I have a musa basjoo and my friend wants one. My plant is about a lil over 1 ft. How long until it makes pups/suckers?
It's hard to say.
Naturally, a banana plant can pup without provocation, sometimes within months, sometimes, well over a year. Depending on how this plant was raised (from tissue culture, water sucker pup, sword sucker pup) the most significant factor is 1. the development of a strong corm. and 2. (or 1a, maybe) proper nutrients.
Without a decent corm, there's usually not enough 'juice' to support offspring. Sometimes, if the banana plant is damaged, the plant will use the rest of its energy into pushing out pups. Othertimes, it'll simply strive to push a new leaf through the pseudostem.
I've seen big box store banana plants pupping when only 3' tall. I've also seen planted basjoo sitting at 10' and still pupless. While I'm certain all the big box stores rely on tissue cultured plants, I have no idea how old those plants are when they're shipped out for sale.
If your friend is looking for a basjoo, it would be a heck of a lot faster to order one from online. Wellspring Gardens and Florida Hill Nursery offer very young TC bananas for a low price (usually 5-7 bucks). Your friend will get a small tissue culture plant in a matter of days, and for a good price too.
I just got an order of 8 Musa Black Thai from Wellspring. Your friend's plant would start off looking similar to this:
Not to complicate matters, but I posted a thread to Bananas.org a few months back asking why bananas pup, due to an interesting experience I'd had. Don't know if that'll clear things up or cause more confusion.
Here is a link that might be useful: Why Do Banana Plants Pup?
Ah, my favorite shovel. I could own 10,000 trowels and I will always reach for THAT one. (Fiskars, 99 cents). : )
Carol in Jacksonville
Amen. I practically keep the thing in my back pocket.