Whether you live in a climate that can provide enough sunlight for your banana plant to yield fruit or not, these are a majestic sight to behold, and their impressive leaves provide a dramatic feature on your landscape and will give your surroundings a tropical feel.
Make no mistake, banana trees are both heavy drinkers and heavy feeders so knowing when and how to feed along with understanding what is the best fertilizer for banana plants on the market, is going to give you a head start in growing these beautiful plants for yourself.
- Choosing the Best Fertilizer for Banana Plants
- Banana Tree Fertilizer N-P-K
- Best Fertilizer for Banana Trees Reviews
- 1. Dr. Earth Exotic Blend Tropical Plant Fertilizer 6-4-6
- 2. J R Peters No.1.5 All Purpose Fertilizer 20-20-20
- 3. Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed Palm Plant Food 8-2-12
- 4. Down to Earth Blood Meal Fertilizer Mix 12-0-0
- How to Fertilize Banana Plants Step-by-Step
- When to Fertilize Banana Trees
- Verdict: Best Banana Plant Fertilizers
Choosing the Best Fertilizer for Banana Plants
One of the key elements to successful banana tree growing is maintaining a regular watering and feeding schedule. That can be time-consuming, so knowing what fertilizers are available, how they need to be administered, and how often, is going to help you make the right choices for you.
Granular Vs Liquid Fertilizer
It’s fine to use either a granular or liquid fertilizer for your banana plants. Granular feeds will need to be measured out according to the size of your banana plant or plants and then scattered around the base of the plant. Make sure you avoid getting the granules too close to the stem as this can cause fertilizer burn that will result in damage to your banana plant.
Once you have scattered the right amount of granules, they will need to be watered in so that they begin releasing nutrients to the plant.
Liquid fertilizers will need to be diluted in water before use. Once the diluted mixture is applied to the soil around the base of the plant, it will quickly get absorbed by the roots and will begin to work straight away.
This method of fertilizing can be incorporated into your plant’s watering schedule and can save you time.
Liquid Concentrate or Spray
Liquid fertilizers are generally sold as a concentrate that needs mixing with water. In contrast, it is possible to buy fertilizer in a ready-mixed spray. The top of the bottle usually features a pump-action nozzle and fertilizer gets released with every pump.
The danger when using outdoors is that the spray fertilizer is released as a mist which can easily be blown all over the place by any breeze no matter how gentle. Fertilizer sprays also tend to be more expensive to buy, ounce for ounce.
Fertilizer Granules or Powder
Banana trees grow best when planted in groups of three so expect to need a decent amount of fertilizer during any one growing season. I find that fertilizer granules or powders offer the best value-for-money solution when it comes to feeding multiple banana trees.
Manufacturers’ instructions will vary from one product to the next in terms of how much to use depending on the size of your plants. All are administered in a similar way by either sprinkling or scattering over the soil around your plants and then watering in.
The granules or powder become activated once they have been watered in. Most offer a source of nutrients both to the soil as well as the plants and these nutrients are absorbed by the plant via its roots through the soil.
Fertilizer spikes are a quick and easy method of feeding banana trees and plants. They are both mess and odor-free. With no need for measuring and pouring since you just need to remove them from their packaging and push or hammer them into the ground. They offer a slow-release feeding option that will continue to release nutrients into the soil for up to 8 weeks.
This method of fertilizing tends to work out to be more costly when compared to other feeding methods. It’s worth bearing in mind that bigger trees and plants will need more than one spike.
Banana Tree Fertilizer N-P-K
The two key characteristics of a healthy-looking banana plant are a plentiful crop of fruit (if you’re lucky enough to live in the right climate), and lush green, huge leaves that are strong and vibrant.
To achieve this for your banana plants, you are going to need a fertilizer with both a rich source of nitrogen and potassium. Young banana plants in particular, but also those in the earlier stages of the growing season, need plenty of nitrogen.
