too many pups???

b-nutsMay 18, 2008

i have 9 pups comming up from my mother basjoo from last year. the main plant from last year has not come back but it has 9 babies comming up around it ranging in size from 4 inchs to a foot... my question is, should i leave them alone or should i thin them out... i dont mind leaving them alone as long as they will not have any problems.

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I have exactly the same thing happening except I have 5 pups. The mother plant did not come back. I've fertilized them and they're growing but not sure whether to leave them alone or transplant some of them.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 10:50PM
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nucci60(6 Ma.)

Ditto! I have about seven. We need some good advice. If we remove some will the others get stronger?

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 4:26PM
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you can always send me some. LOL!!!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 8:35PM
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nightrider767(San Antonio)

I think your plants "the parent" is telling you "hey, it's time for me to die".

I'm not an expert by any measure, but from what I've seen, bananas will do this after flowering or at the begining of the season in cold climates, when the parent is not coming back.

I think it has something to do with the meri-stem. It's been damamged or is signaling that it's time to make the corm productive with new growth because the plant is getting ready to die.

It's really a pretty neat thing. Don't feel bad about it.

What to do?

Lot's of options. Depends on what you're looking for. If you'd like to increase your banana plant population, then let the pups grow. When they get between 1-2 ft tall, carefully seperate them from the parent and transplant them to a new location.

The pups are all feeding off the parent corm now and will begin to grow as they see fit. So wait till they are actively growing before you transplant them.

You can leave them be and let a clump grow their. But you may end up with too dense a patch and the trees will be marginal.

Lastly,,, if you are adventurous like me, you can let the pups grow, transplant them, and when the pups stop shooting up.... Dig up the parent corm, do a division on that and even further increase the productivity of the plant.

I have a theory, unproven, that corms that are getting ready to die and stop producing pups, still have some milliage left to them. This involves digging the parent corm up, and dividing it into peaces and replanting those.

Either way, happy growing!

Banana Mike

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 11:29PM
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My Ae Ae has produced 12 pups so far. I thought they were difficult to pup? I've cut away 6 from the mother and they are all doing well.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 4:46PM
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How do you divide the mother corm to increase the productivity? Thanks for sharing!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 10:54PM
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nucci60(6 Ma.)

With the pups so close togeather, how can you dig a couple without damaaging others?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 10:15AM
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nightrider767(San Antonio)

Nucci, Just wait for the pup to start to grow. Then dig the dirt out from around the corm and be very careful. But the pup has to be in the growth phase. that way if you mess up, it'll still probably live.

So dig in there, and get a good picture of whats going on.

Happy cutting!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 11:58AM
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nightrider767(San Antonio)

Garden Girl, I've been trying to get more info on that myself. Even on forums like this and Bananas dot org, it's hard to find.

But in a deep google scan, I've heard mentiion of corm division. I think it's a meathod used by plantation owners and banana producers before they started tissues culture.

But the idea is that once the plant fruits, it's going to want to die. The first thing it'll hopefully do, is push a couple pups up. That's great, but in the end that'll stop and we're just left with a corm that is being sucked dry by pups and a plant that is about to die.

That's not a bad place to be. But the theory that I've been working with is to seprate the new pups and keep the corm alive. I've read that the corm has hidden pups or buds in it. What we're trying to accomplish is get even more plants from the parent before it dies.

For corm division, once you seperate those pups, you dig the corm up, "it's a gonner anyways at this point". But if you peel around the corm, you should find a couple extra eyes. Here you cut the corm into pieces around those buds and plant them for even more plants.

I still have not tried this as the corms that I want to try it on still have pups that haven't got to the growth phase. So it certainly is more of a theoretical on my side. But at least it's not a thoery that I've come up with. I think the trick will be in the actual division and the handling of the corm.

That's info that I haven't found and will have to be done by trial and error.

But hey, the darn corm is gonna die anyways, so I don't see any harm...

