The Banana Tree Thread

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fabindia
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The Banana Tree Thread

Post by fabindia »

We have a number of banana trees in our garden, all of which I suspect are passed their best.

As you are probably aware, many species of banana are sterile hybrids. For example, the bananas we get in UK are all of the Cavendish variety, named after William Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire and propagated by his head gardener in the glass houses of Chatsworth House. It would seem that once a stem (they are not really trees - they are herbaceous flowering plant) has flowered and borne fruit, they won't fruit again. What they do though is throw up offshoots, called banana 'pups' You cut these off and replant and you have a new banana plant, that hopefully will flower and bear fruit :-D

I have already replanted a few 'pups' and will keep track of their development with this thread.

Here are the first few pictures:

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The current, rather past it, banana trees

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A 'pup' still attached to its parent plant

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This is the 'pup' whose progress we'll follow over the next few months. The trowel gives an idea of big it is.
Michael
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lancashire lass
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Re: The Banana Tree Thread

Post by lancashire lass »

when we lived in South Africa, we had 3 banana trees in our garden - they didn't grow much bigger than 3 feet tall (possibly because of the soil and lack of proper gardening knowledge) A friend had given them to us as small plants (or "pups" as you say) and we had them a number of years and none fruited ... until my dad handed in his 3 month notice ... My mother took a machete and wacked all 3 with the flat side of the blade and told them that if they didn't produce any fruit before we left she would chop them down.

Perhaps pure coincidence, but all 3 produced a flower head each within a couple of weeks - they are quite fascinating flowers unlike anything else and produced the biggest "hands" of fruit as big as the tree. The flowers appeared in late December/early January (summer in the southern hemisphere) and just before we left South Africa in March the hands were chopped off and covered with sacking in the garage (I now know it is possibly the ethylene which ripens all the fruit) The bananas themselves were small as the variety was called Lady Fingers - they were gorgeously sweet. We ended up giving them all away.

The original trees must put all the energy into the fruit as they fell over but you could see smaller shoots forming at the base. I hope your tree produces fruit a lot quicker than ours did though looking back on it, we weren't really gardeners and just planted things hoping they would grow - the concept of adding compost to soil was a bit alien to us LOL
fabindia
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Re: The Banana Tree Thread

Post by fabindia »

lancashire lass wrote:they are quite fascinating flowers unlike anything else

Banana flowers are quite strange but on the other hand they are edible and a bit of a delicacy. I know they make banana flower salad here, but personally I have never tried.

lancashire lass wrote:I hope your tree produces fruit a lot quicker than ours did though looking back on it, we weren't really gardeners and just planted things hoping they would grow - the concept of adding compost to soil was a bit alien to us LOL

Well, I am certainly not building my hopes too high :-D
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Mo
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Re: The Banana Tree Thread

Post by Mo »

but if you eat the flowers you won't get fruit
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lancashire lass
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Re: The Banana Tree Thread

Post by lancashire lass »

Mo wrote:but if you eat the flowers you won't get fruit


have a look at this link (Edible Hawaiian) to see what a "banana flower" looks like .... it's not like an apple or an orange blossom
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