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Old 12-12-2006, 08:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Super Dwarf Cavendish Care...

Well, now that i've id'd my musa (through the help of this great site) as Super Dwarf Cavendish, i am looking for some specifics on how to raise it!

First - i am zone 7 and intend to grow in a pot, bringing it inside for the winter.

What soil mix is best? be specific!

what type of fertilizer should i use for the winter? i have not fertilized this plant at all since i have had it, and it has done very well. in the past two weeks, however, it has started to get brown spots all over the mother plant, and the pup has taken off. both the large leaf and the closed leaf on the pup are new, but the mother hasn't pushed a leaf for nearly a month.

is it dying?

what fert for the spring? summer? fall?
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Old 12-12-2006, 10:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Super Dwarf Cavendish Care...

Uh! - Oh! Sounds like you need to withhold watering a bit. And only fertilize once a month at half strength during the winter months. Use the same fertilizer that you would normally, assuming that your formula has the Phosphorus (P) component as the lowest in proportion to the others two, N & K. If not, yu need to change it. A high P component will tend to burn your plant. The brown spots could be from overnight frost, also, if you had them outside. Here's my response to a fertilizer related question: http://www.bananas.org/showthread.php?p=9211#post9211

The pup may have taken off because the primary plant may have been subjected to some kind of injury (frost, over-watering, under-watering, etc.). If the potting medium is wet a lot, besides withholding water for a few days, thatch(cultivate) the upper surface of the soils as much as you can without damaging any roots. This will allow the soil to be aerated. When the outer upper 1/2" of the soil is dry, then water as usual. If the upper surface remains wet for a few days, do not water again until 3 or 4 days have passed.

If the potting medium (soil) has dried out at one time, the way to ensure that you do not have pockets of dry medium is to imerse the whole pot in a container of water for at least an hour. Oftentimes, when the soil gets dry completely, and then you water the pot, the water will be absorbed at the surface about a half an inch and then roll down the sides, making it appear that the soil is saturated. In fact, only the upper surface and a layer of soil around the side have been wetted. The volume between those layers are in fact dry because when materials are very dry, the application of water is repelled initially by the materials, until the materials are enveloped by water. Otherwise, water will just run through.

Assuming that your brown spots are actually closer to black spots, it is a definite sign of over watering. If they are in fact light brown spots, it is possible that the leaves were exposed to very bright sunlight when there were water droplets on the leaves. Those droplets act like magnifying glass concentrating the sunlight on the leaves causing severe sunburn. This is why most experts caution gardeners not to water plants in the bright sunlight, unless the water is applied directly into the soil.

Any chance you can post a photo of your plants to show their condition?
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Old 12-12-2006, 10:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Super Dwarf Cavendish Care...

The potting medium I use is a soilless medium - Fison's Sunshine Mix No. 1, mixed with graded pumice, 60%-40% ratio. Sunshine mix holds water for a very long time so I mix the 1/4" pumice to loosened it up a bit and allow the mixture to breathe a little better. If you have access to pea gravel, it may be substituted for the pumice. But pea gravel will make your pot very heavy. So, moving the pot in and out will require "a little more effort."
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Old 12-13-2006, 02:55 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Super Dwarf Cavendish Care...

dragr13,

I use (Scotts brand, because its easy to get at Home Depot) 1/3 Potting Soil, 1/3 Perlite, and 1/3 Peat Moss. Combines with Miracle Gro tomato food in the summer only, approximately a 20-20-20 fertilizer. Everything grows very well, although I know there are better and more nutritious soil mixes out there! I'm planning to try better 'ingredients' in the spring.

Chong,

You're helping me out once again! I had no idea about the way water runs through a potted plant once its dry. I knew it went through faster, but figured the moisture would spread OK given time. A few of my bananas are extremely dry and I only give them a little water in the hopes that they will make it through the winter semi-dormant with not quite enough light. Some are looking a little worse for wear, like the light is ok, but the water isn't enough. I'm watering frequently, but not in great amounts. The plants seem almost bone dry the next day after watering.

Now I'm thinking maybe I should give them an occasional long soak in the bath. Rotting isn't a problem since I made sure all plants were very pot bound and they gulp every bit of water they get!

4 more months of this, still hoping for the best...

~Joe
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Old 12-13-2006, 08:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Super Dwarf Cavendish Care...

I think mine is just dwarf, not superdwarf, but whatever....

I have been keeping mine pretty dry- almost let a Mahoi get too dry, but shes coming back nicely.

They get spritzed with water in the AM and PM most days. watered when theyre about bone dry.

Hope yours improves!
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Old 12-13-2006, 12:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Super Dwarf Cavendish Care...

chong - wow, thanks!

there are some pictures of my plant on my gallery, but here are the spots i am most concerned with:

also, what the he** is up with the huge black area on the pseudostem? it's been there for a long time... the plant was growing very well during the summer months and it was black just like that...

ooops - pics did not show up on this reply. i uploaded them all to my gallery.

