Is it possible to grow a banana tree indoors?

tbalenoMarch 3, 2008

Anyone done it? I have about an 8 foot celing and a 1000W light fixture. Temperatures range between 58 and 80F. I want to grow a tree that can grow fruit.

Will this be possible or should I give up and get more realistic and stick to smaller vegetables?

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iliketoast

Hydroponically? I've no idea about that. But I saw a restaurant in New Orleans (pre-storm) that was growing full sized 15' tall banana plants in tubs that must have been 3' wide. I bet it would work if you feed the cr@p out of them.

You should have no problem other than it takes forever + a day for bananas to get around to fruiting. It just doesn't seem like a good candidate for hydroponics. Like celery, it just takes too long.

That said, did you know that there is a company in Florida planning to set up a plantation of banana plants, all grown hydroponically? I'd give you the link, but my source(I call her 'mom') hasn't supplied one yet.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 1:32AM
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ohiojay(z6 OH)

A local hydro store has a large banana growing in a tub with a drip ring I believe. It looks quite healthy. There are many many varieties out there. I would definitely look for one that is a dwarf. Forget the superdwarf cavendish unless you find one from a very reputable source. Look for something else guaranteed to fruit and to fruit small. I have a dwarf cavendish and it is already 13' in the greenhouse. So someone's idea of a dwarf is another person's gigantic plant!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 7:12AM
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ohiojay(z6 OH)

Just to give you an idea of what a few "dwarf" variety bananas can do, here is a pic of dwarf Namwah's on the left and a dwarf cavendish on the right. We just finished eating the bananas from one of the namwahs and have since cut the plant down. These are planted directly in the ground in the greenhouse. A large tub will increase the height more. Don't be discouraged. I think anyone should try to grow whatever they want. You never know until you experiment and try it. Just research the varieties.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 7:31AM
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grizzman

I saw a hydro store in Raleigh, NC growing a banana tree once. it was grown using DWC in a 45 gallon trashcan. it was probably 8' tall above the can. the owner said they were going to have to cut it down as they hadn't included a drain system and thus couldn't drain off the old nutrient. they could only add to it. It seems like there's a lesson there somewhere.
I say, if you've got the space, go for it.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 8:34AM
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wordwiz

Resurrecting an old thread!

I just ordered a Dwarf Cavendish which I am going to try to grow in a 5 gallon bucket using DWC and my 125 watt LED panel.

I've bought other stuff from the guy who sells the plants and trust him. He recommended the DC based on me wanting edible fruit whose plants would not get more than about 7' tall and be grown indoors.

Mike

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 3:31PM
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karenrei

I have a dwarf cavendish as well. It's in a (15?)-gal pot. It grows indoors during the winter and outdoors during the rest of the year (zone 4b/5a boundary). It's going great, although it's not big enough yet for fruiting (we got it last fall, and it's not going to make it to fruiting size outdoors this year, sadly -- it's only up to about five feet). This spring, I added to my collection an Ice Cream and a Rajapuri, which will ultimately be a gift for family members further south.

If you move them in and out depending on the weather, your cutoff should be the daily lows, not the highs. I generally use a cutoff of 10C (50F) for my tropicals -- it has to be consistently above that in the spring before they can go out, and as soon as it's forecast to go below that, they go inside. If you do move a plant outside, harden it first; like most plants, bananas are sensitive to burning if you don't acclimatize them.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 7:22PM
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georgeiii

I have aother "extreme" gardening idea that might be fun for you to try. First some background. I start buying banana seeds now during September using 18 months as the leafing period. April is when I transfer over to a five gallon buckets. Just single buckets. Now here's where things get interesting. The mix during this time is half my regular mix with half manure. I use a liquid fertilizer high in "P" and "K" once every two weeks. I let the plant grow right untill night time temps reach 45. I bring them in and slow down their watering to about half. Keeping the room temps about 50. Here's where it gets interesting. I take a two headed portable propane heater. The kind that sits on top of a five gallon tank. I raise it's height to about four feet the banana's base. Around January I move all the bananas in front of the heater about five or six the heat will dry the tops of the plants feet away. Keep them in the same place for about a month. them move them from the heat. Arounf the end of May I usually take mine out then. I transfer them to SWC's about June you'll see the plant start to flower. Burning the top off reduces the size and add reidue onto the stems that mix with the plants own chemicals to force fruiting. I've used this on several types of banana's but the Chinese Banana's work best so far that's just because of their height. Using this method you can keep the plants height to under five feet. Even the flowering stem stays short.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 2:50AM
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karenrei

