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Old 06-11-2012, 08:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Mussa sikkimensis leaves folding downwards

Hello, i am new to this forum and a new banana tree grower.
I have a couple of mussa sikkimensis plants (about 9 months old) in the patio and into medium - to - large size pots.

It's been quite some time since the leaves are turning downwards along their vein. They look healthy otherwise and their growth is continuing at a good pace. I read somewhere in here that this a natural reaction to hot weather.

I am not sure that this is the case because it all started when the weather was not that how. Also, i am generous in watering them and at night when it is cooler the leaves do not come back up. Any suggestions or advice. Bananas are so beautiful plants and i have to see them folded down and being "poor".

Thank you in advance.
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:47 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Mussa sikkimensis leaves folding downwards

Where are you located?
Bananas fold their leafs down from the midrib when they cant satisfy their leafs's water demands. That can be caused from too low humidity,lots of sun,dry soil or even root rot. If the plants are not too excessively big for their pots,from how describe it,i would be more inclined to think root or corm rot if they cant satisfy their water needs. A happy banana will flatten its leafs as the temperatures fall in the afternoon and will have a nice curve in the morning before strong sun hit them. In constant very low humidity maybe they wouldnt flatten them enough but still,they shouldnt remain totally folded.

Generous watering in potted bananas calls for problems,even in summer...Once every 4-5 days is more than adequate in this season,even in hot weather in the 30's Celsius,unless the plants are excessively big for their pots,in which case,transplanting to bigger pot would help.
Musa sikkimensis is a cool weather banana and thus even not than hot temperatures are seen as hot enough.
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:37 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mussa sikkimensis leaves folding downwards

I don't know where you are but here where its going to be hundred today I water in the morning. :^)
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Mussa sikkimensis leaves folding downwards

First of all thank you for the prompt reply.

The plants are located in Athens, Greece.
I admit that i water them every 2-3 days. Do you thing that would cause the root roting?

What is the suggested actions to take now? Let them dry out and water them once a week? Move them in the shadow? All these together? Can the rottern roots get back on track? Please advise. I have attached two pictures that might help.

Thanks
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File Type: jpg P1050048.JPG (3.1 KB, 105 views)
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:00 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Mussa sikkimensis leaves folding downwards

Stop watering, move them into shade and see if they open their leaves. Or lift one out of the pot and see how the root system is. Sikkimensis fold their leaves down when they are hot.
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Old 06-11-2012, 02:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mussa sikkimensis leaves folding downwards

Cant see mich from that picture but they look fine to me
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Mussa sikkimensis leaves folding downwards

Hi Niko!

Its great to see you are growing bananas in Athens too! Welcome to Bananas.org!!!

I see most of the older leafs have burn marks. Did you overwinter them indoors or in a much shadier place? Are all leafs produced outdoors healthy and burn free?
How many hours of sun do they get? Are they growing fast with the heat we are having?
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Old 06-12-2012, 03:54 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Mussa sikkimensis leaves folding downwards

Hello Kosta,

Well, i have not moved them since i planted the seedlings (last year). So they have grown in the same sunny position (about 5-6 hours of direct sun per day. The plants are growing pretty fast i can tell. One new unfolded leaf every 10 days almost. They are nice and healthy and totally unfolded once they come out. Then they become like the others as you can see.

The older leaves become dry frou the outer parts first and inwards. I thought that is normal since they are dying so new ones can come out.

Do you think there is something wrong with it?

I have moved the pots in a more shaddy location and i will keep them about a week without water to see how things evolve.

I should also mention that i have notices small flies in the compost in the pot. Is that of any concern?

Any additional advice to my problem would be appreciated.

Thanks again.

PS. I am posting the links to the above photos again so you can view them in a larger scale




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Old 06-12-2012, 04:43 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Mussa sikkimensis leaves folding downwards

Hello Niko,

The dried leaf edges are definitely not normal if they have continually been growing in that location. Thats a sure sign that it has/had root rot. Does it keep drying the margins of its leafs or has it stopped?

