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 When will the bananas on my banana tree be ready to eat?
Tekka  [Team Member]
11/4/2009 6:56:21 PM
I've had banana trees in my back yard for years, but they'd never really been able to grow large or grow bananas until we cut down a large Oak that was right next to them. The last year the largest tree finally grew bananas, but they died on the tree because of a freeze.

This year, the main tree has gotten rather large and hearty and started to grow bananas. I've been watering the trees on a regular basis for a few months now in order to hopefully try and ripen the bananas growing on the tree. I'd read that bananas are kind of like a sponge so it's best to keep the tree watered. So far it seems that has been the best course of action even though this tree is obviously only going to grow baby bananas.

So does anyone know when the bananas on a banana tree are ready to eat? What should I look for? Should I take them off the vine before they ripen?
SheaD  [Team Member]
11/4/2009 8:18:08 PM
Im not expert, but i believe when they are a little smaller than a regular size banana you pick them and let them sit for a day or so till they look normal. I did this when i was in Costa Rica and they were good. Although, i was pretty drunk.
trwoprod  [Member]
11/6/2009 7:33:53 AM
Originally Posted By Tekka:
I've had banana trees in my back yard for years, but they'd never really been able to grow large or grow bananas until we cut down a large Oak that was right next to them. The last year the largest tree finally grew bananas, but they died on the tree because of a freeze.

This year, the main tree has gotten rather large and hearty and started to grow bananas. I've been watering the trees on a regular basis for a few months now in order to hopefully try and ripen the bananas growing on the tree. I'd read that bananas are kind of like a sponge so it's best to keep the tree watered. So far it seems that has been the best course of action even though this tree is obviously only going to grow baby bananas.

So does anyone know when the bananas on a banana tree are ready to eat? What should I look for? Should I take them off the vine before they ripen?


How have you been fertilizing them? Bananas are heavy feeders.
swamp_fighter  [Member]
11/7/2009 10:28:34 AM
Check out this link, lots of info about growing them in Florida.

http://www.banana-plants.com/Apple.html
Tekka  [Team Member]
11/8/2009 1:50:39 AM

Originally Posted By trwoprod:
Originally Posted By Tekka:
I've had banana trees in my back yard for years, but they'd never really been able to grow large or grow bananas until we cut down a large Oak that was right next to them. The last year the largest tree finally grew bananas, but they died on the tree because of a freeze.

This year, the main tree has gotten rather large and hearty and started to grow bananas. I've been watering the trees on a regular basis for a few months now in order to hopefully try and ripen the bananas growing on the tree. I'd read that bananas are kind of like a sponge so it's best to keep the tree watered. So far it seems that has been the best course of action even though this tree is obviously only going to grow baby bananas.

So does anyone know when the bananas on a banana tree are ready to eat? What should I look for? Should I take them off the vine before they ripen?


How have you been fertilizing them? Bananas are heavy feeders.

I haven't
trwoprod  [Member]
11/8/2009 10:26:57 AM
Originally Posted By Tekka:

Originally Posted By trwoprod:
Originally Posted By Tekka:
I've had banana trees in my back yard for years, but they'd never really been able to grow large or grow bananas until we cut down a large Oak that was right next to them. The last year the largest tree finally grew bananas, but they died on the tree because of a freeze.

This year, the main tree has gotten rather large and hearty and started to grow bananas. I've been watering the trees on a regular basis for a few months now in order to hopefully try and ripen the bananas growing on the tree. I'd read that bananas are kind of like a sponge so it's best to keep the tree watered. So far it seems that has been the best course of action even though this tree is obviously only going to grow baby bananas.

So does anyone know when the bananas on a banana tree are ready to eat? What should I look for? Should I take them off the vine before they ripen?


How have you been fertilizing them? Bananas are heavy feeders.

I haven't


You might want to do that next year. Get a good, deep, rotted mulch (not up against the trunk) about 4 feet around the base and use that to keep the soil in place, broadcast a lot of fertilizer once a month and water it in, and see how that works.
CS223  [Team Member]
11/9/2009 4:39:30 PM
I pick them green and cook them sort of like plantains.

