How many is too many?

apg4May 27, 2013

The bananas - or rather, Orinoco plantains - are coming back from a short winter's nap like gang-busters. Most of the pseudostems cut to ground level are sprouting, plus a bunch of pups. All-in-all, two dozen so far, in a raised bed about 25 square feet in the middle of a 300 square foot patio area. The plants like it: full sun and are well-fed. They grew to 22' last year.

This will be the third year for bananas, so I'm still learning, But how many is too many? One stem produced fruit last fall, though the approach of winter limited fruit development/ripening. Will less 'competition' increase the likelihood of fruiting? Are plants arising from old stems more likely to set fruit than from pups?

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Foreverlad(9b - Tampa Bay)

Awesome to hear about your growing collection Apg4. All the research I've done says 'no'. to your question.

-1 plant with no offspring will produce, say, 100 fingers of fruit, each fruit maybe 6 inches long.
-1 plant with 5 pups will produce, possibly, a few fewer fingers and the fruit might not be quite as large.

What you sacrifice in fruit size is made up for by higher overall yield between multiple plants from a single corm. Instead of 1 p-stem fruiting, you could potentially have 3 or more flowering at once.

Additionally, having pups already growing in place means you've got replacements rearing to go when it's time to put down the mother stem.

As far as pups vs old stems, old stems will generally win. They're keyed in to the master suite of the corm and will nearly always take priority over a pup. Pups stand an equal chance of eventually fruiting, but rarely over the mother stem. When the mother stem is dead and you have, say, 4 pups of equal age, anything is possible.

Mike

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 12:49PM
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