Why are Your Banana Plant Leaves Curling & How to Fix Them

A banana plant on the article Why are Your Banana Plant Leaves Curling

You may think that banana plants are grown only for their food value, but this is not the case.

This versatile plant can be grown both indoors and outdoors and with the right care and attention, can be an asset to any home.

Banana plants originally come from Southeast Asia. They are not, in fact, trees, even though they may look like them. It is called a false stem and is made up of layers of tightly packed leaves.

Bananas are classed as the largest herbaceous flowering plants in the world, they come from the tropics and therefore will do well in environments that emulate these conditions.

Their ideal environment is one which offers plenty of sunshine, moisture, and warmth.

Why are Your Banana Plant Leaves Curling?

There are two main reasons why the leaves of your banana plant are curling, namely too little water and overexposure to sunlight.

Too Little Water

Banana plants are vigorous growers and for this reason they need more water than you may think.

If your banana plant starts to curl its leaves then check the soil around the plant right away.

The soil you are growing your plant in should have good drainage properties so that excess water can drain out and not waterlog the roots, but if the soil dries out your plant will not be happy.

If you are growing this indoor and you need help watering your plant, try using this automatic drip irrigation kit.

Overexposure to Sun

Lots of banana plantsAlthough banana plants thrive in the wild in tropical conditions, they do not do well in direct sunlight conditions.

They much prefer to be placed in an indirect light setting and they will thrive here.

Excessive sun which is constantly on them may result in the leaves suffering from sun scorch.

This is particularly important if you are planting a new plant which has not acclimatised to your garden and conditions there.

If your plant is struggling due to light, trying using this to help regulate the lighting.

Why are Your Banana Plant Leaves Drooping and or Bending?

Drooping and bending have similar causes, the most common issue being a lack of water.

Banana plants are voracious feeders and without water they will not survive.

Often once the leaves have started to droop at the midribs the plant will not recover and may even die.

Lack of Nutrition

Banana plants do well with the addition of a fertiliser regularly during the growing season.

This is because they will use all the nutrients in the potting mix or even in the surrounding ground and will need additional feeding to do well.

In the growing season you may want to add a dose of balanced fertiliser every time you water your plant. If this is not possible, then you should at least feed the plant once a month.

Feed your banana plant with a fertiliser which contains a decent amount of potassium

You can stop feeding them and reduce the water as the temperatures drop because the plant will stop growing when it is cooler.

Why are Your Banana Plant Leaves Splitting?

Natural Development

If you were to see your banana plant in its natural environment, you would very likely see that its leaves have split.

They are designed to split so that they do not become a sail when the wind blows.

The leaves split and the wind blows through them and leaves the plant upright rather than blowing it over.

Even when used as house plants the leaves may split. You may find that this is because you have a fan or air conditioner blowing directly onto the plant and it is reacting to the air flow.

Lack of Humidity

When the leaves spit down the middle, it can be because the humidity is low. Remember that your banana plant enjoys tropical conditions.

An easy way to rectify the lack of humidity is to place a tray beneath the plant and keep it filled with water.

This will help to keep the area where your banana plant is, humid and you should see less splitting down the middle.

General Old Age

As banana plants get older some of their leaves tend to split. This is simply a part of the plant aging process. You can prune the split leaves off if they bother you.

General Care for Your Banana Plant

Banana plants are classed in the ‘moderate’ care and maintenance section so are great for beginner gardeners as well as more experienced gardeners.

They thrive in light, indirect sunlight conditions and need soil that drains well. In a pot there should be adequate drainage holes at the bottom.

Your banana plant will appreciate fertiliser during the growing season, although you should reduce the feeding in the cooler seasons.

It is always a good idea to clean the leaves every month as this will stop the build up of dust and debris.

Clean leaves also increase the plant’s ability to absorb light and help keep the lovey dark green colour.

Although they do not often suffer from Spider Mites and Aphids, do keep a look out for these pests.

You will notice webs from the spider mites and aphids as they are easily seen with the naked eye.

Both can easily be controlled by applications of soapy water from a spray bottle.

If you enjoyed this article, check out why are my banana plant leaves turning yellow.

Final Thoughts

A banana plantThese magnificent plants are an asset to any home and patio, or even when grown directly into the garden, although they do need some maintenance to do well.

As with any plant, prevention is always easier than curing a condition, and the banana plant is no different.

Once your plant has become dehydrated, it may never recover. Having a good watering routine will give you a happy healthy plant.

Any issues with leaves will turn an attractive banana plant into a sorry looking specimen but with a little bit of attention to the basic requirements you will be able to stop your banana plants leaves from curling and drooping and it will stand proudly in your home or on your patio.

Even if your goal is to grow the plant for its fruit, there is no reason why with a little forethought you should not have a great banana plant for many years.

Written by: Valerie Holyoak

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