Getting Bananas Started in Phoenix
Hi Folks, I am having problems getting bananas growing in Phoenix. Last year I ordered a Williams Hybrid and a Dwarf Red from Green Earth Publishing in Melbourne, Florida. I planted them straight in the ground. I had prepared the bed where they were to grow, meticulously trying to get every trace of Crab grass root and Bermuda root out of the soil. I had dug down about 2 feet and combined a veritable concoction of composted forest mulch, deodorized steer manure, gypsum, potting compost and general fertilizer 50/50 with soil. It was a lot of hard work in a bed of roughly 10 foot length by 4 feet wide. The Dwarf Red died within a week and the Williams about 2 months later. The bed had become covered in Crab Grass once more, before the Williams died. This year I ordered the same two again and took Ted's advice (Green Earth's gardener)to plant them in 6 inch pots. He recommended letting them dry out between waterings to encourage root growth. The Williams was the first to perish this time. The Dwarf Red died back alot but after I gave it a good soaking it seemed to want to live again. I ordered yet another Williams and this time a Sweetheart. The latter is supposed to be one of the easiest to grow. Again I planted them in six inch pots in composted forest mulch with some small stones in the bottom of each pot for drainage. Ted's theory was that I may have over-watered previous plants and that led to root rot. Both of these have also died back somewhat but are starting to painfully throw out centre leaves. Ultimately I can never be certain whether they are showing signs of dehydration or over-watering. As you will all appreciate our summers in Phoenix are un-forgiving with un-relenting heat. So at the moment I have 3 banana plants, a Dwarf red, a Williams and a Sweetheart all just about hanging in there. I have them in pots still and have started feeding them with a once weekly watering of miracle grow. The bed that I am hoping to eventually plant them into is behind a 6 foot wall. The aspect is east facing, which will afford them protection from the afternoon sun. I am debating whether or not to use drippers to individually supply each plant, or whether to keep them going under the existing sprinkler system. This is part of the lawn arrangement and set to turn on at around 5.30 a.m. for 10 mins every morning. If any of you have any experience with growing bananas, or any suggestions, I'd be really pleased to hear from you. Regards, Colin.