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Newbie with banana trees

Posted by Edward23 10 (My Page) on
Sat, Aug 6, 05 at 22:36

I bought a house that has a few banana trees in the backyard. The previous owner said they need no maintanence and will produce bananas. Right now, they are on a sprinkler system and get watered for 10 minutes every morning. They do produce bananas but the bananas never seem to reach full size then just seem to "die" out. I'm providing links to pics of my trees and bananas in the hopes that someone will be able to tell me what type I have and how to take care of it. Also, when harvesting bananas, do I cut down the entire "stalk"? That would also take down the "bud" like flower (which attracts lots of wasps so it's no bid deal if I have to).

Thanks everyone.

Here are the links, btw:

http://www.concrete-jungle.net/files/dscf0011.jpg
http://www.concrete-jungle.net/files/dscf0012.jpg
http://www.concrete-jungle.net/files/dscf0016.jpg


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Newbie with banana trees

Do you feed the bananas at all? Also, what is your soil condition where the bananas are planted? As for cutting down the stalks, banana plants produce 2 types of flowers. Male and female. Once the female flowers have established bananas, most people then cut the male flowers off.


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RE: Newbie with banana trees

All I give them is water from a sprinkler system every morning. Again, I'm very new to all of this...so in terms of soil condition...I wouldn't know how to describe it. I would say that it's usually dry and pretty packed. I do have lots of other flora around the banana trees that seem to do well.

How do I tell the difference in the flower gender?


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RE: Newbie with banana trees

Female flowers are what you see bloom first. Then as the flower gets larger, the male flowers will bloom at the bottom of the flower bunch. Try giving your bananas some fertilizer and see if that helps.


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RE: Newbie with banana trees

How often should I use fertilizer? Is it a one time thing or once a week...?

Also, at the risk of sounding stupid...I just want to clarify about the flower genders. Is what is on my pic (dscf0012.jpg) a female flower? Then, once bananas form on the "stalk", does it "turn into" a male flower. When you say flower bunch, do you mean the bananas? Because what is hanging at the end of the "stalk" is a big purple, bulbish plant that attracts wasps. Is that the male plant that I can cut completely off without hurting anything.

Thanks for all your help, btw...

Ed


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RE: Newbie with banana trees

That flower part that you see hanging from the banana tree is actually called the inflorescence. This is the part that will produce bananas. After harvesting bananas, the banana plant will die. When it starts dying, cut it down. The root bulb, also known as the corm will still be alive. You should have some smaller bananas growing out of the same corm. Those will get bigger and give you more bananas. A lot of people cut off the male flower part. But for you, it wouldn't hurt to leave it on. As for fertilizing,

Here's more on the subject.

Growing bananas
properly speaking, banana culture is annual, since the whole stem is cut down during harvest; but its reproductive cycle is perennial since it grows back from suckers and begins a new cycle
Vocabulary

plantation = a banana orchard
a hand = the name given to each group of fruit that develops from female flowers, growing in a row and consisting of 10 to 25 bananas
a bunch = a complete bunch is made up of numerous hands; it can contain from 200 to 300 bananas and may weigh 30 kg
The true stem of the banana tree is underground and is called a bulb or rhizome; it only just shows on the surface until the flowering time. It is from this apical part of the bulb (the apical meristem) that the leaves emerge, and later, the flowers. Every leaf has a very developed basal section (the boot) which narrows into a sturdy petiole that extends into a central rib from which the leaf blade extends on both sides. The stem of the banana tree, (or "false trunk" since it is not a true trunk) is created by the strong interweaving of the leaf sheaths, which are kept stiff by the presence of long fibres and by the turgor of the tissue.

The new leaves emerge from the tip or apex of the bulb and progress inside the stem or false trunk before appearing in the centre of the leafy crown. When it comes out, the young leaf is rolled up like a cigar and will not begin to unfurl until it is has emerged entirely.

After producing a certain number of leaves (about 30 for cultivated varieties) that are 60 cm wide and about 3 m long, the role of the apical meristem becomes one of flower induction. The stem becomes a flower stalk and begins to grow in the centre of the false trunk with the inflorescence developing at its end, becoming bigger and finally emerging at the top of the plant.

In most varieties with edible fruit, the inflorescence bends towards the ground and the bud or shoot hangs vertically. The shoot is made up of purplish spathes and at the axil of each of these spathes is found a group of flowers arranged in two tight rows. As the bud continues to grow, the spathes rise up and usually fall, producing flowers that bend downward obliquely. The first groups are female flowers, since the female organs (ovary, style and stigma) are proportionally better developed than the male organs (stamen). Then quite abruptly, after producing a certain number of female flowers, the floral stem will bear nothing more than some flowers with reduced ovaries, called male flowers, that degenerate rapidly.

