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Hydro Bananas - Dwarf Cavendish

serial_killer
December 19, 2009

Hello, new here.

I am an avid hydro grower, I have 2 systems currently growing, a 16 bucket DWC setup growing red peppers under a 400W HPS and a 24 site aeroponics chamber growing Mescuiln and Black Seeded Simpson lettuce under a 125 watt CFL. I have been growing all different plants using all different styles of systems for several years now, its an addiction.

I have built a large waterfarm system, a single bucket unit. In just a few hours I am going to pick up a young Dwarf Cavendish pup. I have never had a banana tree and know nothing about them.

What are the preferred NPK levels for this type of plant, what should pH and EC/ppm be? How much moisture does it like, what should the drip schedule be? Anyone use General Hydroponic 3 part nutes (flora series) with any luck? Thats what I use on everything and have been using since I had a bad experience with the AN brand.

I will mention, neither extremely rapid growth, nor yield is very important to me. Honestly I want it more for a conversation piece than for its bananas. I will be perfectly content having a slow growing but healthy looking banana tree.

Comments (6)

  • greystoke

    Exciting stuff, but I never tried bananas, so I've got no experience.
    However, the "books" say:
    pH:5.5-6.5; µS: 1800-2400; possible formula: N:175ppm;P:45ppm;K:130ppm

    Looks like its a heavy feeder.

    Good luck and please let us know.

  • grizzman

    several years ago I saw a banana tree growing in a Raleigh, NC hydroponics store in a 32 gallon trash can converted to DWC. It was probably 8 feet tall above the lid. The guy working the counter said they were about to pull it as they had no way to change out the nutrients.
    Not really answers, but food for thought while you're planning this thing.

  • lucas_formulas

    Banana fruit is known for its particularly high levels of potassium, so they obviously need a potassium-rich formula. As they can grow in poor soils and without high water content (actually they stock water in their porous tissue for drought periods), lower N and P (P is anyway overrated from 40 upwards for almost every plant) are recommended. In temporary dry soils P is dissolved even slower as it normally is. Also, a dwarf specie doesn't need to be fed that heavily. Hence general purpose formula would probably look like this:

    N=170-180
    P=36
    K=270
    Ca=160-180
    Mg=38
    S=75

    Trace Elements
    Iron 5â¨
    Manganese 3
    â¨Boron 0.8â¨
    Zinc 0.5â¨
    Copper 0.08â¨
    Molybdate 0.05

    Recommended EC 1.2-1.5 in an early stage and not more than 1.8-2.0 EC until harvest. The general purpose formula could be slightly modified as in 150-160 N only, and 290-320 K to be more balanced for fruiting stage.

  • greystoke

    N=170-180
    P=36
    K=270
    This looks very much like a fruiting (or blooming) formula, since K is about 1.5 times the N-value. It's probably better to drop that to equal N, while the plant is still maturing.

  • lucas_formulas

    A banana plant cannot be considered as a "leafy" not even in an early stage. A solid and thick stem is build from the beginning of growth. This stem has a complex and expanded cell structure that needs a generous amount of Potassium from early stage. Depending on climate and temperatures, high nitrogen may lead to too vigorous growth with delayed blooming or fruiting. Well, in a cooler climate with less light intensity, a slightly higher N-content (as in my formula) could indeed be indicated, which still is a commonly accepted role for every plant. But I'd anyway keep a K ratio that is notably higher and still close to 1.5/1 versus N. A comparison with a tomato plant and the adequate formulation (not very different from the above) is precisely indicated here.

  • greystoke

    Thanks for that explanation.

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