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I have a little banana tree plant growing on my kitchen windowsill.

This advice says:

Banana palms will often reemerge from the rhizomes, so when the weather begins to cool, cut your indoor banana off at the soil level (their trunks are soft and easy to cut) and hopefully, new shoots will emerge for next season.

But why should I do this? I'm obviously not trying to grow bananas, nor do I really have any long term plans for it. Is there any reason to not just let it keep doing its thing, even if its growth slows as we go into the winter months?

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The banana is the tropical equivalent of herbaceous perennials in the temperate regions. Their normal pattern of growth is to fire up vigorously during the vegetative phase, produce flowers and fruit/seeds, then the top dies back as the plant stores resources in the root ready to sprout out in the following season. In the temperate zone this is governed much by temperature; as the weather warms they sprout out and as it cools in the fall the tops die back. In the tropics the period of vigorous growth may coincide with the wet season, since banana plants like plentiful moisture and rich soil. So when managing the banana growth the recommendation is to cut back the top at the time of its lowest growth, then it can sprout out again from the base where the resources were stored. In this way you can control the height and do the least damage to the plant.

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  • Does it make sense to cut it before the top has died back? – Steve Bennett May 5 at 23:24
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    It's a tough call is it not? How is a plant adapted to behave according to a marked seasonal variation supposed to behave in a protected environment where there is no great seasonal change? It might never die back as such. Probably the best thing is to cut it back when it gets top-heavy. – Colin Beckingham May 6 at 14:38

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