Saturday, August 10, 2019

Zebra Banana?

Is this something unique? Is it a zebra banana? Have I discovered something new? 

No, no, and no. 

I've seen these little water suckers have blotchy colored leaves before. I suspect that it caused by some sort of a deficiency. Since they have a weak root system, I'm going to venture a guess and say that they are more susceptible to soil and water deficiencies. I've never seen this leaf blotchiness on sword suckers. I don't know what this particular problem is, but I do know how to correct it. 

Very interesting leaf markings. 

First of all, these little water suckers need help if they are to develop into productive, vigorous trees. So I often will transplant them to a better location where I have tilled in a generous amount of compost. I will then pay particular attention to making sure they get adequate moisture and fertilizer for the next several months. This generally means keeping them well mulched with compost, adding more as needed. Given time and attention, they grow into normal trees. 

I have seen these water suckers being sold at farmers markets as Zebra Bananas. The sellers ask high prices. But I've done a little research and found out that these sellers are either mistaken or simply fraudulent. These blotchy marked suckers aren't Zebrina/Zebra/Blood bananas. They're simply a starving water sucker. 

This particular water sucker I've photographed is at the base of a bamboo patch, where it struggles to get nutrients. It came up off of an old banana corm I had dumped there a couple years ago as fill. So I know exactly what the parent plant looked like, and it was a normal green tree. With adequate nutrition, this little guy will become green and thriving. 

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