Category Archives: How to Plant

When to Split or Separate Pups from the mother plant?

The process of separating a banana plant from the mother is a bit complicated. Here are a few things to check off before even thinking about separating your banana plant:

  • The pup is at least a foot tall. If it isnt’, your pup is not developed enough yet to be separated from the mother plant
  • Pick out a spot for you banana plant
  • If you are in zones 7-9  you should separate the pups during the months of or in between July and September. The plants need enough time to develop before it gets cold.

There are two types of pups:

sword_vs_water_suckers

  1. Water Sucker- as the name implies, this pup sucks up a lot of  water. It has very well developed roots and will be the faster growing of the two.
  2. Sword Sucker- this pup does not have as well developed roots or corm as the water sucker does. This plant will grow slower and has a higher mortality rate than the water sucker. (click for larger image)

Separating Step by Step: 

banana_pups_separate

  1. Shovels (even small thin ones) are often too large and not the best for separating pups. There is a greater chance of damaging the plant when using a shovel. The best tool to use is a digging bar with a flat tip (avoid sharp tips). You can find them at almost any hardware store for about $15- 20.
  2. Focus on where you will separate the plant, how deep you will go etc. If you do not get enough roots the plant may die. Refer to this diagram to see the angle at which the digging bar should hit the roots. (click for larger image)
  3. Once separated the plant will be in shock. You need to either immediately pot the plant and or put it in its new location. The plant needs to be heavily watered.

Don’t be concerned if:

  • your plant starts to grow slower than it was growing before. All banana pups will grow slower immediately after being separated from its mother plant (its in shock). Once it recovers though, it will continue on normally.