If you’re lucky enough to live in a climatic zone that can support growing plantain trees, you definitely need to try your hand at it!
Plantains are much like bananas except the fruit is more firm and starchier, lending itself better to cooking.
Plantain trees need care similar to banana trees – keep the soil moist, protect it during cold snaps, and feed it a slow-release fertilizer about once a month during the active growing season.
A well-fertilized plantain tree will yield up to ten times more than an unfertilized tree.
With that being said, what is the best fertilizer for plantains? In this post, we are going to look at 4 of our favorite options on the market.
So, let’s get started…
What is the best fertilizer for plantains?
The quick answer is that plantain trees are heavy feeders. For that reason, look for a fertilizer that has a nice blend of the top nutrients, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
In addition, granular forumlas work better than water soluble for trees because they are classified as slow release. This means rather than getting all the nutrients at once, they are slowly release into the soil over a period of time.
Here is a quick preview of our top 4 options when it comes to feeding your plantains.
- Jobe’s Organics Fruit & Citrus Fertilizer with Biozome
- Miracle-Gro Fertilizer Spikes
- Dr. Earth Organic Fruit Tree Fertilizer
- Dr. Earth Natural Wonder Fruit Tree Ready to Spray
What to look for in a good fertilizer for plantains?
Before we take a closer look at some great options on the market today, let’s talk about what to look for in a good fertilizer.
Plantain trees are heavy feeders that prefer a balanced fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in a similar ratio.
To see optimum results in your fruit trees look for a fertilizer with a nutrient ratio of approximately 8-10-8.
These numbers found on the label are the N-P-K ratio (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium); the consumer can look at this ratio and determine the percentage, by weight, of nutrients in the bag.
For example, a 10-pound bag of plant food with an 8-10-8 fertilizer formula would contain 0.8 pounds of nitrogen, 1.0 pounds of phosphorus, and 0.8 pounds of potassium.
Why are these nutrients important?
To put it simply, nitrogen is going to keep the plant looking green. Phosphorus is needed for flowering and strong roots.
Lastly, potassium helps the overall health of the plant.
So, as you can see each of these nutrients is essential in keeping your plant healthy.
Once you have selected the plant food with the right combination of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium it is important to apply it properly.
Applying fertilizer to plantain trees is fairly straightforward. There are many fruit tree specific fertilizers that provide the essential nutrients banana trees need.
Start by looking for a product with balanced nutrients or one slightly higher in phosphorus to promote flower and fruit development. Then you can then choose whether you want to feed organically or not and if you prefer a granular or liquid concentrate formulation.
At this point we have talked about what to look for in the right fertilizer and how to talk about it, let’s take a look at some of the best options on the market.
- OMRI certified organic
- Nutrient ratio: 3-5-5
- Contains Biozome
- Feed every 2 to 3 months
An OMRI certified organic, granular fertilizer, Jobe’s Organics Fruit & Citrus Fertilizer with Biozome is specially formulated to provide fruit-bearing plants the nutrients they need to produce abundant, healthy fruit.
It contains biozome, bone meal, feather meal, potash and composted manure with an N-P-K ratio of 3-5-5.
Biozome is a proprietary product containing a combination of healthy bacteria, mycorrhizal fungi, and microorganisms that helps to improve soil texture and increase water infiltration and retention. Jobe’s Organics – in any variation – are highly recommended by professional and amateur growers with proven results.
Application Tips: Apply the plant food at the rate recommended on the label every 2-3 months for optimum growth.
- Slow Release
- Nutrient Ratio: 10-15-15
- Specifically formulated for fruit-bearing trees
If you are looking for a plant food that you can just set it up and forget about it, you can’t go wrong with Miracle-Gro’s Fertilizer Spikes.
Fertilizer spikes are a simple way to provide fruit trees with the nutrients they need for a season in a single application.
Miracle-Gro products are tried and true, known to be industry leaders for their quality and effectiveness.
This product is specially formulated for fruit and citrus trees with an N-P-K ratio of 10-15-15 to release nutrients directly into the root zone.
Application Tips: To encourage the best growth possible in your plantain trees, drive spikes into the soil at the edge of the drip line, spacing them about 3’ apart once in the spring and then again in the fall.
Spring application will feed trees during the most critical growing time of the year as they consume energy to push out new leaves and form flowers. These spikes will promote lush, green foliage and enhanced fruit production.
- No GMO’s
- Powder Plant Food
- Slow Release Formula
- Nutrient Ratio: 7-4-2
- Feeds for several months
An organic, coarse powdered fertilizer, Dr. Earth Organic 9 is a superior blend of feather meal, fish bone meal, cottonseed meal, kelp meal, alfalfa meal, soft rock phosphate, mined potassium sulfate, seaweed extract, probiotic, seven strains of beneficial soil microbes, and mycorrhizae.
Nutrients are released quickly and easily available for uptake; trees are fed a continuous amount of high-quality nutrients for several months.
The natural, organic 7-4-2 ratio of N-P-K results in strong root development and more abundant fruit sets.
Application Tips: For established plantain trees, use 1 cup of fertilizer for every inch of trunk diameter (measured 4”– 6” above the soil line). Gently work into the soil inside the drip line of the tree; then water thoroughly.
- No GMO’s
- Nutrient Ratio: 5-4-2
- Easy To Use
- Apply every two weeks
Another 100% organic option, Dr. Earth Natural Wonder Fruit Tree Ready to Spray is a liquid fertilizer, free from GMO’s, chicken manure and/or sewage sludge.
Not only does it have what it takes to be considered the best fertilizer for plantains, but it also is extremely easy to use.
The all natural, organic product contains an N-P-K ratio of 5-4-2 to enhance strong root development and more abundant fruit.
The plant food is derived from fish meal, fish bone meal, mined potassium sulfate, kelp meal, seaweed extract, and earthworm castings.
This option is rich in probiotics (solid sugars that feed existing soil microbes) to help maintain a healthy soil ecosystem and is safe for use around kids and pets.
Application Tips: Can be applied every two weeks during the active growing season.
The ready to use spray bottle attaches directly to your hose end for easy application. Thoroughly spray branches and undersides of leaves until they are dripping wet; apply early in the morning or after 4 pm to avoid burning leaves. Each bottle covers 1200 square feet.
Caring for plantain trees is fairly simple as long as you live in a growing zone that is warm enough to support their growth.
To see good yields from your tree make sure to keep the soil around the roots moist at all times, protect the tree from cold snaps, and apply a slow-release formula periodically throughout the active growing season.
What have you found to be the best fertilizer for plantains? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.