Banana Spacing

Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady LakeOctober 28, 2013

I'm debating taking in some soon to be discarded banana plants, variety unknown. The RV park my mother works at has some plants that they have never bothered to protect. The way they see it, if the banana plants are protected during the winter months, then they're fairly unsightly and not much of a boon to their winter residents, the busiest time of year for them. Then again, neither are brown and frost burned leaves. So they are thinking of just digging them up and getting rid of them. Looking at my 'yard' there really aren't a whole lot of options for me to put a 'nana tree or two. And the 'nana trees will add a very tropical look to my otherwise sub-tropical, 'Florida' yard. One of the spots where I might be able to get away with planting some is in a corner where my lanai connects to my south-facing wall.

Basically right here, though it doesn't exactly look like this now.

So I'm thinking I might tuck them back near my rain barrel and flank it with them. As they grow, they will for a partial screen for the barrel. But I'm wondering about spacing how close can I tuck them toward the lanai and house walls and get away with it?

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Well they need lots of water and food. Their trunks can get up to 6" across they grow to over 10 foot tall, depending on varieties. They replace themselves by sending up new sprouts besides the parent plant and can spread out into a large area.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 4:34PM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

Yeah, the group they have has already pupped and I was thinking of digging up these, figuring they would be easier to transplant. However, I had completely forgotten about them being deep feeders. The water I could handle by directing the rain barrel's overflow to the trees. But the nutrient loading of the soil would be another issue. One of the big reasons I have a 'Florida' yard is the nature of my soil. I'm on a 'extremely well draining' sandhill, so fertilizers (except slow-release) just go straight through. Most of the plants I have are happy with the yard as it is. Bananas would be a different issue. Thanks for the reminder, I would have hated to remember this after I had acquired the plants and then felt obligated to take care of them!

'Nanas are out.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 9:26PM
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keiki(10 FL)

I see you are already thinking you don't want them but let me share with you my experience before you completly rule them out. I started my edible growing with bananas. They are easy and very rewarding and got me hooked on growing my own food. When you first plant them you should ammend the soil with some compost or cow manure this will give them a good start. Now I always tell people to feed bananas as if they are teenagers (always hungry) but it is an easy feed. They like anything, really anything makes them happy. When you mow your grass throwing the clippings on them will make them happy. If you have table scraps you can dig that in once in a while or a couple times of year put some black cow and a layer or mulch on them. I understand your soil issues, I live in Cape Coral which used to be a swamp they dug out canals and the "dirt" became our yards. Nothing but sand, and rock here. Bananas are simple to grow and fruit. The hardest part is keeping them pretty, triming the leaves and such.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 9:54AM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

Question in regards to the feeding:

Is this in regards to organic material or nitrogen? I ask because as the above picture shows, this area has mimosa spreading through it, much more-so now than when the picture was taken. If the feeding is nitrogen-based, the mimosa might actually help me in this area as it is supposed to be a nitrogen fixer. If the feeding is organic material, this might be doable too. I mulch-mow, but I know a few people on my block who are always piling up cuttings for pick-up.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 2:07PM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

Well, here is the beginning of my Tropical Corner. I got four banana pups from the park, one more than I had originally intended. I flanked my 'path' to the rainbarrel with them, two on each side (one of the left side banana's is off-camera). On each side the pair is planted a little over 3' from each other so they should have plenty of room, individually. I mixed a lot of compost from my bin into the soil around each tree and added some other organic matter to the soil (yellowing leaves from the banana trees themselves and leaves from my elephant earts), but I didn't stop there. I took advantage of my 'last mowing of the season' to gather up all the clippings. There is about 3 inches of grass under that layer of pine bark with a layer of newspaper between the bark and grass to smother out/inhibit any seeds. Come next spring when I start adding other tropicals (Bird of Paradise, Gingers, Crotons) the soil should be nice and ready for them. I'm going to use Firespike which I have planted in my 'shrub bed' to transition into and out of this tropical corner.

Still not sure on the variety of banana tree. Of all the ones at the park, none are over 5' tall, but as I said, they have never protected their plants during the winter. I'm hoping these get taller than that so I can underplant them with the more shade-loving tropicals that otherwise would die in my super-sunny yard.

All I need to do now is put down some paving stones to the rainbarrel as the mulch tends to really stick to the bottoms of my shoes when wet. And then it's just wait until spring.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 12:32PM
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I think that area will turn out so nice. I can already see the bananas filling out the area and making it look quite tropical.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 7:37PM
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keiki(10 FL)

It looks very nice. I hope they fruit for you next fall.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 9:31AM
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