Re: Potting soil advice (newbie)
I grow my banana plants in big pots on the patio (I've got no yard).
I mix my own soil and have had good results so far, though a few of the pups I transplanted recently have had a bit of transplant shock from very hot weather.
I use a lot of Kellogg's Grow Mulch and Cactus Mix (half and half). I also mix in a good deal of compost and manure. To keep water draining well I use a LOT of Pumice or Perilite (perhaps a 5th of the amount of soil). I've tossed in some course sand here and there too as well as some small rocks at the bottom of the huge containers.
I've become a fan of beneficial fungi, so, at planting I mix in a generous amount of mycorrhizal fungi (this can be either used directly as the white powder or found in organic fertilizers such as Dr. Earth, or other brands). There might be some really strange looking mushrooms growing from the pots every morning for a while....but that is a very good sign, not a disease. Ignore the mushrooms.
I also toss in a banana peel (chopped up) at least once a month. I often cover it with some cow or chicken manure.
Well, my soil is not scientific or exacting....it's more art than recipe.
In warm weather I use either bark mulch or grow mulch around the plant to retain more water (I live in very dry San Diego).
If my banana plants start to develop brown spots on the base then I know I have been over watering.
Some folks tell me I will never get bananas growing in a pot like this....but, my 6 month old Orinoco is now 7 feet tall and has put off 4 pups. I have every reason to believe I will be swimming in bananas next year (I hear it takes up to 9 months for bananas to develop once the flower shows up).
I also resurrected my Jamaican Red banana plant from the dead.
I'd planted it in the ground at a friend's yard.
It was NOT thriving there even though I'd prepared the soil well.
So, I dug it up and pulled off all the dead bits (nearly everything) and potted it.
Now it is very beautiful and nearly 3 feet tall. It liked the pot more than the ground.
Hopefully it will make pups so I can try the ground planting again without risking my only good Jamaican Red plant.
I loved reading that you were growing your bananas in pots.
We container farmers are a minority.
Let me know how your bananas are doing and what sort of soil has been working for you.
Your banana pal,
San Diego apartment farmer