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My Ice Cream banana tree

Citra, FL

A friend of mine sent me a very small ice cream banana tree. I knew nothing about them, and even less about bananas. After planting it and watching it start to grow and thrive, I started reading all I could on banana plants. Then I got on eBay, and lordy, you can get a lot of different bananas on there. So I watched my baby grow and thrive, then we got some cold weather. Several very frosty days, and it died back. And back. And back. It froze down to a mushy core, and I was sure I had lost it. I resisted the urge to go dig it up and just waited. Soon, a teeny little sprout started out the side of the mushy stump, and sure enough, it started growing. These things grow like wild....its putting up a new leaf every week. I can almost sit and watch it grow.

So Im hoping that I will get a nice bloom before the freezes come later on in the year. Getting this one banana has sparked an interest that I just cant get enough bananas now. Ive gotten several new varieties; they are still tiny in pots, but I am really enjoying them.

Thumbnail by halo
Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

Halo, thats a beautiful banana-so healthy. I love them too! I hope you do get some fruits from it-ice cream bananas have a taste/texture all their own!
Can we see the other kinds that you have? I have bought quite a few myself lol it is addicting! I am trying all mine in the ground, so I try to limit myself to ones that might make here in my zone.....I think I am up to about 10-12! One day I will write them all down in one place! I still am looking for a bordelon..

Citra, FL

You have 10-12 bananas?? Man, Ive gotta catch up. Ill take some more pics tomorrow, the others I have are in pots for now, and just came from eBay, so they are small. ONe is a Super Dwarf Cavendish, one is a Williams Hybrid, and one is an Apple Banana.

Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

Here is what I have...so far lol

Dwarf orinocco , basjoo(2), sikkimensis(2), sikk. red tiger (2), musella lasiocarpa , Kru , magenta, Ensete maureilli (2), Musa ornata, Musa siamensis 'Thai Gold', Musa 'Milky way', Musa laterita. Musa 'african red, Musa velutina, raja puri (2),

I think that is it-I may be forgetting some...lol.Not all of these are cold hardy and I need to get a few more that I know are worth trying.

Citra, FL

Wow....how bout some pictures?

Fulton, MO

TL, how tall is your Dwarf Orinoco? It is supposed to fruit by the time it reached 6-7 feet. I have one, planted it in a spot that should accomodate it's 6 foot height. The darn thing has the LONGEST leaf shoots...they go straight up, right into the greenhouse ceiling. I have had to start pulling the leaf shoots over with twine and manually unfurling the leaves so that they don't fold over and break. I better get fruit soon or this banana's a gonner!


Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

SB, all my bananas are small-just started with them this April and I will not get any activity from them, I wouldn't think, for a year or two in the way of producing fruit. I think that bananas have to be mature ( I think thats the key-not just actively growing) for at least 9 months-longer for some variaties. How long has yours been large?

Everglades, FL(Zone 10a)

I love my banana trees and have about 10 varieties growing, thanks to Ebay. Those little ebay ones will be big before you know it! I tried to do the rhisome cultivation but had no success.

I still have many in pots to plant- I live on a coral rock shelf UNDER sea level so I have to use a chipping hammer to get a hole thru the rock then build a raised bed and fill it with good dirt to plant anything here. It's hard work and very time consuming.

The pigpen was close to my potted plant area so I neglected it pretty bad and everything needs tending to- weeded, planted or repotted. The pigs (and flies) are gone now so I can get started.

Our dirt road is about a half mile long- I want to do banana tree and EE clusters on the sides of the road to really make things tropical looking.

I also have a super dwarf Cavendish- it's been in the ground about 2 years and can't be more than 18" tall!

I have several banana beds and the one that is doing the best is the one that I put horse manure around last summer.

Port Charlotte, FL

I'm giving a lecture on growing bananas here in Charlotte County, Fl next month; I'm a master gardener and my forte is growing bananas here in a 9a climate.....trick is to avoid frost damage, to obtain a "substantial" bunch; I have a method where I lay water on them from a occilating sprinkler when a frost threatens....(I have a well, so its not expensive). this method has worked well for me and allowed my plants to persevere without cold stress. However if a freeze happens (and rarely it does)...all bets are off!

Everglades, FL(Zone 10a)

So basically, Nick you are doing the citrus freeze thing. Lots of water. Our ground water is substancially warmer than our air in the winter but we have no sprinkler system. Never got to try it. Well, yes we do- it's me with a hose. I am south of you but in 9a, can you do smudge pots? I believe it isn't the cold air- it is the chilling wind. How about wind barriers? Mine are cool- I covered them with chicken wire then grew loofa on them. Never lost a plant in that area.

I am out in the grassy plains of the Glades and when we have a cold snap it comes in hard.. we also try to put out vehicles if possible in the line of fire to block the wind which seems to be worse than just the temp.

As for an oscillating sprinkler that goes round and round... you get even as much as a breeze on the "not here for water" time and there can be a chill. The water is thin and cools fast. If it gets bad we burn fires in the citrus lines. It cuts the dampness and adds a bit of heat. Just gotta make friends with the local FD.

People up North talk about wrapping their bananas in chicken wire and stuffing that with hay. I guess cool if you have livestock to re-coop the cost.

Scripps Ranch, (San , CA(Zone 9b)

I have an Ice Cream banana tree in my yard and loves warm weather. However, it recently stopped growing for the winter. The plants are so so beautiful and striking. They will not grow if the temp. is below 50 degrees but the Ice Cream variety will survive until the temperture goes below 28 degrees. I was wondering if anyone knows what the white powder that occurs on the stalk and leaves is. Good luck with your banana plants everyone!

