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Banana Plant Health And Maintenance Topics This forum is for discussions of banana plant health topics such as coloration issues, burning, insects, pruning, transplanting, separating pups, viruses, disease, and other general banana plant health and maintenance issues.


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Old 12-15-2009, 12:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Just Checking in... seeing if im doing things right for winter indoors...

I have not posted here in a while but I thought I would jump in here.

I have 1 Musa acuminata 'Sumatrana' (Rojo) Banana in a large clay pot, and 1 Ice Cream Banana in a smaller plastic pot.

First let me start by stating the indoor conditions in which they are placed. They are in my living room which has 1 large east facing, and 2 large south facing windows, and the room gets TONS of light. So bright during the day I never use any kind of artificial light on sunny days. They are both each in front of the south facing windows. The temps are typically around 72-73 degrees during the day, and 66-69 at night. I keep the humidity in my home between 50 and 60% at just about all times. Mind you, I have many other plants, mostly tropicals in my place, mainly in the living room which gets the extreme bright / direct sun almost all day.

Now, about the ice cream:

The Ice Cream was in fact a pup I took of the original back in the late fall of 2008. I potted it up when it was about 8-12" tall, and brought it inside into a south window. It lost all of its leaves, but stayed "healthy" and started to regrow around this time last winter. It put out maybe 4 or 5 new leaves over winter and got to about a foot and 1/2 tall. Although it was in bright sunlight in a s outh window, it still burned when I put it outdoors as I forgot about gradually exposing it to higher light intensities. At any rate, I potted it up into a larger pot, and it grew all summer 2009 outdoors fantasticlly. Its now about 4 and 1/2 feet tall and has its own pup that is about 1 foot tall. I have brought him in for the winter a round the end of october, and it has been doing fine.

The Rojo is much larger, about 5 a nd 1/2 feet and has much larger leaves. I also brought this one in at the same time. This one I purchased back in June at a local HD, and it was 2.99, and was about 8" tall.

Both have grown VIGOROUSLY over the summer outdoors in their pots. Here is what i have noticed since bringing them indoors the same day at the end of october....

The only things I have noticed are slowed growth, and spider mites. have been keeping the mites at bay by misting, and using a mild dish soap and water mix. On warm days I take them both outdoors and hose them off good, and treat them. I also mist them indoors maybe once a week or so. Even so h owever, they still come back, and in a couple weeks are back in almost full force. Is there anything ELSE I can try? I have heard of people using neem oil, as well as using something called Wilt Pruf. Is there any one insecticidal soap that is best? Any and all help is greatly appreciated.

While they have slowed considerably in growth, they have not stopped. The leaves are much closer together now, but not to the point of looking like they are choking. There is yellowing on the oldest leaves on the edges, but the new leaves come out look just fine and dont appear to have anything wrong at all. There is also some visual evidence of mite damage showing up on some of the older leaves, and the older leaves are always the ones that seem to getthe worst infestations. Oddly enough, the mites pretty much stick only to my Bananas, and do not "migrate to any other of my many many plants. For that I am very thankful!

Thanks for reading and any added advice you can give! Happy holidays everyone! Just another week and the days start to get LONGER!!!!

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Old 12-15-2009, 06:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Just Checking in... seeing if im doing things right for winter indoors...

Hello there.... spraying is great but if you really want to knock the mites, you are going to have to manualy wipe the plants down with a soft sponge....
Top and bottom, the leaves are tough.... They were so bad on my siam ruby I went so far as added a little sevens to the mix..... I have not seen them on my plant for a month now.....spraying just doesn't cut it......Try the sponge...
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Old 12-16-2009, 08:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Just Checking in... seeing if im doing things right for winter indoors...

