How to Grow Bananas
If your grocer says, “Yes, we have no bananas. We have no bananas today,” it isn’t surprising since banana is world’s second favorite fruit, surpassed in popularity only by apple. Once only grown in tropical climates, good news is that several varieties can be grown in northern areas as well as in south.
Because it takes nine months or more to reach maturity, some northern gardeners grow banana plant only for its spectacular ornamental foliage. However, in hobby greenhouse, even northern growers can achieve a fruit harvest and reap added benefit of seeing amazing way in which fruit is produced.
Probably because of its height, banana plant is often incorrectly called a banana tree. Actually, though, banana is largest herbaceous perennial and belongs to monocotyledons of Musaceae family, which also includes palms, grasses, and orchids.
Bananas grow from rhizomes, which are stems that take root and send shoots (suckers) up through soil. Banana plants may also be propagated through suckers (also called pups or ratoons) that grow from main stem of banana plant. If you have difficulty in finding banana rhizomes at your local nursery, you can find them in most garden catalogs as well as Internet garden outlets. Site and soil
The banana plant grows best in full sun in soil that provides excellent drainage. Good drainage is crucial since saturated roots may die in less than an hour. It is also important to shelter banana plant from heavy winds that can tatter banana plant foliage.
The banana plant is a very heavy feeder. Soil should be nutrient rich, slightly acidic, and loamy enough to retain moisture and keep nutrients from leaching below shallow roots of plant. Amendments of good organic compost and green sand or kelp meal will help maintain banana plant’s high mineral requirements.
Planting Banana Rhizomes
Dig a hole about a foot wide and ten to twelve inches deep. Set rhizome in hole so that union between it and sucker stem are about six inches deep. If your site isn’t level, eye of your banana rhizome should be on uphill side of your hole. Fill hole with soil and tamp down firmly to remove any air pockets. If planting more than one rhizome, plants need to be spaced at least ten feet apart so that each gets benefit of full sun. Water your planting sparingly to keep rhizome healthy until plant is established.