bananas in illinois :)

Vandalia, IL

good evening! so this is my 20ft tall banana plants, 3rd year, and im getting my first flower..its opening very quickly,looks like 5 small fruits in the 2 sections that have opened so far..when I visited dominique republic, they covered their bananas with blue plastic bags, to keep birds from pecking them.. so my question is at what stage ,or how many bananas, should be showing before I cover the fruit? ive waited 3 years for this,,im not sharing with the birds..thanks ahead of time dee

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noonamah, Australia

You can cover at any time. The flowers at the top are female and the one hanging below are the males. Pollination isn't necessary so you can cut off the male flowers once a gap develops between them and the females. This makes the plant put all its resources into the female flowers/fruit. The plastic bag will also even out the ripening around the bunch by keeping the temperature more even within it.

Virginia Beach, VA

Wow!!! I collect different bananas but hd never had fruits. i heard that you have dig them and store in the garage for them to fruit. Did you have to dig it?
Congratulations!!!
Belle

Vandalia, IL

thank you tropicbreeze,,thats exactly what I needed to know..im up to 4 groups of fingers so far,,its going very fast..I will get a ladder tomorrow and see what I can learn about these male and female flowers! :) then cover it..do you think I should cut off the last 2 sections that come on, for bigger fruit? at this piont, when should I have ripe bananas?
bellieg,,yes I did dig them up..luckily my shed has 12 ft ceilings.when i dug ,i left the dirt on and put in a 30 gal plastic tub..didnt trim,didnt water..I think my luck may be due to a early spring..I also have a 13 x 17 green house, and the 15 plants i have should produce next year?? 1/2 are dwarf and the rest are the 20ft.ers..cant wait to see what the dwarfs do..they will be much easier to handle.
thank you for your comments :) any advice is welcome dee!

noonamah, Australia

If you're in a cooler climate it's best to get fewer but better/larger fruit. Bananas take quite a while to ripen. Commercially they pick them green so they handle and travel better. But they taste like wood. Even when they ripen on the shop shelf they still don't have that real banana flavour. Temperature will affect how quickly bananas ripen. It could take up to 6 months. The fruit when young has ribbed sides. When those ribs round off the bunch can be cut. They are then hung until they fully ripen.

Huntersville, NC(Zone 7b)

I would wait till the last minute before a freeze and then cut them off for final ripening in your house. First freeze will be in September? I agree with tropic breeze and cut off between female and male flowers. I don't think you will have problems with birds, at least, I don't in North Carolina. I harvested some Orinocos last year before my first freeze. I dig mine exactly as you described, and place in garage also. There aren't many here in this picture. But man were they delicious.

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Virginia Beach, VA

Wow!! Those are cooking banana!!!
Belle

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

i second the "no bird" problems here in the states. i've never had a bird look twice at mine. i think it's mostly parrots that eat the fruit...and monkeys.

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Vandalia, IL

thank you for your comments..i have cut off the stalk and left 3 hands with 10 fingers each..no frost in sight yet...they are still ribbed,,3 months to go , never know may get lucky:)

i can tell which are the dwarf candivish but im not 100% on the dwarf orniocos..do they have a redish strip on the new leaves down the middle?

the pups on the producing plant,ive dug up and repotted,,they were 3ft tall and i wanted them to aclamate to the glass house. Im beginning to think this is a pretty easy plant to transplant,,are they considered pretty tough plants?
again thanks for comments..

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mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

i think they're tough.
don't forget that the flowering plant will die once it produces fruit.

Vandalia, IL

yes thanks,,i read that it would die some where...thats why I wasnt afraid to steal the pups:)..even if their not edible,,they still can be sold for ornamental, plants for next year,, i can get $3 - $5 for each plant :)
any one want to confirm that the orinocos have redish stripe on the newer leaves? i can tell which are the dwarf candvish,,but im not 100% on the dwarf orinocos..
and I guess I exegarated,,I measured the plant that flowered from where it flowered to the ground..Is this the proper way to measure? i only have a 12 ft.plant...it just looks like 20 ft, when im under it :) see ya dee

Miami, FL(Zone 10a)

d_lilly, they look great good job! I can t imagine digging up that monster.
I had no idea about male and female flowers. It always seems it takes a year for them to ripen.
If they don t ripen you can always boil them or fry them. (mofongo)Enjoy
Cassie

noonamah, Australia

For just growing, bananas are quite a forgiving plant. For flowering/fruiting, they are most unforgiving if not fed properly (ie a lot).

