Re: Need advise with Growing Musa variegated AE AE
Mine is also doing well (besides the two I killed over the winter) and I moved it up from a 16" diameter pot yesterday to a 30 gallon pot (portion of a 50 gallon plastic barrel). I used SuperSoil potting soil along with perlite and some acid-loving plant fertilizer along with some K-Mag and sometimes have applied potassium nitrate when I think the leaves are too white. Mine was root-bound when I repotted it yesterday and would show signs of stress on warm days so it should be happier now since it's got at least 2-3 times the volume it had before. My greenhouse is 16' tall in the center and the Ae Ae is getting close to the top but I think I'm going to dig a hole in the ground and give myself another 2.5 feet to carry me through the winter. I plan to plant it outside next May if all goes well.
On the pH I tend to think it's not that critical. People seem to suggest their own conditions as being what are the necessary levels but I don't believe anybody has done any tests to see what it actually does best in. Jordon in Florida has been growing Ae Ae for some 40 years or so and suggests growing them in alkaline soils since that's what he has and his do fine. People in Hawaii have plants that grow fine in acid soils. I would venture to say that anything about a pH of 7.5 to 8.0 would be too high though and would probably shoot for something at least slightly acidic since that is the environment that most are grown in. One thing is that phosphorus becomes less available at higher pH levels but bananas aren't a big user of phosphorus anyways. I believe that many of the pH level requirements of plants is based on what their nutrition needs are as different nutrients become more available at different pH levels. That is just some speculation on my part, but I believe it is probably bears some truth to what is actually going on.
I've heard that Stokes uses humic acid with the idea that this acidifies the soil but everything I've read is that it does not affect the pH.
One thing I experienced is that when weather was warm I was being too cautious with watering it out of fear that it needed to be well-drained. Then someone in Florida told me that he heard that you can't over-water them when they are growing quickly. I started really soaking mine at least once a day and it really took off then.