culinary muscari - (Bananas)

Christine Council
Wed, 11 Feb 2009 20:42:29 PST
I am in Suburban Philadelphia.  Everyone has been so helpful and I do
appreciate it because I often give Banana plants for gifts because they make
good conversation pieces.  I once had a banana plant that belonged to some
one else and I took care of it for a few weeks on Winter but I didn't tell
anybody that it was not my plant. Everybody had questions about it but all I
could say was that it was a banana plant.  That was probably the tip off
that I had no idea of what I was doing.

-----Original Message-----
From: []
On Behalf Of Lee Poulsen
Sent: Tuesday, February 10, 2009 11:52 PM
To: Pacific Bulb Society
Subject: Re: [pbs] culinary muscari - (Bananas)

Chris, you don't say where you live. Since how to grow something (or 
whether it can even be grown at all) usually depends on the climate of 
one's location, that's why it's important to put your location after 
your signature. In any case, since you're with earthlink, I'm assuming 
you're in the U.S.

The only places where it can easily be grown outside year round are 
coastal and southern Calif., Florida, and warmest parts of Arizona and 
deep South Texas. It will also survive outside in the Gulf Coast states, 
and even fruit in some years, esp. the last 10 or so years when winters 
have been much milder than they have been historically (except for maybe 
this winter...). Since they grow from corms, there are many varieties 
and a few species that will lose their tops whenever there is a severe 
enough freeze pretty much anything below about 30° or 31° F. However, as 
long as the ground never freezes, the corms will sprout new plants the 
following spring. The problem is that it can take as long as 18 months 
to grow, flower and ripen a bunch of bananas, so every time the top 
freezes, you have to start the clock all over again. One of the things 
that banana hobbyists in these areas look for are the relatively few 
varieties that can grow, flower, and ripen in 9 or 10 months. One newly 
talked about variety that supposedly does this is 'Viente Cohol'. I 
haven't yet gotten one to try, and in my climate most winters it doesn't 
get below freezing, so it's not as important a characteristic for me. I 
think another such variety is 'Raja Puri', which is fairly short in 
height for a banana.

Even in such places, some people dig up the plant and wrap and store it 
in a cool frost-free garage and replant it the following spring to try 
and fruit them. Or if you live where it's too cold to grow them outside 
year round, you can try the dwarfs. Dwarf is considered to be around 6-8 
feet, but the spread of the leaves is fairly broad and they need lots of 
sunlight. There is one variety that is much dwarfer and smaller than the 
typical dwarf types and it only gets about 3-4 feet tall. It is called 
by various names including 'Super Dwarf' and 'Novak'. And it fruits, but 
it doesn't appreciate cool weather in my experience. So if you're going 
to grow a banana in a greenhouse or inside and you don't have a lot of 
room, this might be your best choice.

They're all going to need a fairly large pot since the corms are large 
and they form clumps and start offsetting almost right away. They also 
need quite a bit of water during the growing season and they respond 
well to lots of feeding/fertilizing.

You can find lots of places that sell various varieties of bananas, but 
one place you might check out as a starting point that specializes in 
bananas is Going Bananas 

Hope this was helpful. Reading through the posts at the site Michael 
gave you will be even more helpful I'm sure.

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena, California, USDA Zone 10a

Michael Thompson wrote:
> Christine,
> Here is a link to the international banana society

> It's really a very cool and informative site..
> Later
> Michael
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Christine Council" <>
>> Hi,
>> This is way off topic but I can't find anybody to ask other than the nice
>> people in this group.  What can you tell me about growing banana plants?
>> I love to eat bananas but I have not had much luck growing them.  I have
>> tried to grow the corms, the bush and the trees.  Please help me. I would
>> like to eat some home grown bananas before my time is up. I haven't been
>> writing to the group because of illness but I try to read and learn
>> Thanks,
>> Chris Council
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