Banana *seeds*? Modern banana cultivars are seedless and grown from pups. What kind of bananas are you trying to grow?

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 11:28AM
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georgeiii

There are companies that sell seeds for all banana trees. The moderators inform me I'm not to mention other companies so you have to look it up your self. It's easy enough.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 6:09PM
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wordwiz

There are lots of companies that sell banana seeds. And AFAIK, there is nothing wrong with listing purveyors as long as it is not self-promotional. I've seen rareseeds.com mentioned dozens of times for veggie seeds.

But for those who have not tried growing banana plants from seeds - those things are extremely hard to germinate.

Mike

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 7:18PM
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georgeiii

I haven't found them hard to germinate but low germination numbers. Most are in the thirty percent range. And...this is the best part. In a year you can have five pups. Also the fruit from these will have seeds too. Problem tho is their very seedy.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 10:34PM
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wordwiz

My plant finally arrived - it is about 18" tall with good leaves and a nice (at least without shaking off all the potting mix) root ball. Once I get the dirt washed off, I hope to stick start growing it.

Pics will ensue!

Mike

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 4:31PM
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wordwiz

Come Tuesday, it will be three weeks since it was transplanted into the DWC and put under the LED. Since then, it has added two full leaves and another one is starting to unwrap today. I've never tried a Dwarf Cavendish before but this plant could have 40 leaves and not be over 4' tall - there is practically no space between the nodes. That is probably due to a combo of the LED and using flowering/fruiting nuits rather than one meant to aid vegetative growth (not as much nitrogen).

Mike

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 2:02PM
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wordwiz

Come Tuesday, it will be three weeks since it was transplanted into the DWC and put under the LED. Since then, it has added two full leaves and another one is starting to unwrap today. I've never tried a Dwarf Cavendish before but this plant could have 40 leaves and not be over 4' tall - there is practically no space between the nodes. That is probably due to a combo of the LED and using flowering/fruiting nuits rather than one meant to aid vegetative growth (not as much nitrogen).

Mike

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 9:19PM
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tbaleno

I don't think it has anything to do with the LEDs and nutrients. From what I've seen that is its nature. Every super dwarf Cavendish seems to grow that way. You probably have super dwarf cavendish.

BTW, I transplanted a pup and it died all the way back. I now see one leaf starting to grow out the center. I'm doing a timelapse of the plant as it grows.

The parent plant is about 2 or 3 feet tall with a ton of leaves. Not sure how close to flowering it is though. Its now 7 months old.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 9:57PM
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tigerhydro

I've actually seen one at a local hydroponic retail store. It looks pretty nice, But I think it kind of takes a lot of effort to get it started no? I can be wrong, but oh wells this is just my opinion.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 1:30AM
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wordwiz

tiger,

I bought the plant and unwrapping the box it was in was the hardest part. Washed the roots off, cut a whole in the bottom of a 5" net pot, dropped the plant part of the way through it, filled the pot up with lava rocks and set in the bucket of water.

Mike

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 10:18AM
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tigerhydro

@Wordwiz Well I guess it doesn't sound so bad. I think I will give it a try. If you don't mind me asking how much did you get the plant for? and do you know how big these grow out to be? thanks!!

- TigerHydro

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 12:29PM
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wordwiz

Tiger,

I got it from greenhousebusiness.com. It was about $12.00 - not the cheapest place but I've done quite a bit of business with the owner. The Dwarf Cavendish is suppose to be the favorite for greenhouse growers and gets 6-8' tall.

Mike

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 1:46PM
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