Here's what I do:

Peel bananas
Cut into chunks about 3/4" thick
Deep fry until you just see them beginning to brown
Remove from fryer
Take each chunk and flatten them, you can use anything, a flat bottom cup, two cutting boards etc
Put them back in the deep fryer and cook until golden brown, remove and season with salt, eat warm.
Bag up the left overs for later.

There are different kinds of bananas. The ones I have growing aren't very good to eat from the tree like commercial bananas.

The small finger bananas have lots of sugar so they cook up kind of sticky, you deep fry them as well except whole.

Plantains are cooked several different ways. Some folks season them with lime juice which tastes aweful to me.
fundummy  [Member]
11/11/2009 1:44:00 AM
Originally Posted By Tekka:
I've had banana trees in my back yard for years, but they'd never really been able to grow large or grow bananas until we cut down a large Oak that was right next to them. The last year the largest tree finally grew bananas, but they died on the tree because of a freeze.

This year, the main tree has gotten rather large and hearty and started to grow bananas. I've been watering the trees on a regular basis for a few months now in order to hopefully try and ripen the bananas growing on the tree. I'd read that bananas are kind of like a sponge so it's best to keep the tree watered. So far it seems that has been the best course of action even though this tree is obviously only going to grow baby bananas.

So does anyone know when the bananas on a banana tree are ready to eat? What should I look for? Should I take them off the vine before they ripen?


The main plant ( tree ) will die this year, it won't come back next year....
When the bananas are ready, the entire plant will start to lean over. It will be obvious the plant can no longer hold the weight of the bunch, and is getting ready to fall.
I'd cut the bunch then, and remove the heart. I would still leave them " on the bunch " until they ripen.

ETA: If you think it's going to freeze, you may want to go ahead and git em' ....
Next year, if you keep them wet, use triple 13, or manure fertilizer, the next bunch will start early - get heavy - and grow like Jack n' the Bean Stalk Beans .....
Tekka  [Team Member]
11/11/2009 3:25:45 AM

Originally Posted By fundummy:

The main plant ( tree ) will die this year, it won't come back next year....
When the bananas are ready, the entire plant will start to lean over. It will be obvious the plant can no longer hold the weight of the bunch, and is getting ready to fall.
I'd cut the bunch then, and remove the heart. I would still leave them " on the bunch " until they ripen.

ETA: If you think it's going to freeze, you may want to go ahead and git em' ....
Next year, if you keep them wet, use triple 13, or manure fertilizer, the next bunch will start early - get heavy - and grow like Jack n' the Bean Stalk Beans .....

You know, it's interesting you mention the leaning thing. I kept thinking that this tree might be on it's last legs. It's been leaning in the direction of the bunch. There are also a whole bunch of other tiny trees that have popped up around it. Next year should be interesting.

One more thing, can you clarify what you mean by remove the heart? Is the heart the flower thing?

I've taken just one banana off the tree to see how it ripens. The rest are still on the tree and I think I'll keep it that way.
fundummy  [Member]
11/11/2009 10:54:00 AM
Yes... it's the red flower thing.

The stem that holds the bananas, and the heart is pretty tough, you may want to use loping shears to cut it.
trwoprod  [Member]
11/11/2009 11:12:24 PM
Originally Posted By Tekka:

Originally Posted By fundummy:

The main plant ( tree ) will die this year, it won't come back next year....
When the bananas are ready, the entire plant will start to lean over. It will be obvious the plant can no longer hold the weight of the bunch, and is getting ready to fall.
I'd cut the bunch then, and remove the heart. I would still leave them " on the bunch " until they ripen.

ETA: If you think it's going to freeze, you may want to go ahead and git em' ....
Next year, if you keep them wet, use triple 13, or manure fertilizer, the next bunch will start early - get heavy - and grow like Jack n' the Bean Stalk Beans .....

