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Container Grown Banana Plants This forum is for discussions about growing banana plants in containers.

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Old 02-01-2019, 06:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Cold Foliage-Pro application rate

Hello everybody!

I've had a container Basjoo growing in a grow tent for the last few months, fueled by LEDs rated for a total of about 400W. It was previously growing in a highly enriched custom organic soil mixture at a CRAZY rate (putting out a new 4 foot leaf every 5-6 days near the end.

A couple weeks ago I chopped the pseudostem down from 4 feet to a foot and a half since it was outgrowing the grow tent and beginning to press against the ceiling. Having reviewed a lot of online container plant discussion, I decided to also repot it at this time in a soilless mixture made primarily of pumice and coco coir, and rely on Dyna-Gro Foliage Pro as its primary fertilizer, rather than copious amounts of slow-release organics.

My problem is that everywhere I look online everyone recommends sticking with the application rate on the bottle when using foliage-pro, but I just don't believe this recommended application rate would ever be enough to sustain the insane growth rate I was seeing in the organic mixture.

Here's why:

Assuming I use double the 'maintenance' recommendation with every watering, that's 2.5 mL/gallon, or roughly 3 grams, of 9-3-6, which comes out to 3*0.09 = 27 mg nitrogen per gallon of water.

My understanding is that even a very large indoor container banana will only transpire about 1 gallon a day. Assuming my basjoo were to transpire fertigation water at that rate, it would only be absorbing 27 mg of nitrogen per day from the foliage-pro.

The dry matter nitrogen content for banana leaves is ~2.5%, while for the pseudostem it's ~0.75%. That means that 27 mg of nitrogen will translate into 3.6 dry grams of pstem biomass or ~1 gram of dry leaf mass. Assuming 95% water content of pstem and 90% in leaf, that translates into a maximum of 72 grams fresh pseudostem weight and ~10 grams fresh leaf weight per gallon of fertigation water (at double the recommended dose).

Over 2 months, then, my basjoo could add at the VERY MAXIMUM 4 kilos of fresh biomass, with generous assumptions. That's nowhere near the growth rate I was seeing in the super-rich organic mixture. I expect my basjoo to grow as quickly in this 84 degree super bright grow tent as it does outside, and I've seen it perform like that.

I'm not trying to grow some weak little ornamental banana, I want to be able to put a monster in the ground in May and watch it become even more of a monster.

The basjoo is currently transpiring nowhere near a gallon a day, probably less than a liter, so I expect if I keep to this recommended fertilization schedule I will see pathetically slow growth indefinitely.

Am I missing something here? Has anyone used foliage-pro as their main fertilizer? I just cannot believe that this basjoo will perform at its best with this teensy amount of foliage-pro which is in fact double the package recommendation.

I'm aware that the K content needs to be higher, I've supplemented the soilless mixture now with kelp meal so the basjoo has an excess of K to absorb along with the excess nitrogen from the foliage-pro.

I may experiment with dialing up the foliage pro a ton, perhaps even up to the hydroponic recommendations. Depending on how that goes I might instead just switch back to heavy application of organic slow-release fertilizer + daily watering with 600 ppm potassium sulfate.

I just miss seeing my basjoo shoot out a huge leaf every 5 days indoors here in Minnesota. If anyone has any suggestions or relevant experience please let me know!
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