As the plants progress through the growing season and begin to produce fruit, they need potassium to help make them resilient to disease and temperature changes, as well as produce a better-quality fruit harvest. Potassium also helps them to regulate their water intake too.
Look out for yellow leaves that are smaller than usual and late or slow developing fruit as an indication that your banana plant may have a potassium deficiency.
Best Fertilizer for Banana Trees Reviews
A well-rounded banana fertilizer will have both a rich source of nitrogen and potassium but will also offer phosphorous and trace elements such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc. All this will contribute to healthy plant growth as well as the production of and amount of fruit yield.
Through careful research, meticulous testing, and first-hand user experience, I’ve got a bunch of the best fertilizer for banana plant products to share with you with the intention of removing the legwork so that you can get right on with fertilizing.
My first choice is an organic and 100% natural fertilizer from Dr. Earth that is specially formulated for tropical plants.
What I love about Dr. Earth products is their unique blend of chemical-free ingredients. This one includes a range of minerals and proteins, plus humic acids. All of these are perfect for enriching soil which is exactly what banana plants love.
I tend to use this fertilizer right at the start of the growing season when my banana plants need a boost of nitrogen and it’s suitable for use both for new plantings as well as for established more mature plants.
I find that the method of sprinkling the fertilizer over the soil, gently digging it in, and then watering it is the best approach during the growing season. It’s a slow-release formula and only needs application every 2 months. Check prices for Dr. Earth Exotic Blend Tropical Plant Fertilizer here.
When my banana plants are dormant, I make a fertilizer tea that I water into the soil as well as spray onto the leaves as a foliar spray. This is a great way of locking in some extra nutrients in the soil and plant during winter. Beware though, it is a little on the smelly side and although it’s safe for pets and people since there are no harmful chemicals, my dog is highly attracted to the aroma.
How to Use: For mature banana plants sprinkle ¾ of a cup of fertilizer for every 1 foot of plant height. Gently work this into the soil and water it in really well. Use ½ the quantity for new plantings or container plants.
- Great way to boost nitrogen and enrich organic matter in the soil
- Can be used as a foliar spray over winter
- Overuse may raise pH levels in the soil
Next up is a water-soluble option from JR Peters and it contains an evenly balanced blend N-P-K of 20-20-20 plus a smattering of micro-nutrients too.
This fertilizer is gentle enough to be used every 7-10 days throughout the growing season and can be incorporated into the times that you water your banana plants since you need to dilute with water in order to activate the feed.
Since it is unlikely to cause fertilizer burn, this one would be good to use as a foliar spray as well as a fertilizer on the occasions that you need to fertilize when your banana plant is dormant too. Click here for JR Peters All-Purpose Fertilizer from Amazon.com
It is a general-purpose feed, meaning it’s suitable for use in other areas of your garden and can be used as a fertilizer for vegetable gardens, flower beds & borders, and even to improve your lawn.
How to Use: Mix 1tbsp per gallon of water for outdoor plants and 1/2tbsp per gallon of water for indoor and container plants.
- All-purpose and organic – has a multitude of uses for your garden
- Water soluble and gentle enough to use weekly as part of your watering regime
- Offers a balanced N-P-K rather than targetting a specific part of the growing season
Throughout this article, I’ve been explaining that banana plants benefit from a boost of potassium once flowering has begun. And this Shake ‘N Feed Palm Plant Food from Miracle-Gro has potassium as its primary macronutrient.
It also contains magnesium and iron to help keep that majestic foliage green and lush and prevent the potential for yellowing. This makes for a good option of fertilizer for indoor-grown banana plants or those in pots that are going to be located in a patio area. It’s a non-organic formula and so it has less of a smell than some organic varieties.
