john gault
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Banana Tree experts...

Like I said in the "Introduction Forum" https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=37779 I'm not much of a gardener, but starting to get into it...

I got a banana tree last year (I don't know the species, can't even remember where I got it from) it grew pretty good last year(planted it late in the summer), but then died back over the winter (really cold winters last few years, but that's another thread). This year it came back and I decided to start keeping track of how often a new leaf emerges; I guess it averages a new leaf (from start to finish) every 7-8 days. I started keeping track of these new leafs on the 23rd of May and as of 9 July the sixth leaf completed it's emergence. (BTW, the tree was already about five foot tall when I started tracking the emergence of its leaves)

However leaf number 7 was first seen by me on 13 July on the 14th it was about 14 inches long, but stopped growing after that. Also all the previous leaves were tightly wound, but this one started to unfurl, before this all leaves were tightly wound until they reached a lenght of about 40 inches before starting to unfurl.

So today I went out there and leaf #7 still hasn't grown much, but also there seems to be something growing from the top of the stock/trunk, it looks like what I can only describe as looking like a large corn cob with a slightly purple color to it.

Any idea what this might be?

Another strange question: Is there a standard way to measure the hight of a banana tree? Example, I see three ways to do it. 1) Simply measure to the highest point from the ground (without straightening the top leaf). 2) Extend/erect the top leaf and measure from the very tip to the ground. 3) Measure from the ground to the point of the stock/trunk where the newest leaf emerges.

I know probably a crazy question...

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lorax
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First off: bananas aren't really trees - they're the world's largest herbs. The "trunk" is properly called a pseudostem. :() OK, I'm done nitpicking.

If you could post a picture, I could likely ID the species or cultivar for you.

What you're seeing emerge sounds like the inflorescence - this is the natural next step in any banana's life cycle. It seems kind of early for an edible cultivar to be blooming, but the seeded ones can be quite rapid on the uptake and without knowing exactly what you've got I can't really speak to the "normality" of seeing a bloom this early.

Either way, though, good on you - bananas won't bloom unless they're happy.

On your second question: the standard way to measure the height of a banana is from the soil to the top of the pseudostem - where the newest leaf is emerging. Leaf height doesn't factor into it - especially since on the tropical-grown cultivars that can extend the total height of the plant by 6-8 feet! It's more accurate to stick with the pseudostem measurement.

gumbo2176
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Lorax, you are a wealth of information. Especially anything tropical----gee, I wonder why?? :lol:

I once had bananas growing in my yard but they became so invasive in just a couple years I decided to get rid of them. Living in New Orleans allows for such plants to do well.

My brother-in-law planted bamboo about 4 years ago and now regrets it. He loves the plant for how it looks but it has taken over the whole back third of his yard and is getting into the neighbors property. I told him to cut it, dry it and make cane poles for fishing to sell-----he didn't think that was too funny.

john gault
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lorax wrote:First off: bananas aren't really trees - they're the world's largest herbs. The "trunk" is properly called a pseudostem. :() OK, I'm done nitpicking.
No problem, I can also nitpick and sometimes do :lol:
lorax wrote:If you could post a picture, I could likely ID the species or cultivar for you.

What you're seeing emerge sounds like the inflorescence - this is the natural next step in any banana's life cycle. It seems kind of early for an edible cultivar to be blooming, but the seeded ones can be quite rapid on the uptake and without knowing exactly what you've got I can't really speak to the "normality" of seeing a bloom this early.
I just set up this computer, so still haven't gotten around to uploading pics, but hope to soon. However, I did google the term "inflorescence" and this is a perfect picture of what I have (the top pic). https://mykambatikworld.blogspot.com/2008/10/watching-banana-inflorescence.html

Also that banana bush/tree/herb 8) looks very similar to mine, especially the leaf structure.
lorax wrote:On your second question: the standard way to measure the height of a banana is from the soil to the top of the pseudostem - where the newest leaf is emerging. Leaf height doesn't factor into it - especially since on the tropical-grown cultivars that can extend the total height of the plant by 6-8 feet! It's more accurate to stick with the pseudostem measurement.
I measured from the ground to the top of the inflorescense and its ~8-1/2 feet and about 7-1/2 feet to the top of the pseudostem.

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lorax
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OK, at that height we can rule out most of the ornamentals and true species, which means you have an edible seedless cultivar.

The one in the link you posted is a Maoli subgroup type; it's entirely possibly you've got one in your yard, but they're fairly rare in Florida....

I eagerly await photos!

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I think it was Lorax on another forum who taught me about that signal leaf just before the bloom. John Gault, you're very observant. Every time you see the "flag leaf" it is indicating an inflorescence will follow. Cannas, gingers, bananas will all have a flag leaf. Of course, they're all related. I can't think of any other plant type that will have a flag leaf, but suspect some orchids would.

There are a few home banana growers as far north as me on Florida's Atlantic coast that can grow bananas to fruit, but we would have to provide protection. There's an old guy in Ormond Bch that erects a visqueen and 2x4 greenhouse around his in December, probably through March.

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lorax
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Oh, I neglected to mention that in my previous post - thanks, Than! It was indeed the flag leaf that John was seeing.

John: if you can't get pictures to upload, you can try describing the plant to me. To get a ballpark ID, I need to know the colour of the pseudostem, the colour of the leaf petioles (the stalks that support the leaves), if there's any change in colour at the edges of the petioles, the colour of the midrib of the leaf, the colour of the leaves themselves (both top and bottom), and whether the inflorescence has powdery stuff on the bracts or not. Once the bracts start to open, if you could tell me whether they're lifting straight up or rolling themselves up, that's a good hint, as are whether they remain on the inflorescence after they flowers are exposed, or if they drop off. The colour of the flowers is also an indicator.

