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We got a banana tree last year and brought it inside to overwinter it. The tree was never put into the ground, it stayed in a large pot and is still in the large pot.

Our overwintering method was to cut off every leaf besides the two topmost leaves, place it in an area of a room with very little sunlight and not much artificial light either, and not water it.

The tree lasted Winter just fine; a good portion of the leaves are dried and brown, a good portion of the outer part of the trunk is also dried and brown, and one of the leaves didn't make it either, but it's still alive and we didn't lose the 5 feet plus of growth that we achieved last Summer.

But now the threat of frost is over and we need to place it back outside. And while there are tons of information about overwintering a banana, I've had trouble finding much information about bringing it back after overwintering it.

What steps do we need to take to bring our banana tree back outside? Should we slowly introduce it to sunlight similar to introducing seedlings to sunlight, or will it be fine to just place in direct sunlight and leave it there? What about watering it? The soil is currently bone-dry and it was only watered once over winter with about 2 cups of water. Should we start watering it slowly or should we just take the hose to it until it's saturated?

Any and all suggestions are appreciated.

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Hydrate the soil immediately and introduce it back into sunlight similarly to new seedlings

Finally getting water will not shock the plant; it needs it if it's going to be getting sunlight again. If the soil is hydrophobic like mine was you'll want to soak it somehow. I usually do this by submerging the entire pot in a 5 gallon bucket, or something similar but since I didn't have a container larger than the pot the banana was in, my method was to place the pot in a plastic storage bin which was wide enough to fit, but not tall enough to submerge. I then watered the soil from the top of the pot using a water hose until it leaked out of the bottom of the pot into the storage bin and filled it up. I then left it to sit and soak up the water overnight. I did this at night and underneath my carport where the sun wouldn't hit it the next day. This also gives the banana a chance to get used to the humidity outside without also having to deal with the sunlight.

As far as the sunlight, it's similar to new seedlings; if you give the plant too much too quick it will burn it. Generally, when you read articles about introducing seedlings to sunlight they say to start off with 1 hour in the shade, 2 hours in the shade, 3 hours in the shade, then half an hour in full sun, 1 hour in full sun, etc. over the course of a week or two, bringing them back inside every day after their allotted sunlight, until they're finally able to live outside. For me though, this wasn't possible with my schedule. I left the banana under the carport the first night and then kept it in a place where the sun wouldn't touch it. Then everyday I would move it closer to the front of the carport where it would get about an hour or more per day of afternoon sun. I left it at the very front of the carport for a few days and made sure it didn't look stressed. Then I committed to full sun all the time, and now my banana is happily growing more leaves every day.

Banana trees are heavy feeders and should be fertilized a lot during its growth. I would suggest waiting at least a few days after it has become used to full sun again before starting fertilizing again.

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