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Posted by Mike G on August 23, 2002 at 21:01:27:

In Reply to: banana trees posted by Teri on August 12, 2002 at 11:54:35:


Maybe no bananas because "...there are many varieties from dwarf types to over some over 30 feet in height. There are also ornamental bananas.

Cutting stems pushes food to the main three stems which you hope will fruit. If you allow more stems, you end up with too much foliage and not enough food for fruiting. Even if you feed super heavily, you will end up with a very congested mass of stems and not much more fruit.

Critical to quality >>> Use a high potassium fertilizer when you feed. You have been told that bananas are great for your health because of their potassium content, which is true, so feed them potassium. Keep the nirtogen content low. Feed organically if you can but use chemical fertilizers as well for maximum production.

Your banana will eventually start forming "hands" of fruit (just like you see in your grocery store). The fingers will be small at first. As the fruit matures, the fingers get fatter, but stay green. As the hands get longer and fatter, the flower keeps opening. At some point, no more hands form. You can cut off the flowering stem below where no more hands are forming.

The size of your fruits will be substantially determined by the variety of your banana. However, the size and number of fruits are determined over the course of a full year of growth. If you feed and watered well (right from the beginning), you may get close to 100 eatable bananas at harvest time. If you skimped, you may get 20-25 fruits. Feed well for best appearance, maximum fruit numbers and taste and quality.

Your last job is to cut off ther whole "mother" stem from which you got your bananas. It will never again give you fruit. If you do nothing, it will just rot and die. Cut if off (with a large knife) and put the parts into your composter or on the soil at your banana patch for more mulch.

Now your medium stalk will be next to bear fruit" (master gardener Karl).

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Special thanks to Jane and Bob Rosi for providing this information.

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