Los Altos, CA

I have a Raja Puri. Does anyone have any hints on how to get bananas to ripen faster? Mine have been green since end of August. It is starting to get into the 40s at night. In another few weeks it might freeze, and then I will lose the tree and the fruit. I am hoping to pick them before a heavy frost.

Winter tips: I have mine planted close to the house. It needs 19 months or so to get to where it fruits (then it dies back and starts over). The first winter in the cycle, I attach heavy clear greenhouse poly cover to the eaves of the house over the plant, and make a mini-greenhouse for it. It is next to my bathroom window, so the window is inside the cover and I leave the window open on cold nights to heat the "greenhouse" a bit. On really cold nights, I also fill a painter's 10 gallon bucket with hot water and set it under the plastic. In my northern California winter, just a few degrees can make the difference between freezing and not freezing.

By the second winter, it should have already made bananas, and it is too big to cover anyway. So it dies back because it fruited, or dies back because it gets too cold.

Any advice on getting green bananas to ripen is greatly appreciated!!

Thumbnail by kmhughes
Everglades, FL(Zone 10a)

Edited for lack of morning brain function.

We hang our bananas on the porch to ripen but I just saw on a cooking show that you can put green bananas in a bag with an apple and it gives off something (methane gas?) that ripens the bananas faster.

I looked around and I don't have any white powder on any banana trees. I don't know what it could be.

This message was edited Nov 2, 2006 1:57 PM

Gilbert, AZ

Banana lovers
I live in Az and have a 3 foot banana tree. It is now starting to turn brown leaves but three little ones are coming up. I have no idea what to do with this thing. Still some new growth in the center of big one. Also, I have this in a pot. Any help would be appreicated.

Everglades, FL(Zone 10a)

As long as you have new healthy leaves coming out- sounds good to me. My bottom leaves also die off but 3 at a time? That would scare me. Is your pot big enough? Do you fertilize?
I can only give you moral support as a fellow banana lover- I have 12 species, some in pots but I am no expert. How about d-mailing nickmccann?
Chin up tho- those new leaves show your banana is fine!

Sunset Beach, NC(Zone 8a)

I think most bananas take 100-130 days to ripen so maybe you'll make it. I'd leave them on as long as you can before you get a freeze then cut them and hang them someplace like a laundry room or somewhere.

Cyberageous is correct about using the apple in the brown bag (this works for peaches also), but I'd sure stretch it as long as possible before you do that since the growth on mom is important.


Everglades, FL(Zone 10a)

I am so excited! This is the first year my banana bunches didn't get blown away with a hurricane. I have never got to eat an ice cream banana before and am really looking forward to it. I didn't get an other fruiting banana trees this year tho. Don't know why. They are my oldest trees, too.

Jacksonville, FL

I enjoyed reading your post up above.I live in Jacksonville,Fl I have several banana trees,my dwarf banana flowered this year,this was its 2nd year,last year it did freeze during the winter,but not to the ground,it resprouted from the trunk and flowered,I was amazed when I saw it,I have taken lots of pictures and will be glad to post them if anyone is interested in seeing them.I hope we dont get an early freeze in North Florida,I really want my bananas to slightly ripen before I pick them,they are already pointing upwards.

Everglades, FL(Zone 10a)

Keith, I would love to see your bananas! My dwarfs have never bloomed!

Los Altos, CA

I picked my bananas just after Thanksgiving (2 days before it got down to 31F overnight). I cut the banana stalk off the tree and trimmed it to just include the good-sized fruit. It has been sitting in a box (it was too big to fit in a bag, and I thought they might do better if I left the "hands" on the main stalk) with several apples and some overripe store-bought bananas. They still look awfully green. Hmmm...

But thanks for all your advice! If they ever ripen, I'll let you all know!

Everglades, FL(Zone 10a)

I am up to 5 bunches of bananas on my ice creams. I feel blessed.

Citra, FL

I have a nice couple of bunches on mine, but it doesnt seem they are ripening at all. They are not very big and kinda.....squished looking, not plump and round. Do I still have a chance of them ripening?

Everglades, FL(Zone 10a)

Mine sound like yours, halo. I hear they take a long time. This is the first time I have had bananas get this far- the hurricanes took them out last 2 years. I don't even know how big they get.

Citra, FL

Well, Im certainly willing to wait. Hopefully they'll make it thru whatever winter we have left. They are fun to watch!

Houston, TX

nickmccann, If you give lectures on banana plants, please answer this: I live in Houston, & want to grow a tall banana for landscaping purposes.Can you suggest one - the ones I have are about 9ft.. Am interested in 12-14 ft. Also, will they grow from small pieces of a root- a friend was willing to share, but the shoots were lodged between pvc water pipes, so was only able to get some root pieces.Thanks

Mandeville, LA(Zone 9a)

Does anyone know of a good mail order source (other than ebay) for bananas? I am looking for an ice cream banana and also a pink velvet banana. Thanks.

Little Elm, TX

I have a few left. They are about 8" - 10" tall right now....they grow very fast so they might be bigger by the time you read this...LOL. Anyway, if you are interested email me at [email protected] This is just a hobby for us so we sell them cheap ( 3 for $15 plus $6 for the shipping ). Check around online....this is about 1/2 of what other people charge...but again...its more of a hobby than business. :)

Mandeville, LA(Zone 9a)

I got two on ebay but they aren't looking too spiffy. Will keep your info. THANKS!

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