My pups won't grow!

rayandgwenn(z11 Puerto Rico)May 16, 2008

I have an AE-AE banana that is doing great. It has made 7 pups so far. My problem is that the pups peak through the ground and then stop. I have one about 8 inches tall and the rest range from 1-3 inches. Some of them are a year old.

The pups are still reddy/green and alive looking, they just don't grow.

I fertilize every 3 months with a long acting 20-20-20 and in between every month of so, I give it a little banana fertilizer. It gets a little water every day. I assume it is not getting enough fertilizer.

Should I increase the banana fertilizer? How much should I use and how often for a 14 ft plant?

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nyssaman(Z6 ON)

I was using 20-20-20 on my Musa Basjoo every 2 weeks last year in Zone 6 - Bananas love fertilizer - give it some good fish emulsion.I would give it a good soak every 2-3 days - depending on evaporation, rather than a little water every day - it may also be beneficial to separate out the pups at this point and pot them up although I'm not too familiar with the AE variety except that its my favorite..lol

cheers

Jeff

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 10:26PM
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rayandgwenn(z11 Puerto Rico)

I assume it is a fertilizer issue. I am afraid to give too much and am probably skimping.
If it wasn't an AEAE I probably wonldn't care and/or just whack some of the pups off. But of course, since it is a pricey plant, I would like to save the all the plants- Mom and pups!
I will try more water and more fertilizer for a few weeks and see if it helps.
Thanks

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 1:18PM
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lac1361(z9a Lake Charles, LA)

I've been growing Ae Ae since 2003 and I notice this characteristic all the time. I've got two pups on a 10 footer right now that have not grown for over 12 months and I fertilize the "you know what" out of it with composted chicken manure. And then for some unknown reason, they will start to grow like crazy for a period of months. I don't think you can do anything about this; just roll with the punches and all of a sudden a few of your pups will take off. During this time, the mother seems to slow down a little.

Steve

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 1:34PM
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nightrider767(San Antonio)

I think Steve in right. Pups grow on thier own schedule. Sure, they pop up, but that doesn't mean they are going to start growing. I think that is why you want to wait till the pup is a foot or two tall before you transplant it.
Because then it is in an active growing state and not semi-dormant like many young pups are.

So just keep the plant healthy. If the leaves are nice and green and things are going well, then the pups will grow in time.

Good luck. I just came back from Puerto Rico and man,,,, I certainly do admire the banana growing weather there!

Banana Mike

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 11:12PM
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rayandgwenn(z11 Puerto Rico)

OK- things are looking up.
I am giving it a gallon of soluble 20-20-20 (diluted) every few days. I am up to 11 pups now and 2 of the older ones have grown.
I think the fertilizer and the timing- "Spring" is helping me out.
Thanks everyone. I hope this growth spurt gives me a pup or two I can transplant (as back up for hurricane season).

PR is pretty good for bananas! That was why this particular one stumped me. All my others just do their own thing like mad.
You guys are the best!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 7:21PM
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wanna_run_faster

Gwenn, could you (pretty) please post some pictures? I would love to see what they look like in a tropical environment.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 9:35PM
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rayandgwenn(z11 Puerto Rico)

Here is my baby. She is a little ragged and burned because the Flamboyant tree she is under is deciduous and just coming back for this year.

See my pups that are about 1 ft tall? That is new this past week! Yeah- I hope they keep going and make a leaf or two so I can remove them.

ps- WRF- my Siam Ruby is doing very well- really beautiful. Thank you again!!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 6:23PM
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rayandgwenn(z11 Puerto Rico)

Here they are 2 weeks later.
There is some growth visible, but not much considering all the food/water I am giving.
Guess I just have to be patient!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 8:53AM
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lac1361(z9a Lake Charles, LA)

I've never had more than 4 pups on any of my Ae Ae and if I counted correctly, you have 9. That's remarkable and that is also possibly the reason none are growing very fast.

Steve

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 2:43PM
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rayandgwenn(z11 Puerto Rico)

Lac- do you think I should just keep giving her more fertilizer? I guess she is feeding a lot of babies (11 at last count!) and needs more.

Can I give her some 20-20-20 water soluble fertilizer diluted in a gallon DAILY? And then regular banana fertilizer every 3 months or more often?

And what are your suggestions for separating the pups- wait for a real leaf or just a certain height?

