Bananas in southern CA desert??

Wyld_Freatures(SE CA, z9)September 14, 2005

I would love to have a Tiki lounge feel to my back yard. (Currently it is lots of sandy soil, cement, odd 10x10 sguare pad in the middle of the yard, and crab grass.)

I would like tropical type plants with lots of big shady leaves. I was thinking, bananas, the lower growing date palm (the kind that only gets to like 10 ft.) maybe a rubber tree. Also I saw an old movie where there was a tree with branches that grew at odd angles with tufts of leaves, in the movie they called it a "monkey puzzle tree" I loved it does anyone know what it was? Also are there dwarf avocados or macadamia nut trees? If not could you control the growth of something like that, by topping etc? We have dogs who would love the shade. I would love the fruit/ nuts. Love Wyld

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dirt_dew(z9 az)

I have bananas in Phoenix. They should do even better where you are.
Watch for them in yards in your area. I would expect to see many there in the valley.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2005 at 10:45PM
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degeester(So Cal)

Yes, In your region, go to the Sheriff's Office on Applestill out in front they have a couple of banana trees. I remember a few years ago seeing fruit on the trees.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2005 at 11:29AM
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sonotaps(Sunset Z13, Phx)

Ditto on bananas in Phoenix. I think they might do a little better here because of the monsoon we get (more humidity). If you are close to the Ag areas in Imperial Valley (next to an irrigated field) it might provide more ambient humidity though.

Bananas are easy and fast growers. I don't get too cold where I am in Phoenix. I have 9 banana 'trees' growing outside.