There are over 500 different cultivars, and those are the markers that help us narrow it down to the major subgroups and specific types.

john gault
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Here are some pics I just loaded up on photobucket
https://s1128.photobucket.com/albums/m484/76gunner/

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lorax
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Tentatively (and I won't be able to confirm until the bracts start opening and we can see the flowers and immature fruits) that's something from the Bluggo group, most likely an Orinoco or Dwarf Orinoco.

john gault
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Will get those pics uploaded as soon as I see some flowers or something...


Today the inflorescence has dropped ~80 degrees from the vertical position (just above horizontal) and I've noticed that it seems to have parted slightly, sort of like a mouth of a alligator slightly open.

Kind of reminds me of that man-eating plant in the movie, "Little shop of Horrors"

john gault
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lorax wrote:Tentatively (and I won't be able to confirm until the bracts start opening and we can see the flowers and immature fruits) that's something from the Bluggo group, most likely an Orinoco or Dwarf Orinoco.
Just uploaded some new pics. https://s1128.photobucket.com/albums/m484/76gunner/

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lorax
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Well, that's a solid confirmation for Orinoco or Dwarf Orinoco (the main difference being in the pseudostem heights - at 8' yours falls right into the tallest heights for the Dwarf and the intermediate heights for the regular.)

Good luck for you - those are fabulously tasty fruits!

john gault
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lorax wrote:Well, that's a solid confirmation for Orinoco or Dwarf Orinoco (the main difference being in the pseudostem heights - at 8' yours falls right into the tallest heights for the Dwarf and the intermediate heights for the regular.)

Good luck for you - those are fabulously tasty fruits!
Well if you don't know if I have a dwarf or not, I sure don't know :lol:

However, today I went riding on my bike around various neighborhoods, because there's quite a few banana plants around here that look like mine. I found one that has also fruited and it looks just like mine except that every thing is much smaller, even the inflorescence is only about 1/2 the size of mine and the leaves are very much smaller than mine. I estimated the height between 5'-5" -- 5'-9", definitely less than 6ft. So I guess that's a dwarf.

BTW, I updated my photos to show how the ants love that sap dripping from the flowers and I got more bananas since yesterday(first three photos). https://s1128.photobucket.com/albums/m484/76gunner/

john gault
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Anyone know when the best time to harvest bananas?

I've heard some conflicting stuff, some say just as they're turning yellow, others say after a couple hands turn yellow and still others say as soon as the infloresence stops producing bananas.

They are all still gree, but the infloresence did stop producing bananas a while ago, but still see flowers just every morning.

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lorax
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OK, you're now seeing the male flowers. Edible seedless bananas are parthenocarpic (don't need to be pollinated) but they've still got the anatomy of their fertile, seedy parents. This means that after you've got your fruit (female flowers), you'll see the male ones appearing.

At this point, you can actually remove the bud if you like. It's a pleasant veggie when prepared properly.

For Orinoco type bananas, it's best to harvest when the first hand has turned yellow, then hang the bunch in a cool, dry place to allow it to continue ripening. This way the fruit will come ripe at the rate of about a hand a week, which is perfect for eating. With Orinoco, if you wait for the whole bunch to turn yellow on the plant, you'll be seeing rot and blackening on the first fingers before the last ones ripen up. (Not to mention that it's difficult to harvest single hands from a bunch that's still on the stem.) And if you harvest green they'll only be good for cooking, because the sugars won't have had sufficient time to develop.

john gault
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Thanks Lorax. I tried to find a good book in my local library system, but nothing really on bananas :? Probably should go to a book store and see what they got.

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lorax
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It will still be very little apart from scientific texts on the improvement of the genome. There is a sad lack of banana-growing information out there for the home gardener (which, insert shameless self-promotion here, I am working to address with my magazine, [url=https://www.bananasquarterly.ec]Bananas Quarterly[/url].)

On the interwebs, an excellent resource is the [url=https://www.promusa.org/tiki-index.php]PROMUSA Musapedia[/url].

john gault
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Cut down the bananas today so I can hang them until they all turn yellow.
Here are some pics (Notice the 3rd pic down):

[img]https://i1128.photobucket.com/albums/m484/76gunner/Banana%20Plant/002-2.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i1128.photobucket.com/albums/m484/76gunner/Banana%20Plant/003-2.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i1128.photobucket.com/albums/m484/76gunner/Banana%20Plant/006.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i1128.photobucket.com/albums/m484/76gunner/Banana%20Plant/010-1.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i1128.photobucket.com/albums/m484/76gunner/Banana%20Plant/016.jpg[/img]

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OROZCONLECHE
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How do baby banana plants come from, i know there is no seeds, nor can you plant a banana and get a plant xD so how do you get banana plants??
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lorax
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The mother plant produces suckers around the base, also called "pups" and those are the "baby" banana plants. You can separate them from the mother once they're about 12" tall or have 6 leaves (whichever comes first) - voila! New banana plant.

Ornamental (non-grocery-store) bananas actually do have seeds.

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OROZCONLECHE
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Oh Damn, that sounds like its a tricky process cuz you need one to get one, unless bought online
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lorax
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Not really. If you're in SoCal, there will be tons of people growing bananas in their yards - the trick then is simply to knock on the door and offer to buy a pup. Many people will simply give you one.

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