will my bananas ripen? or die?

pappy_rDecember 19, 2008

A few years ago,my neighbor gave me a banana plant that I planted because I didn't want to hurt her feelings. To-day I checked the clump to see what I could do about cutting it down for the winter, and I noticed four little bananas, and a purple pod on a hung-over stalk, exactly like the picture on the heading for this forum.

Isn't it too late in the season for bananas?

It's planted next to the house on the South side, and the leaves are all brown above the edge of the roof, (we did get a snow flurry last week) and one big stalk bent at about 4' feet from the ground.

Any suggestions?

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wally_1936(8b)

No is isn't too late for bananas. If the fruit is full you need to cut the stalk and store the fruit in a cool location until they ripen. Cut off the purple flower. If the weather stays warm enough the fruit will burst if let on the stalk. Don't know it the fruit will have a good ftaste or not. Here in Texas they seem to have a variety taste sweet and that is about all. I have always given my fruit away, but it should at least make good banana breadif nothing else. The plant takes about 18 months to fruit

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 9:52PM
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pappy_r

Wally, thanks for the information.
I have 4 little bananas, about 3 inches long, and about five empty spaces under them on the stalk above the flower bulb thing which has eight blossoms showing under the top leaf.
Do you have any idea how big these bananas will grow if I leave them on, and we have no frost?

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 2:33PM
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mikethegardencoach(USDA 10, Sunset 24)

Hey there, Pappy
What you are seeing in the banana is the fruiting (female) flowers/fruit, the bare spot is the androgynous (non-fruiting) flowers (they fall off) followed by the male flowers (also non-fruiting). Many people have recommended removing the rest of the flower stalk after the the female flowers have quit, but I found this lead to stem end rot (also called cigar rot). I found that I have better luck not cutting them off.
As to ripening, after the weather gets colder than 55 degrees, the plants go dormant. My own experience has been that over-wintering fruit MAY mature when the weather warms back up in spring, but the quality is horrible. They are hard, grainy, and not worth the effort.
I am in an area that never freezes, so the pups will be the main stalks the next year. I have generally cut the main flowering stem back to near the ground to shift the growth into the largest pup, and hopefully it will get a chance to mature fruit the following year by getting a jum on the growing season.
Fast maturing varieties (generally the shorter varieties) give me the most chance of success. My most productive varieties were Enano Gigantes which seemed identical to one I got labeled as Mexican Dwarf.
My original plantings was 12 varieties, and only 3 of those showed real promise. Our El Nino rains some years ago drowned all of them with 3 months of heavy rain (we have a hard pan substrata, and they plants were water-logged and just didn't survive.
I have tried to find the Gigantes again, but after Doug's Banana farm in Carpenteria got buried in a landslide, they are not generally available. @ years ago, I acquired another 12 or 13 varieties. Of these, the ones I got labeled 'Dwarf Brazilian' (a Cavendish type) have been the only ones to produce fruit, and they started to flower too late in the year. Pups from these were previously removed and are in different states of growth, so hopefully, some of these will get with the program earlier in the year while there is enough growing season to ripen before the cool weather hits next year.
I added a link to some photos of the Dwarf Brazilian flowering on Flickr...

Here is a link that might be useful: My photos on Flickr

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 4:25AM
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pappy_r

Well here it is January, we had 32 degrees one night in December, and I still have the 4 little 3" bananas and a long stalk below them, and the bulb thing is still shedding purple leaves.
The blossoms lined up under the leaves fall off, apparently they are not being pollinated.
I guess it's too cold for the right insects.
Thanks guys for the input and information.
3 inch bananas are too small to pick, so I'll wait til Spring, and see what happens...

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 6:53PM
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pappy_r

Four nights ago, we had a 32 degree low, and the four little bananas stayed on, and I tried to hand pollinate the twelve little blossoms that were showing. To-day, two of the blossoms are swelling, as though they are going to grow.
My daughter expects me to be singing Dayyyo... LOL

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 3:03PM
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pappy_r

Four nights ago, we had a 32 degree low, and the four little bananas stayed on, and I tried to hand pollinate the twelve little blossoms that were showing. To-day, two of the blossoms are swelling, as though they are going to grow.
My daughter expects me to be singing Dayyyo... LOL

    Bookmark   January 27, 2009 at 9:22PM
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