You know, it's interesting you mention the leaning thing. I kept thinking that this tree might be on it's last legs. It's been leaning in the direction of the bunch. There are also a whole bunch of other tiny trees that have popped up around it. Next year should be interesting.

One more thing, can you clarify what you mean by remove the heart? Is the heart the flower thing?

I've taken just one banana off the tree to see how it ripens. The rest are still on the tree and I think I'll keep it that way.


Those little things are pups. You need to cut them out and transplant them and you will have new trees.
Tekka  [Team Member]
11/11/2009 11:18:45 PM

Originally Posted By trwoprod:

Those little things are pups. You need to cut them out and transplant them and you will have new trees.

What will happen if I don't cut them out and transplant them? Will they die?
fundummy  [Member]
11/12/2009 3:11:20 PM
Originally Posted By Tekka:

Originally Posted By trwoprod:

Those little things are pups. You need to cut them out and transplant them and you will have new trees.

What will happen if I don't cut them out and transplant them? Will they die?


I " think " he's referring to those " tiny trees " you mentioned..... transplanting those.
trwoprod  [Member]
11/12/2009 6:01:26 PM
Originally Posted By fundummy:
Originally Posted By Tekka:

Originally Posted By trwoprod:

Those little things are pups. You need to cut them out and transplant them and you will have new trees.

What will happen if I don't cut them out and transplant them? Will they die?


I " think " he's referring to those " tiny trees " you mentioned..... transplanting those.


Yes, sorry, long week.

They won't die. They will get bigger and you will have a badly producing banana thicket instead of more trees. Take a long spade (clean it first with soap and water) and when the pup has at least two leaves, drive the shovel down between it and the mother and break it off. Dig around it a bit first. Put the pup in a new location and keep it watered and fertilized and presto –– more banana trees.

ETA:

More detail –– the pup should develop some roots of its own when it gets 18" or more high. When you can see that from digging around –– when it looks like the base of a head of celery as opposed to a sucker and you can see roots –– that's when to take the pup. You should have a few big leaves at this point. If you cut the pup out without roots, you have to cut diagonally into the base of the mother to get some of the mother's root mat and base as well. It's a pain. Leave the pup alone for a year or so (however long it takes) to get some roots, then cut it off/break it off. Hit the cut part on pup and mother with some fungicide for a week or two, put the soil back on the side of the mother's trunk, and enjoy your free banana tree.

If I am being less than clear, tell me.
Tekka  [Team Member]
11/12/2009 6:09:54 PM

Originally Posted By trwoprod:
Yes, sorry, long week.

They won't die. They will get bigger and you will have a badly producing banana thicket instead of more trees. Take a long spade (clean it first with soap and water) and when the pup has at least two leaves, drive the shovel down between it and the mother and break it off. Dig around it a bit first. Put the pup in a new location and keep it watered and fertilized and presto –– more banana trees.

ETA:

More detail –– the pup should develop some roots of its own when it gets 18" or more high. When you can see that from digging around –– when it looks like the base of a head of celery as opposed to a sucker and you can see roots –– that's when to take the pup. You should have a few big leaves at this point. If you cut the pup out without roots, you have to cut diagonally into the base of the mother to get some of the mother's root mat and base as well. It's a pain. Leave the pup alone for a year or so (however long it takes) to get some roots, then cut it off/break it off. Hit the cut part on pup and mother with some fungicide for a week or two, put the soil back on the side of the mother's trunk, and enjoy your free banana tree.

If I am being less than clear, tell me.

The update helps... I think. I'm probably going to end up adding more soil (the trees are kind a on a hill) and removing a bunch of bushes which are right in front of the banana trees to make room for new trees. It's going to be a pain in the butt, but I think having a corner of the yard dedicated to banana trees will be cool.
trwoprod  [Member]
11/12/2009 6:31:40 PM
Originally Posted By Tekka:

Originally Posted By trwoprod:
Yes, sorry, long week.

