Get ready. Your baby banana plant won’t be a baby for long. Each stalk of leaves will produce only one bloom, which will stay alive and colorful for weeks. The good news, though, is that long before that bloom ages, your banana will send up at least one new baby banana plant – called a sucker – to grow for you next season. Once the bloom passes, the greenery will stay lovely for a long time, though you may want to cut it back so the plant spends its energy on the babies.

Unpack your plant carefully so as not to damage the tender roots around the bulb, called a rhizome. Bananas don’t spread as voraciously as many other tropical plants, so it will do great in a pot or small plot of ground – as long as it is protected from cold. It won’t grow much, if at all, when ground and air temperatures are below 50 degrees F.

Your new banana will start strong if planted in a well-drained soil mixture of perlite, peat moss, and potting soil. Notice the line of photosynthesis and plant your banana to the same depth. Water well and put it in a semi-sunny spot for a few days before moving it into full sun. (Most bananas will bloom and fruit in partial sun, however.) Keep the soil moist but not wet or the rhizome may rot. (You’ll spot this if the base of the plant starts to soften. If this happens, hold off watering and the plant will usually take care of itself by sending out a new sucker.) Usually, watering every other day will suffice, depending on the humidity and heat in your area.

Within a week or so, you should notice new leaves coming out of the top of the plant. The old leaves may die back. Don’t worry; this is simply a reaction to being replanted. Within four to six weeks, your banana plant should be covered in new leaves.

Bananas also love to be fed. A monthly fertilizer of elements below 10-10-10 will keep your banana happy and growing in the warmer months. If you are more of an organic gardener, old banana peels buried in the ground next to your plant gives it a wonderful boost of potassium your plant will love.

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