Do not move them to shade(that will keep them wetter which you dont want now),just stop watering them for 5 days(and then you could probably move them for 2 days in the shade if they dont look too much in need for water. Its ok if they lose the lower 1-2 leafs in the whole process) since the last time you watered and water lightly the next time you water them with another dry spell of 5 days. Then you could resume normal watering every 4-5 days and hopefully they will be ok.Once the rot stops(you can assume it has stopped if the leaf drying doesnt continue to the newer leafs),they need to grown new roots before they will be able to spread their leafs more,so a few weeks are needed anyway to see good progress. Later,once the rot danger passes and the plants start keeping their leafs flatter when not in the sun for a few hours,you can check for other signs such as if a lower leafs bends down prematurely or if the leafs droop more than normal when not in the sun,to see about when you need to water and find a better watering schedule for yourself,as everyone's conditions are different.
A new leaf every 10 days is a little too slow for our hot weather. A new leaf every 5-7days is more like our weather now,especially in small plants which as a rule,grow new leafs faster than bigger ones. If its growing though,it should pull through ok.
Check the soil and see where you find moist soil. I usually wait for the soil seen through the drainage holes to become dryish which leaves about 1/3 of the root ball with lightly moist soil and the bananas still keep growing fast! If the sun they are getting is mostly morning with a little noon sun,then they probably can go for a week without water easily,without problems.

Btw,the small flies are probably fungus gnats. They lay their eggs usually in continually moist soil. Their larvae increase the rate of decomposition of the soil further increasing the drainage problem and keeping the soil wet for longer. They are an indication of overwatering most of the times,especially if you have them in outdoor pots. They usually prefer enclosed areas that stay humid and are not much affected by wind. Indoor plants get them mostly. As you stop keeping the soil continually moist,they will not prefer these pots as breeding ground as much as they did and you will see less of them.
You could remove one of the bananas from its pot and check on the condition of the soil at the bottom. If its muck,very fine particle and stick to the hands a lot,even a little smelly,then remove the existing soil carefully and repot with new,fast draining soil. If its still ok and has good texture,just place the plant back in its pot without disturbing the rootball.
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Last edited by Kostas : 06-12-2012 at 04:52 AM.
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Old 06-16-2012, 11:18 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Mussa sikkimensis leaves folding downwards

Hello again,

I have taken one banana plant out of the pot to see what's going on and i noticed the following.

Initially, in the pot, i have placed perlite in the bottom 10 cm of the pot in order to help it drain well. The plant had grown so much that the majority of the roots had grown into the perlite stones without any compost. I assume that explains the leaf problem. Does it sound logical to you?

I have repotted the pant into a larger pot using less perlite (about bottom 2cm of the bottom) so that the roots are i the compost. Did i do well?

Thanks...
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Old 06-16-2012, 04:31 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Mussa sikkimensis leaves folding downwards

Not enough water retention from the mixture could explain the plant needing more frequent waterings but the necrotic areas on the leafs are usually only caused from rot or sudden extreme water stress. If the plant did not get enough water but was healthy,it would simply dehisce a few lower leafs and keep what it can support and keep happy. What i think happens is that the roots going to the perlite are healthy while the roots staying in the soil are rotting. The plant sends its roots where the conditions for them are good,i.e. good moisture and aeration. If the perlite was too dry,they wouldnt grow there much but stay in the soil. Perlite has good wicking properties so it continually wicks moisture out of the soil above and makes it available to the roots growing in it while providing much better aeration.

Bottom line,if the necrotic leaf patches are not enlarging and growth is good,water it normally(every about 4days) and dont care too much about folded leafs. With the summer ahead of it,it should fix. If the necrotic patches are spreading though and its not growing fast,you may want to carefully uncover the corm of the banana from above and check for soft areas and rotten roots. Keep drier for a couple of weeks and then water normally. The more sun the better but noon sun during heatwaves could burn the leafs of a cool growing banana like M. sikkimensis.
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Last edited by Kostas : 06-16-2012 at 04:39 PM.
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