They won't die. They will get bigger and you will have a badly producing banana thicket instead of more trees. Take a long spade (clean it first with soap and water) and when the pup has at least two leaves, drive the shovel down between it and the mother and break it off. Dig around it a bit first. Put the pup in a new location and keep it watered and fertilized and presto –– more banana trees.

ETA:

More detail –– the pup should develop some roots of its own when it gets 18" or more high. When you can see that from digging around –– when it looks like the base of a head of celery as opposed to a sucker and you can see roots –– that's when to take the pup. You should have a few big leaves at this point. If you cut the pup out without roots, you have to cut diagonally into the base of the mother to get some of the mother's root mat and base as well. It's a pain. Leave the pup alone for a year or so (however long it takes) to get some roots, then cut it off/break it off. Hit the cut part on pup and mother with some fungicide for a week or two, put the soil back on the side of the mother's trunk, and enjoy your free banana tree.

If I am being less than clear, tell me.

The update helps... I think. I'm probably going to end up adding more soil (the trees are kind a on a hill) and removing a bunch of bushes which are right in front of the banana trees to make room for new trees. It's going to be a pain in the butt, but I think having a corner of the yard dedicated to banana trees will be cool.


You can cover an amazing amount of food needs with bananas if you get varieties that bear heavily. With a few different varieties and a few locations, you will be drowning in bananas nine months out of the year.
Tekka  [Team Member]
11/12/2009 7:13:16 PM

Originally Posted By trwoprod:
You can cover an amazing amount of food needs with bananas if you get varieties that bear heavily. With a few different varieties and a few locations, you will be drowning in bananas nine months out of the year.


trwoprod  [Member]
11/12/2009 7:58:04 PM
Originally Posted By Tekka:

Originally Posted By trwoprod:
You can cover an amazing amount of food needs with bananas if you get varieties that bear heavily. With a few different varieties and a few locations, you will be drowning in bananas nine months out of the year.




You can, to a degree, control how and when they ripen and some bananas will produce two bunches a year, some will produce bunches five feet long, many of the sweet bananas can be cooked green, and you are in Florida ....
Kitties-with-Sigs  [Team Member]
11/12/2009 10:54:19 PM
trwoprod how did you learn so much about banana culture?

This is an interesting thread.

kitties
trwoprod  [Member]
11/12/2009 11:43:14 PM
Originally Posted By Kitties-with-Sigs:
trwoprod how did you learn so much about banana culture?

This is an interesting thread.

kitties


You can grow bananas anywhere in Texas, even Amarillo, and most of Oklahoma. Louisiana is a no-brainer. I really don't have any relatives without bananas in this part of the US and I personally have some that I leave almost completely unattended on some property near Hempstead. They do just fine. Periodically I go get some bananas. My armed, violent, geriatric Czech and German neighbors (who think that I am too right wing) eat what I don't and love them. With decent mulch and irrigation and deep fertile soil, they are basically trouble-free. I have chopped them down and covered them with straw and manure for the winter (as I do every year), and next spring they will be back. They are dead-easy to grow. Lots and lots of varieties will do fine down to sustained 50 degree temperatures if on a ridge, in the sun, and out of chilling wind. Every eight to ten years you can lose a few, but I have relatives in Amarillo and Tulsa who mulch with a few layers of manure and straw and let the bananas winter under the ice storms and they almost never lose one. You don't need to dig them up every winter. They look ratty after hurricanes because the leaves get shredded, but they survive the wind just fine. Lots of tropical plants are problems –– bananas aren't one of them. You can have the gardening skills of Beavis and Butthead and be swimming in bananas.

