Banana Trees help provide your home with a tropical feel. Due to their large size, they also are a great option to fill in empty spots in a room. There are dozens of different types of banana and plantain trees, many of which are suitable to grow indoors. Although they don’t usually produce fruit indoors, their long stems grow quickly to show off their foliage.
These long stems and large thin leaves make banana plants quite fragile. Outdoors, this plant must be sheltered from high winds. Indoors, a simple nudge or bump can cause their fragile leaves and stems to bend.
To fix a bent Banana leaf, provide temperatures over 57°F (14°C) and humidity above 50%, prune any damaged leaves, and water regularly so the soil remains moist.
Whether the issue is trauma or stress, we’ll help you get to the bottom of it so you can make those leaves perky again.
Why Are My Banana Plant Leaves Bending?
These beautiful plants are beloved for their delightful large oval-shaped leaves. A bent banana leaf puts a damper on that happy, cheerful look. Here are three main reasons why a banana leaf might bend.
It’s not uncommon for a Banana Tree to undergo a bit of damage in transportation. These plants are huge, after all! Getting your Banana Tree out of the car, through your doorway, and into your home is bound to result in some bumps and bruises.
Sometimes this might be a bend; sometimes, it can be an entire tear in your leaf. Banana Tree leaves are delicate and thin, but the plant is also used to bends and tears. Outdoor Banana Tree leaves can grow to be 10 feet (3 m) long and 4 feet (1 m) wide and often tear in the wind. But their leaves are designed to grow back quite easily to recover from these tears.
Transplant shock can happen to any plant and is common with tropical plants like the Banana Tree. These plants are grown in perfect conditions in a nursery or greenhouse. When you bring that Banana Tree into your home and re-pot it immediately, transplant shock results.
Transplant shock is a stress reaction to the roots being disturbed or the temperature being vastly different from what the plant is used to. A common symptom of transplant shock is droopy leaves.
You can avoid transplant shock by ensuring you don’t have the air conditioning running when you bring your new plant home. These tropical plants struggle when temperatures dip lower than 57°F (14°C).
Banana Trees should be repotted in the spring and never in the middle of the summer. Repotting during a plant’s growing season can also send it into shock. And when you do repot your Banana Tree, water it often and deeply for the first few weeks. Water helps give the plant nutrients to defend itself against shock effects.
Banana Trees are native to the tropical rainforests of Asia, Africa, and Australia. They are used to plenty of moisture and humidity. But they are also used to lots of heat. A natural defense mechanism of Banana Trees during drought is to draw water from their leaves toward the stem and rhizomes. This lack of moisture causes the leaves to droop.
Your Banana Tree’s leaves at home will also respond this way if you don’t water it enough.
How Often Do You Water Banana Trees?
Banana Trees in the wild like to grow close together, which helps them conserve moisture. To stimulate this moist environment, you must water your Banana Tree daily. The soil should always be moist but never soggy. Make sure you water the plant deeply, so the water reaches its roots.
In the winter, you can allow the top layer of soil to dry out between waterings to avoid overwatering.
Can a Bent Plant Stem Heal?
Nothing is more disheartening than a bent stem on an otherwise healthy plant. A bent stem can prevent water and nutrients from getting to the flowers and foliage of a plant. If the bend is over 90 degrees and split open, there’s likely no way to fix it. But if the bend is not so severe, there are a few hacks you can use to repair it.
How to Fix a Broken Leaf on a Plant
If your Banana Tree leaf has bent or split due to trauma, the best solution is to prune the leaf. Pruning permanently damaged leaves is always a good idea because bugs and diseases like to attack weak leaves. Cutting away dead or dying leaves will also stimulate new growth!
To prune, select the leaf that is damaged. The leaf extends down to the base of the tree. Find the point where it branches away from the plant’s stalk and cut it with a knife or pruning shears. Never pull a damaged leaf off the tree, as this may expose part of the stalk and damage the plant more. Beware that the broken stems often produce a sticky sap that can get on your hands and clothes.
How Do You Strengthen a Plant Stem?
The quickest way to fix a bent plant stem is to use tape. Florist tape is the best option because it won’t damage delicate plant tissue. It’s also green so that it will camouflage nicely.
If the plant’s foliage is quite heavy, you may want to add a splint. A popsicle stick can help give your stem some support while it heals.
When you fertilize your plant, consider giving it a stem-strengthening fertilizer. Nitrogen helps promote stem and leaf growth, so choose a fertilizer with high nitrogen levels.
Why Are the Tips of My Banana Tree Leaves Turning Brown?
Often, brown tips on leaves are a sign that your Banana Tree is suffering from a lack of moisture. Drooping leaves, gray leaves, or brown leaves with curled tips are all symptoms of a dehydrated plant. Leaf tips will also turn brown and crispy if your Banana Tree isn’t getting enough humidity. The browning will intensify when the leaf is exposed to sunlight.
A humidity of 50% or more is recommended for Banana Trees. If you’re struggling with brown leaf tips, consider placing your Banana Tree in the bathroom, where it’s usually warm and moist. It would help if you also mist your Banana Tree daily.
How Do You Support a Banana Tree?
Banana Trees (even dwarf cultivars) can grow up to 6 feet (2 m) tall indoors! For large plants such as the Banana Tree, it’s often recommended that you keep them in a pot on the floor. This reduces the likelihood that they’ll be knocked off a table and damaged.
But sometimes those big leaves are so towering they need help to prevent them from bending and falling over. Staking is an easy way to do this.
You can buy a stake or trellis at any gardening center. Or grab a wooden pole from a hardware store. Make sure you drive the stake deep into the soil so it stays sturdy. It’s best to plant your stake towards the edge of the pot so the roots still have lots of room to grow.
Use twist ties or stretchy plant ties to tie the Banana Tree’s stems close to the stake. As the plant grows, you may need to add more stakes or get a taller stake to accommodate the taller plant.
Large leafy trees like the Banana Tree need special care to protect their delicate foliage. You can stake your plant, but sometimes there are issues that will make your Banana Tree leaves droop regardless.
Trauma from moving and transporting your Banana Tree is a common way to cause damage. If the leaf has torn, it’s best to prune it and allow new growth to come through. Transplant shock can cause leaves to bend from stress.
This can be remedied by giving your new plant plenty of water and ensuring your home is in the right temperature and humidity. If leaves are bending from underwatering, ensure you water and mist your Banana Tree daily.