This fertilizer offers a slow-release formula and will continue to provide nutrients for up to 3 months. It’s really easy to use too because the cap acts as a dispenser so you can be sure you’re sprinkling an even amount of granules around your precious plants and be careful to avoid that all-important stem area. Click here to find Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed Palm Plant Food on Amazon
How To Use: Blend evenly into the soil within the drip line and water well to activate being careful to avoid contact with foliage and stem. Repeat every three months during the active growing season.
- Potassium-rich to help with fruit and flower development
- Suitable for use as a fertilizer for indoor banana plant growing
- Could cause fertilizer burn if left in contact with stems or leaves
If you really need to ramp up the nitrogen and the focus for your banana plant growing is for pristine, lush, green foliage, then may I suggest you choose Down to Earth Blood Meal?
Let’s face it, some places just don’t get enough hours of sunshine or warm enough temperatures, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the tropical backdrop that banana plants will bring to your garden. You may not be blessed with a crop of bananas, but you can still bask in the glory of being able to grow and enjoy these beautiful plants all summer long. Click here for Down to Earth Blood Meal Fertilizer from Amazon.com
Down to Earth Blood Meal is another organic choice and so only contains natural ingredients. It’s packed to the rafters with nitrogen and so will provide your banana plants with the nutrient-rich environment that they love to enable them to grow strong and healthy during their growing season.
How to Use: This can be used to side-dress by sprinkling around plants or diluting and watering directly onto the soil. Repeat monthly throughout the growing season.
- All natural and organic with high-dose nitrogen
- Will help to produce lush, green foliage
- May increase acidity in the soil if overused
How to Fertilize Banana Plants Step-by-Step
Fertilizing banana trees and plants needs to start with high nitrogen fertilizer in spring right at the start of the growing season. A fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen will encourage that beautiful ornamental foliage to grow strong and healthy throughout the season.
Regular feeding should continue throughout the growing season but switch to a potassium-rich fertilizer as soon as flowers start to show.
The type of fertilizer you choose and the method by which you apply it really does come down to personal preference. Organic is always best if you are expecting edible fruit.
You may prefer a slow-release fertilizer that will enrich the soil with microbes, before being absorbed by the tree or plant via the roots. Alternatively, your preference may be to choose a fertilizer that can be diluted with water and thus incorporated into the regular watering schedule of your banana tree.
Fertilizing Banana Plants
The secret to strong, healthy growth, lush green leaves and a bumper yield of fruit is regular and plentiful feeding but to avoid getting feed on the stem and leaves as this could cause fertilizer burn. There are also some slight variances to consider depending on whether your banana plant is planted in the ground or you are growing them in a pot or container.
Fertilizing Indoor Banana Plants in Pots
Banana plants grown indoors in pots or containers are a great way to add drama and interest to your home. It also means you won’t miss out on these captivating, majestic plants even if you live in a climate that is far from tropical.
It is best to choose one of the dwarf varieties for indoor growing unless you have a huge space (and a huge pot). An indoor banana plant grown in a pot will need fertilizing once per month throughout the growing period.
A balanced 12-12-12 fertilizer is perfect here and there is no need to vary the amount of nitrogen and potassium since it is unlikely that an indoor-grown banana plant with fruit.
Fertilizing Banana Trees outside in the Ground
Banana trees are heavy feeders. Not only do they need to be planted in nutrient-rich soil, but they also need to be fed regularly during the active growing season (between spring and fall).
For new plantings, feed regularly with one measure of fertilizer. Increase to 1.5 measures once your banana plant reaches maturity. Banana plants grow quickly and can reach maturity in as little as 15 months.
When to Fertilize Banana Trees
Start a regular fertilizing program at the beginning of spring. Any increase in temperature will stimulate the growth of new roots and shoots and banana trees will appreciate regular doses of nutrients from the get-go.
Continue to fertilize regularly throughout the growing season remembering to switch from nitrogen-rich to potassium-rich once flowers begin to appear.
You can stop fertilizing once fruit production (if you are fortunate enough to live in the right climates) or flowering has finished.
