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Main Banana Discussion This is where we discuss our banana collections; tips on growing bananas, tips on harvesting bananas, sharing our banana photos and stories.


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Old 10-22-2019, 09:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default another moisture question

I have recently been using a moisture meter to prevent myself from overwatering. Lately, I have been using a soil that contains a cactus/palm mix and it has been difficult to tell when it needs watering. It never loses all of the moisture. How do I tell when to water if the soil is never completely dry?
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Old 10-23-2019, 02:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: another moisture question

Cactus mix is designed to drain and not hold mush moisture. Probably not a good choice. I have mine in 100% compost.
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Old 10-23-2019, 05:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: another moisture question

That is like the opposite advice that everyone has given me on this forum. I was told to never use compost in the soil as it will cause root rot.
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Old 10-24-2019, 12:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: another moisture question

Rot is about moisture control. Any soil that is too wet will promote root rot. Bananas do require a lot of water. Also water requirements vary depending on the time of year. Here is SD we keep them moist in winter (Nov to March) and once it heats up you almost can't overwater them.
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Old 10-25-2019, 07:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: another moisture question

Quote:
Originally Posted by banana nut View Post
I have recently been using a moisture meter to prevent myself from overwatering. Lately, I have been using a soil that contains a cactus/palm mix and it has been difficult to tell when it needs watering. It never loses all of the moisture. How do I tell when to water if the soil is never completely dry?
You may also do the weight test..
I use a similar mix for a few of my plants.

The bonsai/cactus mix is really not the best choice for yearling plants.
A light miracle grow type soillesss mix could work better.
I have non banana plants (meyer lemon) growing in the mix.
BUT....if it is currently working ......your good to go.

I will always say do what is in your budget and what works for you.

Loose mix's keep from overwatering

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Old 10-26-2019, 09:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: another moisture question

I don't think it is currently working. I spent a long time over watering and killing potted plants. Got the soil meter and I think its going better but now the plants are growing a lot slower so I think I may be underwatering. As I said, this soil cactus mix never seems to full dry. The soil that I haven't used that is still in the store bag is still reading moisture on the meter even.
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Old 10-27-2019, 07:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: another moisture question

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As I said, this soil cactus mix never seems to full dry. The soil that I haven't used that is still in the store bag is still reading moisture on the meter even.

Are the plants indoors or outdoors?
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Old 10-27-2019, 09:03 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: another moisture question

They are all indoors now for the winter.
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Old 10-27-2019, 09:38 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: another moisture question

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Originally Posted by banana nut View Post
I don't think it is currently working. I spent a long time over watering and killing potted plants. Got the soil meter and I think its going better but now the plants are growing a lot slower so I think I may be underwatering. As I said, this soil cactus mix never seems to full dry. The soil that I haven't used that is still in the store bag is still reading moisture on the meter even.

First, Banana plants store water in its pstem and corm for dry periods. This is why we can allow a pot to go dry for a couple of days to keep from over watering (yes the leaves will fold down); allow the roots to get AIR; and may be kill any root rot forming; and store large plants dry root in the garage. ... It had been reported by researchers the banana plant can loss more than 50% to 60% of its stored water and still recover.


Next,
  • Is the soil dryer at the outer edges of the pot than in the center next to the corm?
  • Is the soil wetter at the bottom of the pot than the top? Check by inserting the probe through the bottom drain holes. NO HOLES ... GET another pot with holes. Water must drain out of the pot.
  • Check the soil mix to make sure it does not contain an additive to absorb & hold water. Many new commercial mixes now do.
  • If the soil stays wet around the corm but dry at the outer parts of the pot then it is very likely root rot has set in. The rot fungus will draw water out from the corm. The soil will not dry out around the corm/root until the plant is dead.
Next, I don't think most of the "cheap" moisture are very accurate; but still much better than using your finger. I don't think I've ever seen my meter show 'completely dry'. This could be because of the humidity of the room. ... If the leaves are not folding down, I would wait another couple of days before watering and check moisture level again. (remember the plants stores water).


An outside in-ground banana plant and temps above 90 deg I would just pour the water on & flood the plant/area.
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Old 10-27-2019, 09:41 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: another moisture question

Quote:
Originally Posted by banana nut View Post
I don't think it is currently working. I spent a long time over watering and killing potted plants. Got the soil meter and I think its going better but now the plants are growing a lot slower so I think I may be underwatering. As I said, this soil cactus mix never seems to full dry. The soil that I haven't used that is still in the store bag is still reading moisture on the meter even.
Your plants growth will slow during the dormant season. Too much water will rot them, the ones I store bare root will not get any water until April. The ones I store in pots get a little water when they are bone dry. It's better dry as the plant is not using much water when dormant.
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