The banana plant belongs to the Musaceae family, the genus Musa, and it is native to the South Pacific. It is the largest perennial herb with leaf sheaths that form trunk-like pseudostems. The rhizome is the banana plant's true stem. It is commonly referred to as a corm. Root development may be extensive in loose soils, in some cases up to 9 m laterally. The plant has 8 - 12 leaves that are up to 2-4 m long and u to 1.5 m wide. The banana growth cycle has 3 stages: Vegetative development (6 months), Flowering (3 months) and Fruit stage (3 months). This means the time between planting a banana plant and the harvest of the banana bunch is from 9 to 12 months, depending on the variety grown and growing conditions.

ClimateWarm weather and constant humidity in the air. It needs an average temperature of 26-27 ºC, with prolonged and regularly distributed rains. The necessary rainfall varies from 120 to 150 mm monthly. The lack of water at any time can cause reduction in the number and size of fruits and in the final yield. Banana plants do best in protected areas, because they are susceptible to wind damage.

Light: If the light decreases, the vegetative cycle will extend.

SoilSuitable soils for this crop are loam, clay loam and silt-loam soils. Soils should be fertile, permeable, deep, well drained and especially rich in organic material (> 2.5%). 

pH: Bananas show great tolerance to soil acidity, but the pH optimum values are between 6 and 7.

Irrigation: Banana is a crop that requires large amounts of water and it is very sensitive to drought, especially if temperatures are higher than 20° C, since it makes flowering difficult and causes problems in foliar development.


Nutritional Requirements

Nutritional requirements kg/t banana produced.
Expected yield (t) N P2O5 K2O CaO MgO
1 2 0.6 6.4 0.2 0.5

Source: Galán Saúco 2005


Nutritional requirements (kg/ha/year)
Expected yield (t) N P2O5 K2O CaO MgO
30-60 198-339 68-114 734-1268 165-273 92-155



Fertigation recommendations

Banana nutrients recommendation (kg/ha/year). Tropical region. Source: Galán Saúco 2005
Nutrients kg/ha/year
N 200-400
P2O5 40-96
K2O 400-1200



Banana fertigation recommendation (kg/ha). Subtropical regions
Nutrients N P2O5 K2O
Spring 90-130 70-75 175-210
Summer 120-160 0 175-210
Autumn 90-110 70-75 150-180

Banana nutrient recommendation (kg/ha). Costa Rica. Source: López y Espinosa, 1995
Nutrients kg/ha/year
N 350-400
P2O5 50-100
K2O 500-700
CaO 600-1200
MgO 50-200

Banana nutrients recommendation (kg/ha). Fertigation. Canary Islands. Source: Martin-Prevel (1999 IFA manual)
Nutrients kg/ha/year
N 500-600
P2O5 200-300
K2O 700-1000

Foliar fertilizers

Foliar fertilization is the fastest and most effective method to supplement and enrich plant nutrition and to correct nutritional deficiencies when needed. This contributes significantly to higher and better quality productions.

The extensive area of plant leaves makes banana plant a natural candidate as a complementary feeding channel. Lima Europe has a wide range of foliar fertilizers and special products for foliar application.

To verify the safe rate under local conditions, it is advisable to spray recommended rate on a few plants. After 3-4 days check the tested plants for scorching symptoms.

Time and number of applications:

In subtropical regions: Three to five spraying treatments at 3-4 week intervals. Recommended concentration for ground application is 2-4% dissolved in 300- 400 liter/ha spray solution. 

In tropical regions: Applications can be done throughout the year up to 22 applications

Banana fertilizer program


NPK  30-10-10 + TE

5 NPK Multi 20-20-20 + 6 CaO + 3 MgO + TE

5 NPK Fructus 18-9-36 + 6 CaO + 3 MgO +TE

Fruit 18-11-59 + 2 MgO + Micronutrients

Grogreen Calciphos: 2-5 kg/ha. Main Ca application for fruit production should focus on periods before shooting

Grogreen Ca/B: 4-5 kg/ha. Main Ca application for fruit production should focus on periods before shooting

Zinc E-15: 1-2 kg/ha. Possible deficiency at flowering stage

proteKt-K50: 2 l/ha. Constant need through the growth cycle. Increased rates before and after flowering