Thanks-
Gwenn

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 3:01PM
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lac1361(z9a Lake Charles, LA)

Gwenn,

I would not separate the pups until they are 18 to 24 inches in height. The sword pups will be much stronger and robust growers than the umbrella pups. Some of your pups are so close together that you will probably have to take two or so together. For Ae Ae pups,I take a long knife and make the full cut against the corm all the way through. I do not lift the pup out for 2 weeks. It seems to help to give the pup time to make some more roots on its on. My fertilizer schedule is 20# of composted chicken manure every 2 months and two gallons of Miracid water soluble fertilizer every 2 weeks, 1T per gallon. I water just about every day during the warm periods here in coastal Louisiana which is March 15 through Nov 15. Mine is pushing out a flag leaf and will be blooming in about a week.

Steve

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 4:18PM
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lac1361(z9a Lake Charles, LA)

By the way, that's a nice looking helocinia in the foreground. It looks like it's a short grower with a big bloom like Stricta Las Cruces or Oriole Orange. What's the name of it.

Steve

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 4:29PM
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rayandgwenn(z11 Puerto Rico)

Thanks- I will keep up with the fertilizer schedule, and hope for the best.

In the foreground, that is a seedling of a H. Guapa. There is an H. Jacquini in the background. My heliconias get a lot of sun, so they are shorter than usual.

Good luck with your bananas- I can't wait to see it. The variegated bananas are so pretty!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 4:46PM
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lac1361(z9a Lake Charles, LA)

Oh yes, I see Jacquinii to the right. Wow, she sure is short. I tried growing that one for years in a container and never got it to bloom. It was 7 feet in the pot and the root ball busted out a 25 gallon nursery pot. I love that heliconia.

I just tried to post the picture of the Ae Ae in the banana galley since I don't know how to directly post to this thread but it rejected my picture because of its size. I could send it to you by email or maybe I'll get one of my kids to resize the picture. Anyway, a better picture will be of the bloom when it pokes its head out of the pseudostem

Steve

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 5:10PM
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rayandgwenn(z11 Puerto Rico)

Well, my pups are still about the same size, but today I noticed the Mom has a flower spike coming! Yeah!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 4:41PM
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lac1361(z9a Lake Charles, LA)

Gwen,

Congrats on the flower. My Ae Ae flowered about a month ago. I've got 5 hands with about 45 fingers. The pups on mine haven't grown in months.

Steve

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 9:51AM
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lac1361(z9a Lake Charles, LA)

Forgot to post the picture.

Steve

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 10:26AM
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rayandgwenn(z11 Puerto Rico)

Steve-
NICE! I can't wait for mine.... Are the bananas edible?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 8:29AM
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lac1361(z9a Lake Charles, LA)

Yes; best when good and ripe, so I'm told.

Steve

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 8:47AM
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topher2006

Have you tried superthrive ?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 6:05PM
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rayandgwenn(z11 Puerto Rico)

I haven't tried Superthrive on my bananas. I used to use it on my orchids, but it is pricey in quantity!

In the last few months, I have been giving my plant a couple gallons of water every other day (or so) with 20-20-20 and Vit B and then some granular banana fertilizer and Osmocote every month.

I think my plant is just using a lot of energy dealing with all the pups and making fruit. And it does seem like others are having the same phenomenon of the pups growing on their own schedule (a little at a time). I just have to be more patient.

Are you having good luck with Superthrive on Ae-Ae bananas? I would like to get these pups bigger to separate them.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 6:41PM
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topher2006

I do not have any ae's but.. i have used it on my raja puri and orrinocco's and red/green dwarfs and it seems to make them grow faster .

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 7:09PM
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rayandgwenn(z11 Puerto Rico)

Thanks for the idea, I may try it yet.... as a last resort.

But thanks to this forum, I feel a little better about my pups taking their time. And now that "Mom" is fruiting, I can give her a little slack about the pups! I'll post a pix tomorrow- the fruit is so pretty.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 7:14PM
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rayandgwenn(z11 Puerto Rico)

Well it's been some time now, and our Ae-Ae bananas are starting to turn ripe. We've tasted a couple of them at various stages of "ripeness", but they're still not ready. So far, they taste a little like a manzana banana -- an apple flavor -- but still not good.

We'll let them get more ripe and see if that helps in the sweetness department. Manzanas taste best when fully ripe and when the fruit is getting soft -- actually they're good when the skin starts to turn brown. Maybe the Ae-Ae is the same way. We'll find out.

Here's a photo showing both the green and yellow/ripe variegated still on the plant. It's interesting how the green part turns "banana yellow" and the white part turns a light cream color.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 4:04PM
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