When to cut the flower off a banana stalk?

tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)August 11, 2009

So, these are my first banana stalks and I don't know what to make out of these baby bananas dropping off the bottom of the first stalk. Is this normal and a sign it's time to cut off the flower or is something wrong that I need to attend to?

Also, the second fruit stalk flower cover doesn't have that maroon covering I'm used to seeing, does this mean their is something I need to attend to with the second grouping of bananas.

Tom

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tropicalfreak(z10b Ft Lauderdale)

Great question. My Dwarf Cavendish bloomed a month ago and the bananas are forming nicely. Anxious awaiting someone to reply to your thread....

Tropicalfreak

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 8:45PM
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annafl(z9b/10a Sarasota)

Holy smokes, Tom, that's one big bunch of bananas! Looks great! Don't do anything to the stalk or flower. Let it hang. I'm no banana expert, but I find that each bunch has a predetermined size that that mother plant can support. After that, the rest of the little bananas don't form anymore. From the looks of yours, your mama did well. Don't worry, just wait. I like to pick mine when the first banana turns yellow. Then prepare to eat bananas, make banana bread, banana cream pie, smoothies, etc. I always end up freezing a bunch as well for smoothies later on or for banana bread. What type of banana is that?

Anna

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 9:00PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

Hi Anna, it's a Mahoi, so I'm looking forward to double stalks with the upcoming corms :-)

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 9:06PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Tom
You have some great looking bunch of bananas! I don't usually cut the flower from mine, but other people do when the bananas stop forming. Some people eat the flower, I saw them for sale at the oriental market. I use the leaves for cooking sometimes.

I would not worry about the small bananas falling, mine do too. Probably professional growers use a lot of pesticides and fungicides for perfect looking fruit.

As long as we get some bananas,I think is fine.

Silvia

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 9:36PM
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johnjsr(9A DeLand)

Tom,
I had the same question the first time my bananas made fruit, so of course I googled it. The U of Fl experts said those are male flowers that will not make a fruit. Some say to cut them off to allow that energy to go into the fruit that you see. Others say it doesn't make any difference. I have tried both approaches and I couldn't see any difference in the fruit, but I never saw any more fruit form either. I decided to cut them just to lighten the load. Experiment.
john

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 12:57AM
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katkin_gw

I have had the same results as John, the banana doesn't seem to care one way or another. I generally cut it off, just because I have a lot planted in a tight space and need the room. Some times I even cut the stalk before the last fruit is formed. I don't need all those bananas at once, and that hasn't seemed to matter either. I've even cut the whole stalk off and let ripen in the garage to keep the critters away and that worked too.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 6:26AM
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lac1361(z9a Lake Charles, LA)

The female flowers produce the fruit. Once the plant begins producing male flowers, no more fruit will form and they usually drop off over time. I've never noticed any difference from cutting off the inflorescence or leaving it on.

Steve

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 8:15AM
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solstice98(9b/Orlando)

I agree that cutting it off doesn't make any difference but like John I cut it off to lighten the load. I have a problem keeping the stalks from blowing over when the bunches get large so anything I can do to lighten it up is a good thing!

Kate

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 9:03AM
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coffeemom(Broward z10)

If you feel like playing around with food you can try this.

"To prepare the banana blossom, remove the outer darker leaves and reserve for decorations. Continue this until you see the "younger" pale leaves. Continue to peel off these leaves, discard the stamens and place the leaves in the lemon juice water. Rinse all the leaves, thinly slice then put them in the second bowl of acidulated water for 5-10 mins to remove the acidity taste."

I usually chop up the leaves, soak them in asian dressing and throw them in a salad. Has the texture of cabbage and makes me feel exotic.

Treefrog tried this recipe and threw it out because it tasted so bad. Personally I would never make something with "fish sauce"

Here is a link that might be useful: banana boat

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 10:10AM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Tom

We should make the Hawaiian luau for the garden friends, with our banana leaves, we only need the pig and the pit! lol

Silvia

Here is a link that might be useful: Hawaiian Luau

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 12:56PM
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linchat(10b)

Read once in one of our local florida papers that cutting the flower off will produce larger bananas. I am not a banana expert or grower, heed the advice with caution! :)

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 1:08PM
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an_ill-mannered_ache

i've eaten the blossoms. they're ok, just a bit bitterer than i like things... and i like bitter things! you can use it just like cabbage, as noted.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 1:26PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

Thanks everyone, since the tree is already leaning I think it's time to lighten the load, not sure I'm gonna try eating the flower leaves though...wonder if I could wrap a pumpkin in them to improve the taste ;-)

Tom

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 7:00PM
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happy_fl_gardener

Tom --- The retired banana expert in the Tropical Fruit Club often says not to cut anything. That way there are no open cuts for fungus to get into the fruit stalk. That is quite an impressive bunch of bananas!!!!

Christine

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 8:40PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

Well Christine, that makes sense, and being right off the water I frequently have dew in the morning so I guess the flowers and babies just got a reprieve....

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 6:05PM
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happy_fl_gardener

The banana entomologist worked all of his working years in Central America in charge of the large plantations making sure that they were disease free. I went on a field trip to Panama with the Topical Fruit Club 10 years ago for a tour. One of our visits was to a banana plantation where we got to see how they grow, harvest and box the commercial bananas. Quite impressive.

Christine

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 9:37PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

That's sounds neat Christine, we have several friends that have moved to Panama, just might have to make a trip down there....

Tom

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 5:24PM
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