ETA:

I don't know how they would do up where you are year 'round, outside, but the OP is in Florida. He can have a banana plantation and only worry about a setback when they get a freeze hard enough to kill the citrus. Bananas are great food plants –– you do almost nothing but feed and water them and they produce huge amounts of food. They attract the bees, are too tall for weeds to be an issue, only sometimes and in some places have fungus problems, and apart from creative dogs and possibly a Filipino lurking in the roses, desperate for a plantain, they have no pests.
Kitties-with-Sigs  [Team Member]
11/12/2009 11:56:14 PM
Originally Posted By trwoprod:
Originally Posted By Kitties-with-Sigs:
trwoprod how did you learn so much about banana culture?

This is an interesting thread.

kitties


You can grow bananas anywhere in Texas, even Amarillo, and most of Oklahoma. Louisiana is a no-brainer. I really don't have any relatives without bananas in this part of the US and I personally have some that I leave almost completely unattended on some property near Hempstead. They do just fine. Periodically I go get some bananas. My armed, violent, geriatric Czech and German neighbors (who think that I am too right wing) eat what I don't and love them. With decent mulch and irrigation and deep fertile soil, they are basically trouble-free. I have chopped them down and covered them with straw and manure for the winter (as I do every year), and next spring they will be back. They are dead-easy to grow. Lots and lots of varieties will do fine down to sustained 50 degree temperatures if on a ridge, in the sun, and out of chilling wind. Every eight to ten years you can lose a few, but I have relatives in Amarillo and Tulsa who mulch with a few layers of manure and straw and let the bananas winter under the ice storms and they almost never lose one. You don't need to dig them up every winter. They look ratty after hurricanes because the leaves get shredded, but they survive the wind just fine. Lots of tropical plants are problems –– bananas aren't one of them. You can have the gardening skills of Beavis and Butthead and be swimming in bananas.

ETA:

I don't know how they would do up where you are year 'round, outside, but the OP is in Florida. He can have a banana plantation and only worry about a setback when they get a freeze hard enough to kill the citrus. Bananas are great food plants –– you do almost nothing but feed and water them and they produce huge amounts of food.


Oh, they don't do ANYTHING here. No flowers, no fruit, and they're toast by mid-autumn. I'm surprised they grow as far north as Oklahoma. I've grown them in commercial greenhouses as weird experiments because the owner wanted them. They were a pita. They make lousy ornamentals.

I knew he could grow them easily in Florida but I know nothing of the culture because I've never seen one grown for fruit.

It's interesting though. I like learning the culture for plants I haven't grown. What kind of soil/drainage do they need?

ETA: People think that a person with a plant science education knows about ALL plants. Not true. To some degree I do, because I understand plant growth and development. I know how plants work, generally, but once I step outside my area of expertise––the landscape in the type of region where I live, I'm almost as lost as the next person. I went to California a few years ago and couldn't recongnize anything growing on the street. Here I can give you the Latin names of every tree and shrub I see, and a good many of the herbaceous perennials. If I were to come down there to Texas, I'd be a fish out of water there, as well. I undestand tropicals as grown for the greenhouse industry––the commercial florist trade––only. I used to order tractor trailer loads of them out of Florida, and I can teach people how to keep them healthy and alive in the home environment, but beyond calling the growers and paying the truck driver, I really don't know their culture as landscape or fruiting plants at all.

trwoprod  [Member]
11/13/2009 12:09:28 AM
Originally Posted By Kitties-with-Sigs:
Originally Posted By trwoprod:
Originally Posted By Kitties-with-Sigs:
trwoprod how did you learn so much about banana culture?

This is an interesting thread.

kitties


You can grow bananas anywhere in Texas, even Amarillo, and most of Oklahoma. Louisiana is a no-brainer. I really don't have any relatives without bananas in this part of the US and I personally have some that I leave almost completely unattended on some property near Hempstead. They do just fine. Periodically I go get some bananas. My armed, violent, geriatric Czech and German neighbors (who think that I am too right wing) eat what I don't and love them. With decent mulch and irrigation and deep fertile soil, they are basically trouble-free. I have chopped them down and covered them with straw and manure for the winter (as I do every year), and next spring they will be back. They are dead-easy to grow. Lots and lots of varieties will do fine down to sustained 50 degree temperatures if on a ridge, in the sun, and out of chilling wind. Every eight to ten years you can lose a few, but I have relatives in Amarillo and Tulsa who mulch with a few layers of manure and straw and let the bananas winter under the ice storms and they almost never lose one. You don't need to dig them up every winter. They look ratty after hurricanes because the leaves get shredded, but they survive the wind just fine. Lots of tropical plants are problems –– bananas aren't one of them. You can have the gardening skills of Beavis and Butthead and be swimming in bananas.