Plant them and good luck!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 9:40PM
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dirt_dew(z9 az)

~~~~~~ HAPPY BIRTHDAY~~~~~~~~
Imperial Valley normally has noticibly milder temperatures and higher humidity than Phoenix. This is favorable to banana plants.
This past winter and summer I have had 17°F to 116°F. I have a clump with 4 of the stems fruiting right now.
Happy gardening!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2005 at 7:11PM
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sonotaps(Sunset Z13, Phx)

Holy-cow, you must be in a REALLY cold spot/low area or something.

Curious, what part of town do you live in? I'm at the 51/101 loop freeway in NE Phoenix.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 5:23PM
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Wyld_Freatures(SE CA, z9)

I live in the Imperial Valley, just west of CA / AZ border. About 60 minutes from Yuma, and about 15 minutes north of the Mexico border. Our average low is 41, the record is 21, and our record high is 121. I don't live particularly close to any major fields, although a relatively large cannal runs about 1/2 mile from our house. Would it be possible to provide humidity by placing a bucket of water under the tree? Or should I plant it in a pot, so I can fill the water catch with water?
Thanks, Wyld
and thanks for the birthday wishes.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 7:00PM
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dirt_dew(z9 az)

I am near Metro Center, at the low of the Cave Creek flood plain. The micro climate of the back yard (north) gets much colder than the front yard (south). The front yard gets warmth from the street and sidewalk all night, then gets the first sunshine from the south. The back yard is colder near the unpaved alley in the shade all morning.

You are welcome.
My parents moved to the town of Imperial, then to El Centro where they lived for many years. Your banana(s) will do much better in the ground, if that is practical. Give them lots of water in the root zone. Do not worry about the humidity. They will thrive! You will be watching the new leaves come out and unfurl. Enjoy it.
FYI - Growing banana plants is addictive! :=)

    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 12:58AM
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sonotaps(Sunset Z13, Phx)

Dirt Dew-

Interesting. Microclimates are amazing things. Remarkable what I have seen on my small (7,300 sf) suburban lot in terms of temp. difference.


I didn't mean to scare you: They will do great there as long as you keep up on water. Dirt Dew is right! By all means, grow them in the ground! Our monsoon season just brings in more humidity to make it a little easier on us but that is just my opinion. It is amazing how things grow so fast when we get that humidity here for a couple months. Just fertilize often when actively growing and give them lots of water in summer. I built a raised bed for mine to help drainage. In winter, keep them on the dry side (not actively growing) to avoid any root rot.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 12:43PM
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dirt_dew(z9 az)

The North American Monsoon is not exclusive to Arizona. It affects Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas plus Mexico.
Imperial Valley is a large agricultural area watered by an extensive canal system. They are north of the Sea of Cortez. The New River flows year round into the Salton Sea, a huge body of water. They are not far from the Colorado River. The All American Canal flows from the Colorado River to the California coast. The Imperial Valley is at sea level. The large sugar plant in the town of Imperial has a pole that is marked to show how far BELOW sea level that spot is. Holly Sugar built the plant to process the sugar beets grown locally.
They ALSO get more humidity in the summer wet season.
Pomegranites would grow well there.
Whatever you grow, have fun!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2005 at 1:13AM
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sonotaps(Sunset Z13, Phx)


I am well aware of the 'seasonal shift in wind patterns'. Obviously, southeastern Arizona gets much more moisture in monsoon season and as you go west it diminishes into a more winter moisture pattern. That is why our native saguaro is pretty much repeled once you get into California (an artificial border of course) due to reduced rainfall by the time you get to the Colorado River Valley.

I'm from California (OC) originally, and have driven through the Imperial Valley about 1 billion times. I'm very familiar with it's location, etc.

I wasn't trying to start some massive debate with you or anything like that, but rainfall figures don't lie. That is my only point I am making.

More rainfall in summer when tropicals are actively growing, is generally a good thing in the desert. With irrigation, you can grow anything (just about) and the Imperial Valley is Ag-Central around here. There is no disputing that.



I mean, look at the rainfall figures in the summer months. That's all I am saying.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2005 at 10:39AM
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dirt_dew(z9 az)

My mistake and I apologize. I thought we were talking about the % of relative humidity in the air, not the rainfall.
I did not get ¼" of rain for July, August, and September combined this year. My bananas depend on the hose to water the soil. I am not debating, just speaking from my own experience. I leave in peace.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2005 at 2:41PM
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Wyld_Freatures(SE CA, z9)

Boys ... Boys..
I didn't expect my little old questions to start such a war. Why Thank you I am flattered. (in my best southern Belle drawl)
No seriously nobody knows better than I that the average rainfall of the Imperial Valley is next to nothing. This year we had a couple of weeks of actual monsoons, however in years past a passing storm and about five minutes of rain that evaporated when it hit the ground was about all we have had.
So I have learned. Yes Bananas will grow here. They would like raised beds to improve drainage. Don't water toooo much in the winter. They should do fine. Thank you
Now watch for other great debate questions to come soon.

One more question, when is the best time to plant them, around now so they will have the non growing season to adjust, or the end of spring in about five months, going into the growing season?
Okay Two...
What other tropical trees/plants would grow well here? I am thinking about an avacado tree, and orange tree, adn some lush greenery across the back fence? Hints on the lush greenery....?
Thanks Guys

    Bookmark   October 31, 2005 at 4:55PM
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sonotaps(Sunset Z13, Phx)

Monsoon article:

Enough of that. By definition, the seasonal shift in wind brings moisture (humidity/higher dew points) to our area which in turn provides the opportunity for heat-of-the-day thunderstorms.

OK, tropicals to grow. Click on my ID name to see what I am growing here.

We may have another 1 month of banana growing weather. Either plant them immediately or wait until March when the soil warms up (although in a raised bed that will occur much sooner).

I am growing Bananas, Avocados (4 trees), mangos, guavas, pineapples, apples, white sapote, Key Lime, Grapefruit, Tarocco Blood Orange, papaya, passionfruit vine, etc in Phoenix.

They grow Keitt mangos commercially in Coachella (low desert near Indio/Palm Springs) and sell them in stores. I've eaten one and they taste great.

Avocados are very tricky because they are sensitive to salt and sunburn easily on the branches until they grow up enough where the leaves shade the stems. Drainage is key and mulch is very important too. They will need sunshade the first year and eastern exposure with west-sun shade is better. I don't agree 100% with this info but it's pretty good (forget the rocks for drainage part). My trees began on a raised bed and then I broke it down so they are on a mound for better drainage.

I grow palms including Royal Palms (take full sun), Foxtail palms, Dypsis Lutescens, dypsis baronii, ravenea glauca, etc.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2005 at 5:26PM
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Any body successfully growing mangos in lake Elsinore California

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 6:45PM
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