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The banana plant is popular and can be found in hundreds of thousands of homes. No wonder: the plant with its large, juicy green leaves looks great and is extremely hardy. In addition, the ornamental banana requires little attention. Sometimes, however, you have to take care of them a little more intensively. That is when their leaves are turning brown. That's no reason to panic. However, you should immediately get to the bottom of the causes.


Discolouration is not the same as discolouration

If the leaves of the Musa Acuminata, the Latin name for the ornamental banana, change color and turn brown, this does not have to be an alarm signal. The following applies here: Discolouration is not the same as discolouration. In the life cycle of the plant, it is completely normal for individual leaf parts and especially the leaf tips to turn brown. If one detects such a change, observation is of course necessary. If the discoloration is limited to individual leaf areas and does not spread, no reaction is required. At best, the older leaves can be cut off with their brown edges. The plant doesn't mind.


When it's time to act

If the brown spots spread out over a large area on one or more leaves, this is a clear indication that something is wrong with the ornamental banana. In most cases, the cause is a maintenance error. Basically, the following causes can be to blame for the brown discoloration.

  • not enough water
  • too low humidity
  • too little light
  • too few nutrients
  • pest infestation

It is also possible that the leaves will turn brown because the ornamental banana is producing daughter plants. No matter what the specific cause is, remedial action must be taken in any case so that the plant is not permanently damaged and dies. Specifically, one takes action against the brown discoloration of the leaves by changing the care or location.

lack of water

Not enough water

In this case, simply watering more is not always the best solution. Rather, it depends on targeted watering. The following applies: the soil or the substrate of the ornamental banana should be moist but not soaking wet. The surface is allowed to dry between the individual watering processes. Under no circumstances should the soil dry out completely, which can happen, especially during the heating period in winter. The substrate may need to be changed. It is possible that the existing soil does not distribute the water properly. A mixture of soil, peat and coconut fibers is ideal. Important: the ornamental banana needs a lot of water. The larger the leaves of the plant, the more water it needs. Daily checking of the soil is therefore essential. It may only be cast with soft to medium-hard water (maximum degree of hardness: 2.5).


Humidity too low

Ornamental bananas require relatively high humidity. Especially in heated rooms, it can sometimes be too low. As a rough guideline: humidity of 50 percent or more is extremely good for ornamental bananas. In the tropics from which it comes, it usually has to deal with a humidity of 70 percent. But that is very difficult to achieve in our apartments. Incidentally, building biologists generally recommend a humidity of 30 to 50 percent in closed rooms. This can easily be measured with a hygrometer.

If it shows less than 50 percent, regularly spraying the leaves with water helps. However, it should be soft, i.e. low-lime water. The hardness range of the water should not exceed a value of 2.5. Naturally collected rainwater is ideal. Alternatively, you can shower off the leaves at regular intervals. It is important that only the leaves actually get wet and that the plant is not additionally watered.

lack of light

Too little light

In order to thrive optimally, the ornamental banana needs a lot of light. Brown leaves can be an indication that she is not getting enough of it. A change of location is strongly advised here. It should be bright and sunny, ideally with a south-facing window. Even the blazing midday sun is no problem for the plant. Just a reminder: She comes from regions where strong sunlight and thus high temperatures are the order of the day. Alternatively, the perennial can also be additionally illuminated with a plant lamp.

nutrient deficiency

Too few nutrients

Six to eight weeks after repotting, the ornamental banana must be fertilized regularly. The fertilizer provides important nutrients that the plant needs to grow. Fertilization can be done either with liquid fertilizer or fertilizer sticks. A certain regularity is important. Fertilize once a week in summer and once a month in winter. Incidentally, over-fertilization is just as harmful as an undersupply of nutrients.

pest infestation

It is relatively common for spider mites and mealybugs to spread on and under the leaves. This infestation usually also leads to discoloration and death of the leaves. The best way to combat the pests is to coat the affected leaves with special oily solutions. The corresponding means are available in specialist shops. Incidentally, pest infestation is usually a clear indication that the soil of the ornamental banana is too dry.

daughter plants

The ornamental banana forms daughter plants

When the ornamental banana has offspring, individual leaves also very often turn brown. The reason for this is very simple: the young plants, the so-called Kindel, need nutrients and energy from the mother plant. This is not without consequences.

When educating children, the best way to do it is as follows:

  • examine the soil around the trunk and look for small plants
  • take the children out of the soil very carefully without damaging the sensitive roots
  • then pot the young plants separately
  • cut off the brown leaves of the mother plant

Of course, even a robust plant like the Musa Acuminata does not live forever. Brown leaves are a sign that the plant is coming to an end, especially if it has already produced many children. You have to accept that - and simply enjoy your offspring.

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