rjlane1
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2007 3:18 am
Location: Oceanside

How to maintain/trim banana plant/tree

I'm an extremely amateur landscaper and have a banana plant (what is this really?) that is out of control. What is the best way to cut this. Until now I've just trimmed the leaves when they got brown, but now it is way too tall. Can I hack it down at the base, and if I do, how long should I expect until it starts looking decent again?
[url]https://home.pacbell.net/rjlane1/004.jpg[/url]

peachguy
Senior Member
Posts: 159
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 2:01 am
Location: Ontario

From the picture you posted it looks like an Ensete not a Musa(they are related though) but I am not sure. Do you know what variety it is ex. cavendish, helen's hybrid, also most bananas shouldn't need pruning because it will always grow back fast it is best to choose a variety that will stay small like Super Dwarf Cavendish, or dwarf orinoco. I can't really tell you much more until I know what variety it is but what you say you are doing sounds good just keep the leaves pruned, the only other thing I can think of it to move it if you can.

Newt
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1868
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

Hi Rjlane,

Welcome to The Helpful Gardener. Do I see the beginning of a flower starting? If so it appears you have a Strelitzia nicolai - bird-of-paradise tree or giant bird-of-paradise or white bird of paradise. Here's the flower.
https://www.parks.it/giardini.botanici.hanbury/foto/Strelitzia.nicolai-800.jpeg

The flower of a banana - Musa
https://www.botanypictures.com/plantimages/musa%20speciosa%2001%20(male%20flower).jpg

or an Ensete (a banana relative that gets bananas that are not edible unless cooked) is different. They also have a red midrib in the center of the leaf. Take a looik at the first pic at the second site.
https://www.plantzafrica.com/plantefg/plimagesefg/enseteventfl1.jpg
https://www.plantzafrica.com/plantefg/enseteventrico.htm


If it is a bird of paradise tree you it is definately in the wrong spot if you want it to continue to grow. I suspect it's getting full sun all day or all afternoon and that is why you are seeing so many brown leaves. Other possibilities could be the soil doesn't have enough organic matter or it's not getting enough water.

You can continue ot prune off the brown leaves or dig out the suckers, remove the parent (preferably after it blooms) and start again with the suckers. Here's more info.
https://mgonline.com/whitebird.html
https://www.plantzafrica.com/plantqrs/strelitznichol.htm
https://www.plantfacts.com/Family/Strelitziaceae/Strelitzia.nicolai.shtml
https://hort.ufl.edu/trees/STRNICA.pdf

Newt

rjlane1
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2007 3:18 am
Location: Oceanside

How to maintain/trim banana plant/tree

So looking at the links you included, I would say it is definitely the Strelitzia nicolai. We recently went through a frost, which explains the really bad looking brown leaves. Other than that, it usually looks pretty good. My big concern is how best to maintain it as it is getting much too big. Can I cut the main plant about a foot above the base and expect it to regrow?

Newt
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1868
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

Frost will cause the leaves to brown too, so I'm thinking you are correct in your observation. I've never grown one of these, but from what I'm finding on the internet you could trim all the additional growth around the base to keep a central trunk of sorts. You might have to research this more on google. Try using the botanical name and giant bird of paradise. From the mgonline site with some helpful growing info, here's some pics.
https://mgonline.com/whitebird04.jpg
https://mgonline.com/whitebird01.jpg

Another pic with the trunk exposed.
https://www.monrovia.com/PlantInf.nsf/imagelist/ADCDCE1AE162FB7288256F7C006EC14F/Picture/0.7C?OpenElement&FieldElemFormat=jpg

The Plantzafrica site has some growing info.

Newt

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