Banana is an edible flowering plant and the species is native to the countries of Australia, America, Europe, China, and South Asia. The size (long & curved), color and firmness of the fruit are varied. It is rich in starch and covered with green, yellow, brown or red rind. Plants are approximately 5 meters high and can grow in a wide variety of soils. Leaves consist of stalk and blade.
The banana leaves are large, flexible and decorative. They are used in tropical and subtropical regions to wrap, cook and serve food. The fruit can be eaten or juiced. It can also be used in ice creams, cookies, pies, milkshakes, preserves, smoothies, as well as recipes for preparation.
Growing bananas doesn’t take a lot of effort, but when you get started you need to know a few things right …
Benefits of Growing Banana Plants
- They’re making great windbreaks or screens
- They can keep the sun on your sunny west side
- Water and nutrients are used in waste drains
- The leaves can be fed for horses, cows, and other grazers
- The dried trunk remains can be used to make baskets and mattresses.
But I see some pretty sad looking banana plants growing there when I look around the gardens of friends.
How Do Bananas Plants Grow?
Bananas, though often called banana palms, are not actual trees, not even palm trees.
Banana trunks are all the seed stalks that are wrapped around each other. New leaves begin to grow indoors, under the floor. They push up the middle and emerge from the crown heart. That’s how the flower transforms into a bunch of bananas.
Here is a series of pictures demonstrating how the flower first appears and how the bananas emerge and curl up to the light.
It takes about nine months for a banana plant to grow and produce a bunch of bananas. Then the plant’s mother dies. But there are plenty of suckers or pups around the base, little baby plants.
There is a big rhizome called the corm at the base of a banana plant below the ground. There are many growing points in the rhizome and they turn into new suckers/pups. The suckers can be removed and transplanted, and the mother plant can be replaced by one or two.
Okay, so now, when you have bananas growing in your yard, you know what to do, but how do you begin?
How To Get Started Growing Bananas Plants?
You must first make sure you can actually grow bananas wherever you are.
You need a subtropical climate that is hot or cold. Bananas can withstand extreme heat, but they don’t like it if they have enough water. For a short time, they can tolerate cool weather, but they also don’t like that. They only stop growing below 14 ° C (57 ° F).
If the temperatures drop any lower the fruit will suffer, the skin will become grayish and the leaves will turn yellow. Frost kills the above-ground plant, but it can survive and re-shoot the corm.
For banana cultivation, the ideal temperature range is around 26-30 ° C (78-86 ° F).
To grow bananas, you need a lot of water. The enormous soft leaves evaporate a bit and the supply must be preserved. Bananas also need to be comfortable with high humidity.
Wherever I stay, the commercial banana growers spray their plants with sprinklers two or three times a day to maintain the banana plantation humidity!
You need soil that is very rich. If you don’t start with good soil, make some. Before you plant your bananas, add lots and lots of compost and plenty of chicken manure. Wood ash does not hurt either for extra potassium. Then very thickly mulch them. And continue to mulch and feed them!
And you need space so that together you can plant enough of them. Bananas are in need of wind protection. Growing a lot of banana plants together raises the moisture in the center, changes the temperature a little, shades and cools the trunks. You don’t want to cook the mid-forming flower…
If you get a chance, look somewhere at a commercial banana plantation. The outer rows always look sad, particularly on the western side. Inside, the best bananas are rising.
In blocks or clumps, you should plant bananas, not single rows, and definitely not single plants. You can grow a few banana plants together if you have very little room and grow something else outside to protect them. But if you want them to be happy, you have to give them that sheltered jungle environment.
Banana plants like:
- Dark, deep, soils that are fertile.
- Lots of organic matter and mulch. Just pile it on.
- A lot of potassium and nitrogen.
- Stable water, not too hot, not too cold.
- In the ground and in the air, steady moisture.
Banana plants dislike:
- Strong winds.
- Extreme cold or heat.
- Whether hungry or thirsty.
- To be alone and to be exposed.
Banana Cultivated Varieties
Cavendish is the supermarket’s variety you know. When you live in the area of a region that grows bananas, this is the variety you see in plantations. It is a solid plant that produces heavy bunches of large size.
Lady Fingers are plants that are very tall and slender with smaller, sweeter fruit. They are often grown as ornamental plants by gardeners with a bonus for the small fruit.
Red Bananas: There are many types of orange bananas, so they share two common things: they look super cool, and they tend to be on the banana flavor family’s sweeter side. Use them out of hand and add to the pans, but they’re ready to eat when they’re red!
Plantains are bananas that are cooking. They’re more dry and starchy. You use them as yellow as onions, and they taste the same.
Eighty percent of the world’s bananas are plantain varieties! In many tropical countries, they are an important staple food.
There are many other exotic varieties, but the most prominent and most widely grown are those above.
What I explain below and most of the pictures on this page apply to Cavendish bananas, but the suggestion also applies to all other varieties.
Is Banana Tree Edible?
Banana is an edible fruit produced by the Musa family of large flowering plants. The fruit as well as the banana leaves are edible and may not be harmful. In some countries, bananas used for cooking are called plantains, and the leaves are served as wrappers for cooking rice, meat, and other foods.
Banana Flower & Fruit
Banana flowers with tightly packed petals and white tubular flowers are available in red-orange to deep purple colors. At the top of the plant appears a large cone-shaped flower stalk. A leathery covering covers these many flowers. As the flowers bloom, white flowers and then small bananas are revealed. It is better to remove and replant banana plants after the production of banana fruits.
