After Marsha’s write up on How to grow Bougainvillea this week, our first tropical garden question came in about planting bananas. 🙂 I do not have any fruit trees in my yard, but have a few friends who do and I think it is a great idea to supplement your shopping. One friend who lives up north has Avocado trees in his yard, a great way around the illegal avocado season – haha. To read a funny thread on illegal Mexican avocados click the following link: Ambergriscaye.com Belize forum and look for SF Jeff’s reply to my avocado question. It’s very funny and so true at certain times of the year. My friend Dennis and I have been “secret backroom” avocado shopping on Ambergris Caye a few times.
Planting Banana Trees
Can you tell me the best way to go about planting banana trees in my yard?
I was thinking to go with 4 – 6 ft tall plants to start with.
What type of soil is best?
I have heard that banana trees are not supposed to be planted near plantains and that grey water is ok for them, is this true?
Thanks in advance for your answer.
I added my 2 cents at the end of John’s question – how do you tell the difference between banana and plantain trees.
How to Grow a Banana Tree
In answer to your questions on banana tree care, yes bananas love gray water but not any with much bleach. Be aware; they will spread on their own and can interfere with any plumbing in the area with their roots. Over the years they will take OVER a large area.
For planting, three foot high plants would be the max. Any higher and all you have to do is get a sharp machete and chop off the stalk about 2 to 2.5′ from the base and it will start to grow immediately from the center doing no harm. Once a banana has fruited it will produce no more bunches and must be cut down to ground level. Others will be popping up to replace that one around the same area.
Soil, well 1/2 black dirt and 1/2 sand will work fine to a depth of about 18″ for best results. They sometimes do grow just in the sand.
The way to tell the difference between a banana and a plantain is by the “skin” on its trunk. Bananas have some brown “streaks” in the skin and plantains are a much darker brown or black.
Cross-pollination is possible and over the years it may happen so do your best to keep them as far away from each other as possible but, pollen is everywhere.