ETA:

I don't know how they would do up where you are year 'round, outside, but the OP is in Florida. He can have a banana plantation and only worry about a setback when they get a freeze hard enough to kill the citrus. Bananas are great food plants –– you do almost nothing but feed and water them and they produce huge amounts of food.


Oh, they don't do ANYTHING here. No flowers, no fruit, and they're toast by mid-autumn. I'm surprised they grow as far north as Oklahoma. I've grown them in commercial greenhouses as weird experiments because the owner wanted them. They were a pita. They make lousy ornamentals.

I knew he could grow them easily in Florida but I know nothing of the culture because I've never seen one grown for fruit.

It's interesting though. I like learning the culture for plants I haven't grown. What kind of soil/drainage do they need?

ETA: People think that a person with a plant science education knows about ALL plants. Not true. To some degree I do, because I understand plant growth and development. I know how plants work, generally, but once I step outside my area of expertise––the landscape in the type of region where I live, I'm almost as lost as the next person. I went to California a few years ago and couldn't recongnize anything growing on the street. Here I can give you the Latin names of every tree and shrub I see, and a good many of the herbaceous perennials. If I were to come down there to Texas, I'd be a fish out of water there, as well. I undestand tropicals as grown for the greenhouse industry––the commercial florist trade––only. I used to order tractor trailer loads of them out of Florida, and I can teach people how to keep them healthy and alive in the home environment, but beyond calling the growers and paying the truck driver, I really don't know their culture as landscape or fruiting plants at all.



Oklahoma is pushing it, but works. The issue is the length of the growing season –– they actually do remarkably well with temperature variations as long as they have time to get the fruit out. Some of the varieties will never do well in 99% of the US because they need 14+ months to set fruit, but there are a lot of varieties that will put up a 6' stalk in 5-6 months and then you get fruit over the next two months. Those will do just fine anywhere you have 70+ degree weather for that much time. You MUST mulch them well. You absolutely do not want the roots exposed to temperature variations –– I really think that this is what kills bananas. You can kill the tree part, but it always comes back from the roots if they are well-mulched.

Sandy loam, no standing water, regular watering, deep mulch, neutral to acid soil (I think), and lots of fertilizer. If you don't have standing water, bananas will grow anywhere. Just mulch them deeply.

To get bananas to fruit, wait a year –– most will need to set deep roots first and that's a year, at least, and then do absolutely the second year and presto, bananas! It's really that easy. Bed prep and deep mulch and a very sunny site with good drainage –– all stuff that you do ahead of time. Then sit back and do nothing.

ETA:

Some bananas will put down deep roots and bear fruit the first year. Some of the commercial varieties are very impressive. In general, you should bank on two years for fruit, and that's with the ones that will bear in a Texas summer, of course.
Kitties-with-Sigs  [Team Member]
11/13/2009 1:50:40 PM
Wow. This is cool. I think I'll do a little research on banana growing just because it's so interesting.

So what most of us call a banana tree is actually a woody perennial which dies back to the roots annually? (Or at least, the varieties you're growing)

trwoprod  [Member]
11/13/2009 5:58:59 PM
Originally Posted By Kitties-with-Sigs:
Wow. This is cool. I think I'll do a little research on banana growing just because it's so interesting.

So what most of us call a banana tree is actually a woody perennial which dies back to the roots annually? (Or at least, the varieties you're growing)



I was always told that it was a huge herb, but yes. Get the bananas out, chop it off, it grows back and you get more bananas.