Pests and Diseases
Identifying pests and diseases can help control and keep banana trees growing. The growth of plants is disrupted by plagues such as aphids, caterpillar, spider mites, fruit fly, scab moths, and rust thrips. Because of the lack of nutrients that include insufficient sunlight, watering, soil and fertilization, diseases such as crown rot, leaf speckle, leaf rust, and Panama disease.
To keep banana trees away from pests and diseases, maintain a good drainage system and control spoiling weeds. You can also use organic methods such as applying to the soil of the plant Eggshells, Epsom salt, Baking soda, and Vinegar.
To promote plant growth, use organic fertilizers that are rich in magnesium, potassium, and nitrogen. Mix and sprinkle the fertilizer with water on plants or soil. Fertilize the plant once a month, providing the plant’s growth with nutrients and minerals.
It takes 9-12 months for the fruit to mature from sowing to harvesting, depending on the banana type. Through cutting the stalk full of green bananas, you can harvest bananas. Place them in a cool, dark place to turn yellow or wait for the fruits to turn yellow to eat right after plucking.
Planting Banana Crops
You can’t grow from seeds the usual bananas. These banana plants, like wild bananas, do not produce viable seeds.
The best way is to start with the suckers or pups mentioned above. Does anyone know who is rising bananas? Speak to them. Every banana plant produces many more suckers than you need, so usually, people have plenty to give away.
Only suckers are taken from vigorous banana plants. The suckers should have small leaves in the form of a spear and be about four feet high preferably. Smaller suckers are going to take longer to fruit and smaller is going to be the first banana bunch.
Cut the sucker with a sharp shovel out of the main banana plant. Cut down between the sucker and the mature plant. You’ve got to cut the corm. It’s not that fast.
Make sure you get a good piece of corm with it and a lot of roots. Cut the top off the sucker to reduce evaporation while you’re moving it and settling into your new home.
Remember, at the bottom of a banana plant is the growing point. The sucker can be decapitated. It’s going to grow again.
Another method is to dig up and cut a portion of the rhizome into pieces. It is possible to plant any bit that has an eye and will grow into a banana plant. Nevertheless, it takes longer than the rising suckers of bananas.
In your well-prepared banana field, plant your bits or suckers, holding two to five meters between them.
The format depends on the spacing. In a block of several double rows, my bananas grow. The spacing is two to three meters in the double columns, now with two plants in each position, the initial plant’s suckers. There are four to five meters apart from my double columns.
I also have a banana circle around an outdoor shower with a maximum of two meters between plants, and they grow in a haphazard manner.
If you only have one clump of a few banana plants, you can put them together even closer.
Keep your banana plants moist in the early days, but not too wet, or they may rot. They still don’t have leaves to evaporate water, so they don’t need anything.
Growing Banana Fruit
After about six months, depending on the weather, you can see your first flower appearing. Leave the leaves around it, particularly the one that protects the stalk’s top bend from sunburn!
They reveal a “hand” of bananas under each as the purple flower petals curl back and drop off. Every banana is a finger.
With four and a half or more full hands, you can get anything. Then you will see a hand of teeny weeny reasons for bananas under the next petal. These are the fingers of the man.
Only clean and drop the male hands. There’s only the stalk left. It will eventually reach the ground if you allow it to expand.
Many people break the “bell” (the finishing bunch of purple flower petals) about 15 cm below the last female side. The banana plant thus puts its resources and reserves into growing large bananas, not a short line. Some of the bottom female hands are also cut by commercial banana growers so that the remaining bananas grow larger.
Okay, then you’re waiting patiently for at least two more months.
If your banana plant isn’t very solid or not very straight, you may need to prop up your banana bunch because it gets very heavy and a bunch can snap off or fall over the entire plant.
A decent prop with a u-shaped hook at the end would be a long handle. But the job can also be accomplished by a long enough panel or pole. I leave it to your resourcefulness.
If they look well rounded with ribs, bananas are prepared to be picked, and the little flowers at the end are clean and quick to rub off. You can pick them now, green, and they will begin to mature as soon as you pick them, regardless of their size.
These will also finally grow on the bunch and taste the best of those bananas. However, they ripen really quickly when they begin, faster than you can eat or use them. So you can slice off the top hands a little sooner and mature them on the kitchen bench as well.
If you need to protect it from possums or birds or other criminals, you can also cut the whole bunch and hang it somewhere. But then all the bananas are going to mature at once! So get ready.
Through peeling and freezing them, you can preserve bananas for use in cooking and baking. And, to stop them fed, peeling, lengthwise slicing in half and drying them.
The rest of the plant will die quickly once the bunch is picked. Cut it to the ground, throw it on some chook poo, and let the next sucker grow as all the bananas are processed.
In order to protect bananas from pests, bugs, sunburn, and marauders, commercial banana growers use bunch covers (plastic bags open at both ends that slip over the bunch and attach at the top). At a rural supply store, you can try to buy those bags, or beg some of a grower.
I used to bag my bananas (hard to get out of habit after four years of commercial plantation work) but I’m no longer bothering. Even if the birds get a few, for me and the chickens and the dog and all the friends and their families, there’s still more than enough left to freeze and clean… So why not share the bounty with the wild birds (or kangaroos) as well!