Last edited by dragr13 : 12-13-2006 at 12:12 PM. Reason: no pics!
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Old 12-13-2006, 03:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Super Dwarf Cavendish Care...

Quote:
Originally Posted by dragr13 View Post
chong - wow, thanks!

there are some pictures of my plant on my gallery, but here are the spots i am most concerned with:

also, what the he** is up with the huge black area on the pseudostem? it's been there for a long time... the plant was growing very well during the summer months and it was black just like that...

ooops - pics did not show up on this reply. i uploaded them all to my gallery.
Thanks dragr,
It's a lot easier to figure something out if you're actually seeing the problem. Those black spots along the base of the leaves on the pseudostem are normal coloration for this type of banana. In others, they may be maroon, dark green, brown, etc. The brown spots on the leaves, in my experience, are caused by the plant being subjected to a period of dryness or drought, so that in distributing available moisture, certain portions of the plant did not receive enough. And, if the spots appeared after the leaves have unfurled, there is the added possibility that those portions were "sunburned". Either due to some puddles of water in those areas being exposed to sunlight, or sudden exposure to strong sunlight after a long period under the shade.

Anyway, can't turn the clock back, so the thing to do is keep you plant well watered. If it had been dried out before, chances are there may be pocket of dry soil in your pot. What you can do the next time you water the plant, if you do not have a bucket large enough to hold the pot, is tape the holes on the pot shut, then water thoroughly until the water runs over the top. hold it there for an hour before removing the tape. If the water level drops before the hour, just refill it. From then on, make sure that you do not let the pot run completely dry. Just the top 1/2" to 1" is OK to let dry.
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Old 12-13-2006, 04:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Super Dwarf Cavendish Care...

OK, all very good stuff! thank you again.

do you think it would be ok to change the soil i have it planted in? i'm not sure that it is the best mix... any reccomendations?

also, i still have no idea what to do about fertilizer... as stated earlier i have not fertilized at all, and i'm wondering whether or not to start until the spring when it goes outside...
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Old 12-13-2006, 06:31 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Super Dwarf Cavendish Care...

dragr,
That's a catchy name you got. Does that mean that you do 1/4-mile racing and do 13-second ET's? WOW!

Regarding your soil, if you've only had it for 2 years, personally, I won't change it. Unless, you have some kind of infection, bugs, or something. Changing it might just hurt the roots. Since you have it indoors, where it's warm, just place next to a bright window. Let it bask in the sunshine a bit and let it continue to grow.

If you want to improve the soil condition, the next time you water, you might want to just soak the whole pot in water with 2 drops of Superthrive per gallon of water, and half strength(**) of your favorite fertilizer, for a whole hour or 2. Place the pot in a container(a small "Muck-Bucket" is great for this) large enough to hold the pot and liquid close to the soil top. Pour the liquid onto the soil slowly until it runs out the bottom and fills up the bucket to the top of the soil. Do not let it soak more than 4 hours. You'll drown the plant. (** Esp. in this case since you said you've not fertilized the plant at all[for 2 years?], use the half strength recommended by the manufacturer. e.g., Miracle-Gro Soluble All Purpose[28-8-16] recommends 1-tablespoon of fertilizer per gallon of water. So for this time, use only 1/2 tablesp per gallon, because you do not want to shock the plant. Assuming that the plant is where the temperature is over 70F, you'd want to fertilize again in 2 weeks, this time using the full strength. Also, the next time you water the plant, mix 1 drop of Superthrive per gallon of water and do the same when you fertilize.)

For fertilizer, check out my response to a similar question on this thread: http://www.bananas.org/showthread.php?p=9211#post9211

Hope this helps.

Chong
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Old 12-17-2006, 02:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Super Dwarf Cavendish Care...

Chong - Wow! Yes, that will help.

I have done my share of racing, and yes, there were some 13's. Nothing too fast or fancy, but good clean american muscle fun. Recently i've become more focused on personal watercraft, though. You heard about this 215 hp seadoo? but that's a story for another site...

is your name supposed to be reminescent of tommy chong? just curious.

ok - business:
My 'musa acuminata' (right?) seems to be holding up well. i will fertilize next time i water, but i watered recently and it doesn't seem to be using a lot of water, so...

two questions - should i overwinter this thing (pull it out of the pot, cut the roots, put it in a dungeon...) if i have it inside? because...

2nd question - the pup is still growing crazily. the new leaf is almost twice as big as the last new leaf, and i don't see why i would put it away when it is still growing. but is this healthy growth?

thanks again!

P.S.: i ordered some new naners:

1 - Misi Luki
1 - Dwarf Cavendish
1 - Mona Lisa
1 - Raja Puri

thoughts?
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Old 12-18-2006, 03:56 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Super Dwarf Cavendish Care...

Nice! dragr,
Been a muscle car afficionado since I came to this country during the "Dodge Revolution" period. But I've never raced in the tracks, just the streets. I still have what is considered one of the last true muscle cars, a 1972 Dodge Charger R/T SE, with a stock factory ordered 440 Magnum. My car rolled off the factory in 12/12/71. Cut-off date for the non-emissioned 440 was 12/19/71, a full week after mine rolled out. Also have a 70 Challenger Convertible (2nd owner) that will be retrofitted with an Indy 528 cid Hemi and Kiesler aluminum 5-speed tranny. I better stop, else . . . .

