Banana plants are a great way to add a tropical flair to your home. They love lots of water so it is easy to grow hydroponic bananas. Some of the most popular varieties to grow indoors are Dwarf Cavendish, Super Dwarf, and Dwarf Lady Fingers.
Choosing Your Growing Container
When you are trying to decide which variety to grow, consider the size of your grow space and the size of the container that you intend to grow it in. A 5 gallon deep water culture bucket will do if you intend on removing new pups as they emerge. Otherwise, you should plant your banana tree in a larger container so you don’t have to worry about transferring it to another container later. Transferring a banana plant to a bigger pot is not really a big deal if you are growing it in a soil pot but it gets a little more complicated in a hydroponic setup because the roots grow through the net pot and hydroton. The trick is separating the plant from the net pot without causing too much damage to the root system. If you want to avoid all of that, then I suggest that you start off with a bigger container if you are going to allow new pups to grow along with your mother plant. I suggest the General Hydroponics MegaFarm if you are looking for something bigger than a 5 gallon bucket to grow hydroponic trees in.
Choosing Your Banana Plant
When you purchase your plant, make sure you are buying your plant from a reputable source to prevent plant diseases and improper labeling. I have heard stories of people buying banana plants from questionable sources only to find out that their banana plant was not what they expected. If you are going to be growing in a small space, the easiest variety to grow is the Super Dwarf Cavendish. It only grows to about 4 – 5 feet tall and the fruits are the same size as the typical bananas that you buy at the grocery store. Since the Super Dwarf Cavendish is pretty short, you can grow it in a 5 gallon bucket and still have it fruit.
Preparing Your Growing Container
No matter which container you will be growing in, you are going to need to a growing medium such as hydroton. Before you transfer your plant into the hydroponic system, you must rinse the hydroton until the water runs clear. Be sure that your container has been thoroughly cleaned and sterilized to reduce the risk of transferring any diseases to your banana plant. Check the pH of your water. The pH of the water should be between 5.5 – 6.5. If the measurements are out of range, then you can make necessary adjustments.
Transferring the Banana From Soil to Hydroponics
Remove your banana plant from the container and gently rinse all of the soil from the roots. Make some space in the hydroton to set the plant in. The plant should be deep enough in the hydroton so that the roots are covered. The water level should be enough so that the roots are submerged but not so high that the plant will drown. At this point you don’t need to add nutrients at full strength. Doing so will burn your plant. It is natural for your plant to go into shock after transplanting it into a hydroponic setup, but don’t panic. It usually takes about 2 weeks for it to fully recover. During this time the leaves may wilt and change colors. Just continue to monitor it and make adjustments to the nutrients and ph as need be. In a few weeks the banana plant should perk up assuming that you are providing the proper lighting and nutrients.
Grow Lighting and Nutrients
If you are growing your banana tree indoors, then chances are you will need to have grow lights if your space is not getting sufficient sunlight. When you are first starting out, a 45 watt compact fluorescent bulb in a reflector will suffice. As the plant gets bigger, then you can increase the lighting.
As far as nutrients are concerned, you will need to follow the directions on the label from whatever brand that your purchase. Just make sure that you are using nutrients that are specifically designed for hydroponics. As a general rule, you will be using a grow formulation in the beginning stages of plant growth. As your banana tree starts to flower, then you can switch to a bloom formulation.
Now that you have the basics of growing hydroponic banana plants, it is time to start growing your own!