I only venture outdoors for about five minutes at a time these days because of the heat, but I do go out to get photos and check the vegetable garden.
Although the banana trees in the back corner of the yard were frozen this winter, they have come back and grown very tall. In fact, one of them recently put off a shoot of bananas!
I’ve had banana trees bear fruit before, but the bananas were never very good. Maybe we didn’t wait long enough to pick them. The only bananas I know about are the ones sitting on the grocery store end caps. So maybe it’s time to learn about those wild bunches of bananas.
How to Grow and Harvest Bananas – I Just Learned This!
All those little bumps along the stem above the bulb on the end (photo below) will become bananas! This plant is just getting started. The Dole video below mentions waiting 12-13 weeks after the bananas begin to grow before harvesting. They cut theirs while they are green.
As the bananas fill in along that stem, they will get heavy (60 plus pounds!) and some trees need propping up. I don’t think I will be able to do that. This tree, and other little ones around it, are in the bushes next to my yard and not in a “garden” area. This bunch of bananas is on a tree that must be 15 feet tall (photo above). Since I took this photo, the branch has elongated so more bananas can form along the stem.
First, I want to say that I did not plant those banana trees. The house behind mine has a big garden area and they do have banana plants in their yard. I’m guessing that the banana trees now growing on this side of their fence came from their yard. I have no idea what type of banana trees they are.
The University of Florida Gardening Solutions page says that because of sandy soil bananas need to be fertilized. No one has fertilized “my” banana trees.
Something I have learned is that once a tree produces bananas it is done. It will not produce any more. That is why bananas have off-shoots, or baby banana trees growing near the large one. The little ones will grow and do the same thing as the “mother” tree.
Growing Bananas Videos
In my search for growing bananas information I came across a couple of cool videos. The first one is nearly 30 minutes long and the grower is growing (and eating) “ice cream” bananas.
He makes a mistake by cutting of the 60 pound bunch of bananas thinking he can hold it in one hand – and drops it! Then, according to the comments below the video, he hangs the bunch the wrong way – I don’t know about that. Some viewers also left comments that cutting down the main tree is not necessary.
In the second video, which is about the Dole company and how they grow bananas, all the workers do is chop the leaves off the main plant and leave them on the ground to provide nutrients. They do not cut down the whole tree.
Dole company video – which I found to be interesting.
Potential Problems With Growing Bananas
A healthy banana tree can add interest to the yard, but when they turn brown, or begin to die and fall over, not so much.
Plant in an area where there is space for more “baby” plants to spring up. None of those banana trees in my photo were planted. They sprung up on their own.
The hurricanes – we’ve had two major ones come through within the two years I’ve lived in this house – the wind shredded the leaves of the trees to bits.
Then we had some very cold nights over the past winter which turned the trees brown.
Yet, here we are with very tall, lovely trees less than a year later, and one is growing bananas already. The trees bounce back quickly in this hot, tropical climate, but they can die way down.