Gardening Q&A: How often should I feed my banana plant?

The experts at the RHS answer your gardening questions...
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Question: I recently purchased a Musa basjoo plant via Homes & Property. It is planted in a large clay pot, against a south-facing wall, in a mixture of compost and John Innes No 3. Does it prefer rainwater, or is tap water OK? Will Miracle Gro be suitable? How often should I feed? Any advice would be welcome.

Answer: This is the hardiest of the bananas to grow in our climate, so you should have a very happy plant that you will be able to divide in a year or two to share with friends. They are hungry and thirsty, so a rich compost of John Innes No 3 and well-rotted manure or home-made garden compost is ideal, along with regular liquid feeds of any general purpose fertiliser. Any water is good - and plenty of it. When you repot, mix a controlled-release fertiliser into the compost. The roots quickly fill containers, so if there is a sheltered spot in the garden, planting your banana out would make looking after it easier, because roots can search for nutrients and moisture. In winter, wrap up banana stems with horticultural fleece.

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