Happy Gardening!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 12:24PM
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JohnnieB(Washington, DC 7a/b)

My own M. basjoo only produced a few pups in its second and third years, but now that it has grown into a well-established, good-sized clump it is pupping like mad and threatening to take over my garden! I think it looks best with a little space between the pseudostems so it benefits from some judicious thinning. If a pup is coming up where you don't want it, when it gets to about 5 or 6 inches tall, make sure your hands are dry, grasp it firmly at the base, give it a sharp yank, and it will break off cleanly at or below the soil level.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 2:09PM
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Thanks NR, I will definitely try that. Like you said, you really don't have anything to lose. I just purchased a Dwarf Island Gold today. I like the compact growth and full leaves of dwarfs. It's about 4 ft tall. The person I purchased it from said it would produce small (4 in) sweet bananas...sounds like a cavendish? Anyways, thanks a lot. I hope it pushes up some pups when I get it in the ground like everyone's here. That will be exciting.
Yeah B*A*N*A*N*A*S! Loving this forum :). Can anyone suggest a good dwarf plantain?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 8:15PM
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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

I like to thin my basjoo clump too, like johnnie b, I don't like them too close together. I haven't tried the yanking method yet, but it sounds good. I just take a sturdy kitchen knife and whack off the pups that are in places I don't want them. Sometimes they grow back, I just keep on whackin'.

In a perfect world, I would dig them up, carefully root them, and sell or give them away. But I ran out of time and ran out of friends who wanted them! Plus the bananas are on a tiny strip of land behind my pond next the foundation wall of the house. Every time I go back there, I risk an embarrassing and physically dangerous fall into the pond. So I try not to dig back there very much!!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 11:22PM
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I am in Illinois and planted my first Basjoo in 2004, The grove has gotten bigger every year and I have not removed any pups yet or even thinned it out. I may try transplanting one this year. Here is my grove in 2007.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 12:40PM
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godsdog(z10 LA ss22)

in response to nightrider. I think i have inadvertantly done the experiment, not science of course. I have banana plants growing at the edge of my compost pile and when I dig them out they are growing from the edge of corm piece. I usually chop up anything that looks like it will continue to grow to prevent this from happening, but would have missed small 'eye' buds.
gardengirl. Cardaba is a small plantain, I don't know if you would call it a dwarf. Mine is about 8 feet tall but compared to saba at 30 feet it seems so. My Philippino friends can't tell the difference in the fruit. it's premature of me to say this but I may have a new variety. (but more likely was just mislabeled) I ordered 5 tissue culture Saba , planted them in a row at 45 degrees off east-west, One plant froze back fairly severely the first winter when we had several nights to 28 degrees. all of the plants were about the same height about 5 feet. I thought maybe the sensitivity to frost was related to diameter of the stalk, but I still thought it was a regular saba. last summer it didn't grow much taller than 6 feet no fruiting stalk. This year so far it is putting out pups and new leaves, still no fruiting stalk, the oldest pup is not acting like a saba but like the dwarf parent. I would be very exciting to have a new mutation, but mutation from tissue culture is not suppose to happen, so it's more likely 'human error' in the shipping department. But if it fruits and it can fool my expert taste testers, I'll post and send you a pup.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 3:24PM
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ZP, what a beautiful grove. They look so perfect. The design is very pretty.
GD, Gosh thanks. Look forward to hearing how your little mutie does.
WG, I don't blame you. Sounds dangerous. I can only hope to get to the point of having too many pups :). I planted my Island Gold today. We'll see......

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 8:36PM
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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

Planting the bananas between the house foundation and the pond was intentional. It's by far the warmest spot on the property. I also use pond deicers, so I'm sure the nonfrozen water helps keep the soil from freezing too much.

Of course, I was younger and stupider then. Didn't think so much about the whole issue of maintenance! Of course I never expected to have so many bananas back there either.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 9:36PM
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