I've used various things to kill spider mites, but they are very hard to get rid of completely. The little buggers seem to evolve to survive every spray I've tried on them, even the new systemic one called kontos. it helps, but doesn't get rid of them completely. And you don't use it on fruiting bananas or ones that anyone will fruit. Avid will knock them for a little while, but they do come back. And those two, Avid is around $138 for 8 oz container and kontos around $150-- for a 8 oz container!Ouch! But I had to know.
The thing that's worked best for me has been the suave shampoo or dish soap at 1T per gallon mixed with 1T of cooking oil in a gallon of water. But you have to be a spray artist and get all of the surfaces of the leaves, and you have to be consistent in using it for a while. Keep it shaken up every few minutes while spraying it. It's not an easy fix by any means.
I have a cold mist fogger that I use in the greenhouse(curtis dynafog cyclone, I'd highly recommend it for greenhouse growers btw) and it fogs the whole place full and I don't have to be in there to do it and that works the best. But most of you don't have a dedicated airtight place to fog your plants and you probably don't want to put out the $250-$300 to get the fogger either. So spraying, or as that other fellow suggested using a sponge if you don't have too many plants would be your safest and least toxic option. Especially in living areas.
Sevin isn't listed for spider mites, and it's not effective on them at all. Maybe your spraying was thorough enough, or your pest wasn't spider mites? it's listed for other kinds of mites but they don't affect bananas and it's not the kind we're dealing with here.
By the way, the sponge idea isn't a bad one anyway. It's hard to tell when the little buggers are dead too. The webs and dead mites remain and it looks like they're still there. You have to watch the new leaves for signs of them if you don't get the dead ones off--it'll still look like you have an infestation. So you'll be spraying dead mites to kill them again but you won't get them any more dead then they already are.
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Old 12-16-2009, 11:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Just Checking in... seeing if im doing things right for winter indoors...

I have a question about wintering bananas indoors.

Is it going to be a problem if the thickness of each new leaf appears to be shrinking? The top of the banana plant is literally gettin thinner and thinner.

Will the banana be able to thicken back up once it gets full sun when I put it back outside?
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Old 12-16-2009, 08:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Just Checking in... seeing if im doing things right for winter indoors...

Quote:
Originally Posted by D.C._Palms_N_Sports_Fan View Post
I keep the humidity in my home between 50 and 60% at just about all times.
Just a quick question/comment... Isn't that a little too humid? I've read and been told that you should not have consistent humidity in your home more than 50% as thats when you get mold and other nasties growing. Or does the generally accepted level of humidity vary with geographical location?

A home inspector here (Canada) told me that during the winter, your relative humidity should be between 35-45%. Dry enough not to cause mold and moisture issues, and "wet" enough that your skin doesn't crack and fall off. ;-)
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Old 12-16-2009, 08:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Just Checking in... seeing if im doing things right for winter indoors...

Quote:
Originally Posted by deruo View Post
Just a quick question/comment... Isn't that a little too humid? I've read and been told that you should not have consistent humidity in your home more than 50% as thats when you get mold and other nasties growing. Or does the generally accepted level of humidity vary with geographical location?

A home inspector here (Canada) told me that during the winter, your relative humidity should be between 35-45%. Dry enough not to cause mold and moisture issues, and "wet" enough that your skin doesn't crack and fall off. ;-)
You know, I did some research about that very thing several times, and what I came up with was recommended anywhere from 30-60%. Im really not too sure how it matters weather or not its winter or summer. In summer, the average humidity indoors is usually around the 60% range, so im not sure why mold or other such nasties would be more of a concern in wintertime with generally the same humidity indoors as summer. Wintertime here, without humidifiers,indoor humidity levels dropping to 10-25% is not uncommon, and that is WAY TOO DRY, especially for me. The other thing, at least for my place, the humidity isn't constant. At times at night, especially when its below freezing and colder, the humidity even with the humidifiers running will drop into the mid 40's to 50%. Its not a constant, and it generally goes the way of outdoor temps and humidity. On days when its warm (50s) in winter, I have to adjust the humidifiers down, otherwise the humidity will soar over 70%, and it starts to feel like Florida in here. Nothing in my place stays "wet" or even damp. Even all of my plants dry out in a normal amount of time. The only time I get condensation on the windows is when its fairly cold (30's or colder outside). I also have the very old fasioned radiator heat, which is notorious for really drying the air out. Placing pans of water on the radiators hardly increases the humidity at all, which is why I gave up on that long ago and went to humidifiers.

stevelau1911: In regards to your question, Im not really sure what you are getting at. Do you mean the leaves got skinnier width wise? Or are you talking about the pseudostem? If its just the leaves, I dont think that is much of anything to worry about. The Pseudostem, well, I suppose that could become an issue, causing a weakened point in the stem, but I'm not sure what would cause that. Maybe you could post a photo?


Thanks for the advice thus far everyone! Now, can anyone recommend a good insecticidal soap that kills spider mites, and is ok to use on houseplants, tropicals, and bananas? Im all for natural remedies, but im going to need some extra help this year it seems. Thanks again!
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Old 12-16-2009, 09:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Just Checking in... seeing if im doing things right for winter indoors...