Vandalia, IL

thanks for all the comments,,,since Ive gotten into this, now Im looking for some red leaf bananas, like siam ruby,,red abyssinian,,and zebrina...if any one has some id be happy to buy some pups...they would be overwintered in the glass house..keep in touch dee:)

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Vandalia, IL

just a update on the banana plants,,cut one nana off ,cut it open,,seeds :( smelled like a cukecumber...noticed on 2 more of some dwarf size,,6ft. they were just about to send up the flag...went ahead and dug them up and got them in the glass house..i know it robally wasnt a good time,,but I thought better to dig up
before ,,than after flower.
we'll see..so far they seem pretty tuff!

Vandalia, IL

picture of seeded bananas and 3 plants i moved in before the flower came out..maybe fruit in march?

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Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

Hi all !!

I have a question about banana plants and figure I will post here so not to start another thread and keep all the info together.

I bought 4 plants in March, planted them in the ground in Georgia in May, two have not survived the cold snap we had a the beginning of the season, the other two are doing awesome, they are over 6 ft tall right now and continue to grow exponentially, my question is: The two plants are starting to throw suckers, I have so far seen three in total, do I keep them there and let them grow or do I remove them and do something else with them.

I have read that I should remove them and bring them inside for the winter to ensure survival, but, do I remove them now from the mother plant or before the first freeze?

The variety of the plants I have is Musa vinte and I expect to have fruit in a two more seasons.

All comments and help appreciated. Thanks!!

http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa62/sevseasail/CAM00565.jpg

This message was edited Aug 5, 2013 4:08 PM

noonamah, Australia

It's best to remove pups earlier, means reduced competition for nutrients for the main plant. Bananas are heavy feeders so the more plants growing together the less each individual one will get. Growing by succession means you have one mature plant, one large pup, and one small pup. All others are removed. That gives you continuity without starving your plants.

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

Thank you for your response !!

To clarify, I should leave the first two that appear but remove all the ones that show after those, right?

Question: those removed, should I plant them elsewhere and then bring them in for the winter? Will they eventually bear fruit?


Thank you!!

noonamah, Australia

Best if the two pups you leave are different size. The larger pup should mature just after the mother plant withers. while the smaller one keeps growing. Pups that you take off can be potted up and will develop into mature plants in time. They will be slower than those that were left. That's because the removed ones have some damage to the roots and need time to recover.

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

Thanks, that's great !!!

One more question: At the end of the season, before the cold weather sets in and we have frost, should I just cut the plants at the base or let them die on their own?

Thank you!!

noonamah, Australia

I don't have that problem with bananas, but with any plant that dies back, the tuber/rhizome/corm/bulb usually drawns all nutrients out of the upper part before it completely dries. So I tend to leave them until they're fully dried which is most beneficial for the plant. Some people cut off anything that looks like it dying off or blemished, but that's just for the aesthetics and is more detrimental to the plant. So it's a question of whether you go with what's good for the plant, or what is more pleasing to the eye.

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

Thank you so much, that was very educational !!

Circle, MT(Zone 3b)

this is great info - I have a ton of bananas growing in my yard, and no real idea what to do with them! All I've done with them is to add compost - and by compost, I mean, I toss every other plant that's dying back there. There's a saw palmetto underneath keeping the roots cool, so maybe that helps?

I've got three "pods" of fruit - the bees seem to love them, which is grand, though they tend to congregate in the dropped flowers and stumble around on the ground. I'm wondering if they're drunk. :)

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noonamah, Australia

A lot of insects (and birds) that feed on nectar (high sugar content) become hyper-active. A bit like some kids.

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