Seed from bought bananas

thorndncrApril 17, 2007

Hi there,

I garden on a college budget and am experimenting with saving produce seeds. Has anyone tried growing banana seeds? Not expecting any fruit, particularly in my four-season climate (though we seem to be having monsoons lately!), but simply as a houseplant. I've dug the seeds from a yellow-ripe banana and placed them between layers of tissue to dry, which seems to be the standard operating procedure for many seed types, but I'd love to hear any advice you might have. Thanks! :)

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maineman(z5a ME)


I don't think store-bought bananas have viable seed.


    Bookmark   April 28, 2007 at 1:50AM
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ara133(central PA)

Hi! I agree with MM, I don't think the seeds from grocery store bananas are viable. Pretty sure about that - I did a little bit of reading and all the sources I've found concur. However, there are TONS of other plants you can grow from fruit/vegs at the store... just not banana :) If you need any ideas let me know - I've acquired most of my plants from grocery store fruit seeds!
Have a nice afternoon!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2007 at 4:45PM
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a - I would love to hear what you have grown from grocery store fruits and veggies. That is so interesting! I am so new to all this!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2007 at 8:04AM
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maineman(z5a ME)

I'm not certain of this, but I think there may be some risk of introducing genetically modified strains into your garden by planting seeds from grocery store fruits and veggies. Some rather interesting genetic engineering methods have been used to produce some commercial tomato varieties. I think I even heard that they introduced DNA from the animal kingdom into some tomatoes. It's a brave new world.

Also, grocery store strains have been bred more for ease of harvest, shipping, keeping, and appearance than for flavor or nutrition. And they aren't necessarily suited for growth in your climate.

However, if you want to experiment with seeds from grocery store produce, feel free, and if you get any interesting results, let us know.


    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 1:24AM
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ara133(central PA)

Hi beckilove, I grow all of my 'grocery store' fruits and vegs as houseplants more for entertainment than as viable garden plants. With that disclaimer, here are some suggestions that have worked well in the past for me (and of course there are probably various ways to propagate them, esp. with things like pineapples, but here's what I do) :)

Oh - a quick note - I usually use a 'baggie method' for sprouting - germinate using wet paper towel inside a ziplock baggie (I set that on a plant heating pad but not necessary). I plant the seeds, tiny root down of course, in peat or peat/sand as soon as the little root starts to poke out - otherwise can be difficult to remove from the towel!

1) Pineapples - cut off top stem (no fruit left), pick off about 1/4" of leaves from the bottom, let it sit on the counter for a few hrs to a day, and place in glass of water to root - sometimes you'll see little roots already started under the picked off leaves.

2) avocado - so common, sure you're familiar with doing this, but it's fun anyway :) take out seed, poke three toothpicks in side to hang over a glass of water so that 1/2 the seed is in the water (or poke seed with toothpicks, remove them, and place it in moist potting medium - I found if you don't poke the seed it doesn't sprout, but that could be my impatience!)

3) passion fruit: remove seeds, wash off arils by scrubbing them against a fine mesh metal strainer, plant right away (I sprout on wet paper towels in baggies). These can be difficult but worth it!

4) guava - wash seeds, baggie method.
5) pomegranate - very cute plants! - chew up arils (YUM), use baggie method.

6) apples - I've had a lot of luck with seeds that have already sprouted IN the apple when I open it :) If seeds haven't sprouted, dry them off, stick in fridge for at least a month, then sprout in peat to hopefully avoid damping off.

7) melons - very easy, baggie method.

8) citrus - remove seeds, I usually let them dry out first, then baggie method.

9) loquat - has been ages since I did this one, but I think i just remoevd seeds - baggie method as usual.

10) sweet potato - plant pieces of the potato! Pretty leaves. Or suspend potato (similar to avocado seed) in half full glass of water.

11) peppers, tomatoes - dry seeds, then use baggie method.

12) prickly pears - buy one of the pinkish fruits at the store, remove seeds, germinate using baggie method or peat - these are susceptible to damping off... I usu. use peat.

13) litchi - I can't tell you how many times I've tried to sprout a litchi. Never worked! They say it has to be really really fresh... a challence! :)

14) mints - once you're done with the leaves, root the bare stems in a glass of water!

15) frozen blueberries and cranberries - I've ground these up in a blender (or just smush the fruit to get at the seeds), rub them against the wire mesh colander/strainer thingy, then germinate them on peat (so small, would be hard to use baggie method). It takes a LOOOOONNNNNG time for them to germinate, even over a heating pad. But at least the stratification period is already done for you by buying frozen fruit! :)

16) tamarind - these make the most gorgeous little trees! buy some fresh tamarind pods (maybe the packaged and/or froz. would work too, don't know), pick away the edible pulp, scarify/nick the seeds, soak for a few hrs, and use baggie method.