Yes, I do mean the psuedo-stem is getting thinner with each additional leaf and this could be a problem because that would mean about 8 more leaves generated while the banana is indoors which would make the banana eventually turn very weak by spring time. I'm afraid that the psuedo-stem might not be able to recover after getting weakened too much.

Here's a picture I just took.
[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 12-16-2009, 09:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Just Checking in... seeing if im doing things right for winter indoors...

One of my basjoos was getting a really thin p-stem. When it "boosted" back into grow mode, it pushed up a big-ass leaf that split the existing p-stem. Split started small and got bigger. The split eventually meant the other leaves died off, and there was what essentially became a new p-stem formed from the new leaves.

Not saying this'll happen in your case, but its a possibility.
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Old 01-02-2010, 11:23 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Just Checking in... seeing if im doing things right for winter indoors...

Just chiming in a bit late here, but here goes my 2 cents worth. What I have found regarding the thinning of leaves and stems is a normal result of bringing the plants inside, behind glass (which reduces the amount of solar energy more than you would think) and just the difference of having moving ait around the leaves. I set up a greenhouse every winter using my three season porch (exposed to outside light on three sides) and using clear plastic on the inside and outside of the windows as a heat buffer. Last year, I did not have a fan blowing on the plants and between the stagnant air and the spider mite issues, ended up toward spring with little more than pseudostems. After moving them all outside, everything rapidly came back to life, as usual and grew well thruout the summer. This year, when I moved them back to the porch, I added a small fan in the same space, providing a gentle breeze over the leaves, and this made all of the difference in the world. I have to water the plants now at a rate that would have killed them last year, with no evidence of molds growing. This also distributes the heat evenly in the space, without the cold spots that form in recessed areas. I let the humidity get down to 45 per cent before misting, to get it back into the mid 60s. Even with all of the natural light coming in from outside, I still added flourescent lights to brighten things up. The leaves are as thick this year inside as they are outside during the summer, and the results from adding the fan are dramatic, so give a fan a thought. I have tried everything for spider mites, with the frustration of just seeing them return, but this year, I just tried spraying / misting with water and wiping the leaves down afterwards with a terrycloth towel ( both sides, especially near the leaf midrib, and outer margins ). Some of the leaves got a bit tattered because of this, but better tattered than gone. This removes the eggs, webbing and seems to disrupt their cycle, as I have seen no evidence for about a month and a half. I had a horrible infestation back in Nov. As a result of these changes this year, the plants are growing at a faster than normal outside rate, and the leaves have a slightly more bayonet shape, but are thick and healthy. Just keep in mind that we in the north are growing these things in a very hostile environment, and keep "fine tuning" until they smile. it can be done. NEVER GIVE UP!!!!!
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Old 01-02-2010, 06:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Just Checking in... seeing if im doing things right for winter indoors...

Ice Cream & Raja doing fine inside so far, not so great is my Abby red.

Here in the PNW we have to contend with a lot of dark days, which are already affecting my ABBY RED, turning it pale and leggy. Your advice of a fan does help a great deal and ideally an added light source would make a dramatic difference (if I could afford it). I thoguht tube lights needs to really close to plant, would be hard to do with tall bananas. Anyone have an idea? For pest control I use a TBS of neem oil with a TBS of dish soap to one gal. of warm water. This spray takes care of whitefly, fungus, mites and makes the plant happy.
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Old 01-02-2010, 07:00 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Just Checking in... seeing if im doing things right for winter indoors...

Hi frondly. I am very well aware of the PNW darkness, as I moved here ( Wisconsin ) from Bellevue, Wa. years ago. The flourescents range from six or so feet from the shorter plants, and the taller ones are growing into them. I have found that the nanners have done fairly well for short periods of time with low light, being more sensitive to over watering than anything, but as mentioned before with the fan, that does not seem to be as much of an issue.. kind of something you have to "fine tune" with your particular conditions. The soil really has to be well drained and any corm sitting in even the smallest amount of water is toast. As also mentioned by just about everybody out there, keep a very keen eye out for spider mites, as you can be doing everything else right, but these little guys can take 'em out. Just look for the "dandruff" looking stuff under the leaves toward the margins, the tiny brown spots and the webbing, which is usually very fine in texture. you usually see this before you actuall see the beasties. Good luck!!
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