Fertilizing during a banana tree’s dormant period will depend on where you live. If you live in an area with the potential for frost then you should remove leaves and wrap them in wading or straw in fall before the first signs of frost. You should then mulch around the base of your banana plant to ensure a supply of organic matter over the winter period.
For warmer climates, fertilizing lightly (bi-monthly) can continue during the dormant period. You may choose to fertilize the leaves with a foliar spray if you wish.
How Often to Fertilize Banana Trees
Banana trees and plants need feeding regularly. Depending on the type of fertilizer you buy, this will range from weekly to monthly to bi-monthly.
Feeds that need diluting in water will need to be applied more regularly than granules, powder, or fertilizer spikes. This is because liquid feeds usually offer a quick release of nutrients that are absorbed immediately by the plant and so will need replenishing more often.
Fertilizers that need to be dug in or inserted into soil offer a slow-release option. They tend to need to be activated by water which then gets absorbed by the soil and in time by the roots. They offer nutrients over a longer period because they are retained in the soil for longer and therefore need to be applied less frequently.
There are benefits to both methods. I prefer water-soluble if I have an ailing banana plant that needs a quick pick-me-up. I also find this option convenient since I need to water my Bananas regularly so I can simply dilute them into my watering can and combine feeding and watering at the same time.
A slow-release option is convenient if you use an irrigation system and don’t need to manually water on a regular basis. This method of fertilizing is also handy if you tend to be a little forgetful.
Banana Plant Soil pH
It’s helpful to know what the pH level in your soil is before you begin planting and you can test this easily with a soil pH test kit.
The ideal pH level for banana plants is 6.0 meaning it is slightly acidic. Planting in organic-rich compost, mulching, and providing additional nitrogen will enable you to achieve this soil pH and help to maintain it throughout the year.
Look out for any yellowing of leaves, a pink-red tinge on leaf stems, and reduced growth even in the growing season as these are an indication of a nitrogen deficiency in banana plants. Other signs include a reduction in crop size and yield as well as premature leaf drop.
Remember though, banana trees are heavy feeders, and if they can’t absorb the right balance of nutrients from fertilizer, they will soon deplete the nutrients in the soil.
Overfertilizing Banana Plants
It’s difficult to over-fertilize banana plants since they are heavy feeders and need high doses of macro and micro-nutrients in order to thrive.
Dwarf varieties and those planted in pots and containers need the amount stated by the manufacturer. New plantings need half doses until they mature (up to 15 months) and mature plants need 1.5 doses of the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Stick to high-dose nitrogen feeds at the start of the growing season and high-dose potassium fertilizers when flowers begin to appear. This will help to boost those beautiful, majestic banana leaves, strong root growth, and stems at the beginning of the season and encourage flowers and fruit (weather conditions permitting!) as the season progresses.
Once your banana plant has fruited, you can reduce the amount of fertilizer to half from fall through winter.
To avoid fertilizer burn, avoid getting concentrated fertilizer formulas on the stems or leaves.
Verdict: Best Banana Plant Fertilizers
Banana plants add drama and interest to your landscape with their majestic leaves and can be grown successfully even in non-tropical climates. If you want them to fruit, however, they need long periods of sunshine, with temperatures averaging 81ºF and certainly no lower than 60ºF. It can take up to 15 months for the fruit to fully form, plus a further 2 months to ripen.
Wherever you’re growing them they will need plenty of fertilizer and depending on your needs, you’re going to need one of my top picks. Either: Dr. Earth Exotic Blend Tropical Plant Fertilizer. My first organic choice and one that will boost the all-important nitrogen that is needed by banana plants at the start of the growing season.
Alternatively, go for Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed Palm Plant Food to add potassium as your banana plants begin to fruit. Or, go for JR Peters All Purpose fertilizer. A great feed to have in your potting shed. This one is water-soluble and can be used for veggies, flowers, and lawns too.