or four healthy leaves at the top of the tree. Depending on the maturity of the banana tree you purchased, it may not have three or four good leaves, which is fine. Just make sure to leave the healthiest leaves, and remove any excess leaves near the roots.
Plant the Banana Tree
Once you’ve received and prepared your banana tree, the next step in learning how to plant a banana tree is to plant it! It’s best to plant a banana tree on a dry day in early springtime. This will help you dig the hole much easier.
Your hole will need to measure approximately 1.5 feet deep by 1.5 feet wide. This may seem large for a small banana plant, but it will allow the roots to spread easily in its first year of growth.
To help the growth of the roots, you can also use your shovel to loosen the bottom and sides of the hole. This is especially helpful if you have heavy, compacted soil.
Remove the banana tree from the pot. Before you figure out how to plant a banana tree in the hole, you’ll need to break up the roots. Nursery plants often become rootbound once they’ve outgrown their container and are ready to be planted. The roots will form a ball, tangling together.
Breaking up the roots before you plant a banana tree will encourage them to spread out in the soil, promoting the banana tree’s growth. The healthier the growth, the better the harvest!
Instead of backfilling the hole with the original soil, you are going to make your own nutrient-rich soil to surround the banana plant. Place the banana plant in the center of the hole. If you don’t have anyone to hold it for you, you can temporarily stake the plant as you fill the hole.
Start with a layer of planting or garden soil. This is different than potting soil, as it is made to be mixed into soil that already exists in your garden. Next, layer in composted manure or other organic compost.
After you add compost, you can spread a layer of fertilizer before completely filling the hole. If you do this, opt for a 10-10-10 NPK ratio, which will work well for planting banana trees.
Fill the rest of the hole, alternating between garden soil and compost. This will create rich soil that feeds the tree. It will also drain well, which banana trees love. Make sure to firm the soil with your foot to remove any air pockets surrounding the roots. You can remove the stake once the soil is firm.
After you’ve finished filling the hole, you can spread a layer of mulch over the soil about one inch thick. This will create a barrier to preserve the soil’s moisture. Mature banana trees can handle drying out occasionally, but the more water your tree has, the better it grows and produces fruit.
When you put the mulch around the tree, leave a few inches bare around the base of the tree to let it breathe. Piling mulch against the tree could raise the risk of the tree rotting or getting a disease.
Water the Banana Tree
The last step in planting banana trees is to water the banana tree thoroughly. It’s a good idea to water it every day for the first year. After the banana tree has been established for more than a year, you can reduce watering to every two or three days, or when the top inch of soil is dry.
Most of the time, it’s better to overwater a banana plant than underwater it, especially during hot, dry spells.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long after planting banana trees will I have bananas?
After planting banana trees in the springtime, you will usually see fruit within a few months. It can take between three to six months, depending on the variety, before you have mature bananas that are ready to eat. Dwarf varieties usually only take 70 to 100 days to mature, but larger varieties can take double that amount of time.
What zones are banana trees hardy in?
Banana trees love hot and humid weather, so naturally, they are hardy in zones nine and 10. You will find this is mostly the case for all varieties, but they can be grown indoors or in a greenhouse in colder climates. Varieties like Musa Basjoo are hardy in zones five through 11, which may be a good option if you want to learn how to plant a banana tree and live in a northern state.
How far apart do banana trees need to be spaced?
If you are planting banana trees in groups, allow 10 to 12 feet of space between each plant. Banana tree roots are vigorous growers, and each plant will need enough room to spread.
How to plant a banana tree in a pot?
If you know how to plant a banana tree in the ground, you can also learn how to plant a banana tree in a container! Banana trees are able to grow in large containers. Make sure to choose a smaller variety of banana tree that will not need as much space for roots to spread. Good smaller varieties include Dwarf Cavendish, Dwarf Red, and Williams Hybrid.
Pick out a container that is at least 18 to 20 inches in diameter. Opt for a concrete or resin container that has a drainage hole in the bottom. Avoid dark pots that will heat up in the sun and dry out the roots.
Plant the banana tree in a well-draining soil mixture that is rich in nutrients. You will need to be extra attentive to banana trees in containers because the roots will dry out quicker than trees in the ground. Water them thoroughly every day, and your banana tree will flourish!
Wrapping Up How to Plant a Banana Tree
Are you ready to plant a banana tree? As long as you create good soil for your tree and plant it in a sunny and humid location, your banana tree will thrive. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying homegrown bananas from your own backyard. Talk about a conversation starter with your neighbors! Next, learn other tips and tricks on growing a banana tree.
Excited for more banana content? Then check out my banana tree page for info guides, growing tips, recipes, and more!