No, Tommy Chong is probably my age. Chong-Chong is the nickname my paternal grandmother used to call me, so they wouldn't have heard of him then. It was the middle of WWII, for God's sakes. As I grew older, the second "Chong" was dropped (maybe the first, LOL). When I came to this country, whenever I introduced myself to people, I'd have to explain how my name was pronounced 99% of the time. I stuck to doing that because that was the period of personal "identity". Until 1970, Seattle had massive layoffs and I couldn't get a job anywhere from Seatlle to Chicago to Philly to Cleveland. When I was in Chicago, after trying all the job openings in my level of engineering and failing to land a job, I decided to try executive positions in engineering. After my first introduction as "Chong", and getting the usual response, "Hello, John", I decided at that time that I would not waste his time explaining how to pronounce my name. I became "John" from that point on. I had great success interviewing with presidents of large corporations and they wined and dined me, as a matter of fact. Although now, with the Cheech and Chong fame, some people who know me as John are surprised when my relatives and very close friends call me Chong. I just tell them that it was because everyone had difficulty pronouncing Chong, that I would resort to John because that's what they thought I said. (Sorry about the long answer, I enjoy a particularly colorful life experiences.)

As you insisted . . . . back to bananas:
If you watered the plant over 3 days ago, it would be OK to dunk the plant now in water/fertilizer combination I described. Chances are the pockets of dry soil is still enveloping the roots closest to the corm.

You plant will not grow as fast now as it did in the summer. Particularly, if it's not in full sunlight. So, if it were me, I'd just put it next to a bright window from now until early spring. If your plant is actually a S.D. Cavendish, the tallest it will be is 3ft anyway. So, it's not like you're gonna have it's leaves rubbing against the ceiling or anything like that. Even if it's just the dwarf, in the winter, it would not achieve full height, either. Now this is assuming you have room for it next to a bright window. I had a house, once, where the dryer was next to a west facing window. I had 2 pots of satsuma oranges from New Orleans set on top of it. I harvested sweet oranges for 2 years, until work got in the way.

Growth is growth. Unless, it's deseased, like in unusual coloration, deformation of the leaves. The fact that the pup is trying to outgrow the parent, doesn't mean that the parent is dying. I bet you, that pup is getting more water on his side of the pot than the parent. Try dunking it even in water with Superthrive, then see what kind of reaction you get from it. To ensure that the area around the plant is not too dry, put the pot in a deep pan with 1/2"-3/4" pebbles. Put the pan over the pebbles, so that when you water it, the water runs out in thru the rocks. The rocks will help the water to evaporate and increase the humidity of the area around the plant. Do not let the roots of the plant get immersed in the water too long. If the qater level is over the root line of the plant, remove some of it so that it's just at the base of the pot.

I've received 12 new corms from various sources. The big ones are in 5-gal pots, the small ones in 1-gal. I even have 2 mangos and 2 coconuts in 5-gal pot each. They're inside the house right now that we don't have any electricity for about 3-1/2 days now(nasty 95-105 MPH winds tore up 50 year old trees and scatterred them over roadways and such. Maybe even power sub-stations). I will slowly bring them out to the green house, but I only keep my greenhouse at 58degF, anyway. But it beats the 28degF outside.

Your corms, put them in 5-gal containers for now and set them next to a window where they can get sunlight as well as room temperature. If your garage has a window, and does not get below 50degF, you can put a shelf flush with the window sill and put your plants there next to the window.

Gotta go now, so I can free up some wattage for heat to the house from the generator. Had to unplug one of the heaters while I'm on the computer so I don't overload my generator. I'll check with all y'all later.
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Old 12-23-2006, 02:41 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Super Dwarf Cavendish Care...

Hell yeah! die hard streets! lol. you have absolutely fantastic taste, i have to tell you. i've had nothing so desireable: when i was 14 bought a 76 camaro as my 'first car' ($100!), but never got the chance to do more than spin the wheels in the backyard; when i was 16 i bought myself a 57 belair 2 dr coupe for christmas (327 bored .030 out with edelbrock intake and 650 cfm, blew two powerglides before i stuck the th350 in, sold it for a profit); built a rocket out of an 88 s10 blazer (junkyard 350, doublehump heads, 700r4, converted 4x to 2wd!), blew it up; drove around in a $100 mazda b22 for a few years; falling apart 95 cadi eldo to date. whew!

ok, on to bananas! i just received my 6-2-12 banana fert from stokes tropicals. i applied at half strength (reccomends 3 month intervals, i divided into monthly and then divided by two) for the first month and soaked the whole pot in the tub for an hour or so. i will let you know!

also, i got my new naners! ooh, hoo, i can't wait for spring! i'll put up pictures when i get them into little pots, right now, i'm going to bed...

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