The fruit
While the bud continues to grow, the styles and stigmas of the female flowers dry up while the ovary develops and becomes a fruit or "finger," bending upwards to seek out more light. The bunch begins to take on a definite shape, made up of a certain number of "hands," the name given to each group of fruit produced by the female flowers.

Culture
After the production and harvest of the bunches, the plant does not die; one or more suckers then takes up the challenge and begins a new cycle. The perennial nature of the banana tree is thus ensured by this mode of vegetative reproduction.

Harvest
The banana harvest takes place by cutting down the whole bunch of bananas with a machete before they are fully ripe.


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RE: Newbie with banana trees

We have these same banana trees in our backyard. How do you know when they are ripe for picking? Do you just cut the entire stalk off all at once?


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RE: Newbie with banana trees

Gardenguy, some great info there! Thanks for posting! But was there supposed to be more to this sentence:
"As for fertilizing, " ? I was wanting to read about the fertilizing too.. heehee!


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RE: Newbie with banana trees

coniferfreak, sorry about that! LOL, just looking at the date on that post, it was almost 3 years ago. Sorry, I must have forgot about that. As for fertilizing, I've used Osmocote fertilizer once a month and every week I'll use liquid miracle grow diluted in some water. You can find these 2 fertilizers in stores like Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot or any hardware store or nurseries.


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RE: Newbie with banana trees

I have been given three banana plants that are growing like wild. They are huge and about 10 ft tall. One just keeps making new leaves, and has smaller trees now growing at the bottom, form the roots. I am wondering if I can keep these growing here in Missouri. I want to know if these are all female plants. I am very new to this and can use all the help that I can get. I suspect that I don't have a male plant here. I am open to suggestions. Thanks a million! Betty in Southeast MO.


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RE: Newbie with banana trees

Betty, bananas are neither dominately male or female. Banana plants flower after a certain period of time. When the flower bud emerges, the female flowers will come form the fruit, which is the banana fruit. Then after a very short time, a tube like structure will grow down and the male flowers will form. These flowers are infertile and will not produce bananas. Many people cut this lower part of the flower stem off so that the plants energy is focused at the female flowers and newly emerging bananas. Here is a link below of the banana flower. Note the bananas at top which formed from the female flowers and below, the male flower pod, which can be removed.

http://www.owlnet.rice.edu/~lmann/CIMG0601.JPG


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RE: Newbie with banana trees

gardenguy, are the bananas in your pic ready to harvest? I am trying to figure out when to actually remove my bananas from the tree. Also, do you remove the entire stalk all at once? Thanks for any help.


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RE: Newbie with banana trees

Gardenguy, That looks just like my tree (plant...). Actually, today I took a knife and removed my bananas to bring inside. From the pic, it looks like I got about another hand or so of fruit than yours - but the color and structure of the plant looks identical. What type of banana is yours? I'm in Cape Coral, Florida.


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banana tree seeds

Hi,
This is a bit of a long shot but I too live in Missouri and I have wanted some banana trees for a long time.
My husbend and I finally own our own house and can plant a garden.
We love tropical plants like bamboo and banana trees and I was wondering if anyone would be willing to share with a fellow plant lover. With children and hard times there is always somthing more important taking up our funds. I would be very greatful to you!
Sincerely ,Julie


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growth worsens each year

I have been growing banana tree for 17 yrs. They were 15' or more, produced bananas. 6 years ago I moved into a new house,in the same area, & transplanted the bulbs. For the last 6 springs, they have grown, but became shorter each yr. They now are only 3'high. Also I have gone from having 20 plants, to 4. What do you think is happening here? I have been doing the same thing for the plants for years.

Baffled in coastal NC


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RE: Newbie with banana trees

We bought a house in Atlanta that has a bunch of these plants in the backyard and we love them. Do we need to do anything to them for the winter? Now that we've gotten chilly temps they are all dying.


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RE: Newbie with banana trees

To Wendie,
It's possible, depending on how close you are to the coast, that your move took your bananas from the perfect eco-niche to land with more salt in the soil, perhaps. Another variable is how quickly water drains from your soil. If the soil is too sandy and your bananas are too dry, no wonder they're smaller and your "herd" has been reduced to 4.
Check your soils Ph levels.
Also, have you checked in with your county extension agent for advice?

Helga


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RE: Newbie with banana trees

To Wendie,
It's possible, depending on how close you are to the coast, that your move took your bananas from the perfect eco-niche to land with more salt in the soil, perhaps. Another variable is how quickly water drains from your soil. If the soil is too sandy and your bananas are too dry, no wonder they're smaller and your "herd" has been reduced to 4.
Check your soils Ph levels.
Also, have you checked in with your county extension agent for advice?

Helga


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