Others I have not tried but have heard success stories for: kiwi, cucurbits (melons as mentioned above, also cucumbers, squashes, etc), mango (be careful handling - i'm allergic - it's related to poison ivy & cashew and the skin can cause reactions in sensitive people), starfruit, raspberries, ginger (mine always rots), grape, cherries, pears... fresh shelled nuts (may need a cold period for those first), sugar cane (I could never get the eyes to sprout but should work), things with pits (peaches, apricots... these never work for me but might for you!).. that's all I can think of right now!! :)

Now going to the grocery store is like a seed-finding challenge for me!

There's a fantastic book on this, which is actually what got me started. It's called The After-Dinner Gardening Book, by Richard W. Langer, pub. the Macmillan Company, 1969; mine doesn't have an isbn, but Amazon has quite a few copies which you can find just using the title. Good luck!!! I'd be interested in hearing what you try and what works/doesn't work :)

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 11:07PM
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Thank you for that fantastic information, ara133! I will have to try some of those! It sounds like a fun challenge! I will definitely have to check out that book!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 6:53AM
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For peaches and apricots I just throw seeds into the flower beds the fall before and they generally will grow several trees by spring :D Simple, lol, but works good. Plums work good this way too.
I generally get mine from fruit given to me that I particularly enjoyed instead of the store though. Should try it with cherries :D

    Bookmark   May 13, 2007 at 10:46PM
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ara133(central PA)

I've just found out you can also grow rice from the store! At least, the brown long grain and brown jasmine rice I recently got at the natural food store worked. I used a super soggy paper towel/baggie method.

susaninthegarden, that is great about the peaches/apricots/plums - I've never gotten a pit fruit to work, but I've never actually tried them outside (am in an apt.!)! Seems like they would make really cute little trees (bonsai!?!)!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 9:07AM
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ok, yes you can! i have done it, so far we have a total of 4 leaves. and they are decent sized. here's the link thing.
click on medontdo and then scroll down.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2007 at 5:51PM
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If you don't have much luck propagating those banana seeds, you can go to the webpage below and pick up a few varieties of banana seeds.

They have a banana kit which comes with ten varieties of banana. All seeds are from bananas indineous to Brasil and a few other places in South America. I hope you will give this page a cursory glance and decide for yourself. Take care.


Here is a link that might be useful: Gud Seeds - Banana Seeds

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 3:21AM
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Is there any particular thing that must be done to citrus seeds that would help them along? I've tried the wet napkin, I've even resorted to leaving them in standing water and yet, nothing.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 6:53PM
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ibartoo(z8 sc)

for citrus seeds, I soak them over night in either warm water or orange juice. I have never had a problem getting them to germinate.

Does anyone have hints about mangoes, I haven't been successful there yet.
Thanks, Linda

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 2:18PM
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For citrus seeds I always peel them...take the outer coating off and they germinate just fine...really fast too...

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 1:43AM
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Ibartoo, the shell needs to be removed from the Mango and placed about half way into the soil then kept watered, not all will sprout. It will work much better if the shell has started to split and the seed has a small root started. Take a knife and feel along the edge of the more rounded side to find the gap where you can spit the shell off the seed. Do not expect to get any good fruit. From what I have read they say it will be sour and bitter. I have a tree growing in my backyard, but it has frozen twice all the way to the ground here in the Houston area. The root stock has to be at least 8 years old but still has never even bloomed let alone put on any fruit. But my wife loves the tree so I have never cut it down so far.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 9:20AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

medontdo - I can't see your picture. I just get the Photobucket login page. You can either copy the html code for your picture and paste it into your message or you can upload a single picture straight from your computer by using the Choose File button above.

Linda - I just stuck a mango stone into a pot of sowing medium, put a plastic bag over the top and kept it warm. It came up after a few weeks. Same with lychees. Dates are quite easy - they come up in the compost heap outside sometimes but always die in the winter.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 1:27PM
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I am certain, you cannot grow the seeds from a super market banana. True banana seeds are the size of peas and take up the majority of the inside of the fruit. What you buy in the supermarket are sterile hybrids that are effectively seedless. They are intentionally grown this way so that there is enough flesh in the banana for you to eat, natural wild bananas with their huge stony seeds just aren't worth the effort if you have other food sources available.

I will add this to the list of supermarket seeds, pretty much any raw dried bean will sprout if you soak it first. Kidney beans, black eyed peas, even lentils will all sprout and grow just fine.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 1:03PM
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