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peterchris 09-14-2017 11:24 PM

Ensete maurelii in trouble!
Dear Banana people!

I have an Ensete maurelii that is very sick. The problem started with yellowing leaves, then brown spots, then dying leaves. I dug it out of the ground and found a lot of soft, decaying material. I cleaned it off, down to healthy tissue, and found holes in the rootstock. I caught a glimpse of a white larva that retreated into one of the holes. I have left the plant out of the ground to dry and, I hope, kill any remaining larvae.

I'm planning to put it in a pot now, in a fast-draining mix of commercial potting soil and cinder, which is commonly used here in mixing soil for potted plants.

I used to grow E. maurelii in New Jersey. It was so easy! In one summer the plant would grow so fast, then in the fall I'd cut off the leaves (and sometimes a good part of the stem), put it in a large pot, and keep it in a cool greenhouse.

Here, near Honokaa, Hawaii, the plant grew slowly, and the shape (when it was doing well!) was wide rather then tall.

I have other bananas on the property here that grow like weeds. I guess this one is a little difficult. But I wonder why it got so sick. We had a dry period, so I started watering it, and then this happened.

Did the grubs cause the dying leaves? Or did they move in and start eating the plant after it got sick?

I'm on the public water system, and have acidic soil.


P. S. I'm trying to attach two photos (that I posted in the gallery) here. Will try again later...

aruzinsky 09-15-2017 09:44 AM

Re: Ensete maurelii in trouble!
I looked at your photos and, if that plant was mine, I would regard it as hopeless and just buy a new one. I recently bought an E. Maurelli from Brian's Botanicals.

By "cinder," I assume you mean black pumice. If your rainfall is heavy, I would plant in pure black pumice and fertilize occasionally with a hydroponic fertilizer. I have seen Heliconia 'rubricaulis' growing well in pure black pumice, in Hawaii. H. 'rubricaulis' is relatively difficult to grow.

crusader657 09-16-2017 01:39 AM

Re: Ensete maurelii in trouble!
Poor thing, it looks like it's past the point of no return I'm sad to say. I'm not sure if maybe the grubs arrived to eat the rotting material or what, but it looks like rot has got into it at some point. Before composting it you could cut open the main body of the base and see how it is inside. If there were enough fresh white flesh you could try stripping all the rotted material away, dusting it with anti-fungal powder and then see if you can breed from it (see various Youtube videos about multiplying Ensetes). Unfortunately though, it really does look like it's dead right through the entire corm.

peterchris 09-16-2017 03:46 AM

Re: Ensete maurelii in trouble!
Dear Aruzinsky and Crusader,

Thanks for your thoughts on this. If only it were easy to buy a replacement plant here! A friend of mine found this one (it was the last one) at a wholesale nursery. Oddly enough, exotic tropicals just aren't easy to find here, on the Island of Hawaii. It was easy to find all sorts of unusual plants at nurseries and garden centers in New Jersey, when I lived there.

So I'm hoping to revive this plant. I don't know when I'd be able to get another. I suppose I could mail-order one from Brian's Botanicals. (I just checked out their website--looks like a good source.)

About my ensete: the base of the plant is dry and hard, almost woody. All the rot is gone. (And I hope the larvae are gone, too.) I potted it up today, and will be looking for signs of growth!

Thanks again for your ideas here.


aruzinsky 09-16-2017 09:09 AM

Re: Ensete maurelii in trouble!

Originally Posted by peterchris (Post 309565)
Oddly enough, exotic tropicals just aren't easy to find here, on the Island of Hawaii.

You mean retail sellers. I was in Hawaii attending meetings of the International Heliconia Society in 1987 and 1990. The place was full of exotic tropicals and I visited many commercial farms growing a wide variety of Heliconia for cut flowers. These commercial growers traded among themselves. But, I didn't see any garden centers or even florist shops, except, maybe, one. In Hana, Maui, there was a Mr. Howard Cooper, who I believe sold retail. I doubt that he is still alive.

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