ananas are large, herbaceous plants which grow
very quickly and provide a decidedly tropical
appearance to home landscapes. The rapid growth
and tropical appearance are responsible for the
increased popularity of banana plants in Texas.
Propagation of bananas is by suckers, which are
produced profusely at the base of each plant.
Preferred sucker size for transplanting is 3 to 4
inches in diameter, but other sizes are successful.
The leaves may be trimmed off at transplanting, or
the top may be cut off 1 to 2 feet above ground.
Container-grown banana plants are simply transplanted
Bananas require good
watering and fertilization; the latter can be either
nitrogen alone or a complete balanced fertilizer.
Some suckers may be cut off at or below ground if
the clump gets too large for the area.
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There are a number of varieties of bananas, including
cooking types, fresh types, and ornamentals.
Many of the banana plants sold in retail nurseries
are of unknown variety. As ornamentals only, it
does not really matter whether the variety is known
-- only whether it is of standard (tall) size or dwarf.
Banana plants are quite sensitive to frosts and are
readily killed back to the ground in very light
freezes. Normally, new suckers will grow back the
There are virtually no pests that
cause extensive damage to bananas. The most
common problem is tattering of the leaves due to
wind. Lower leaves which hang down the trunk can
be cut off if desired.
Fruiting of bananas will normally require 10 to 15
months from the time a sucker emerges. Consequently,
fruiting does not usually occur in frostprone
areas, as the plants keep getting killed back
to the ground. However, heavy fruiting occurs in
most frost-free areas and in other areas following a
particularly mild winter.
The fruit stem normally
requires 3 to 4 months to mature following its
appearance. However, do not expect the bananas to
turn yellow on the stalk. Maturity is achieved when
the individual bananas become full and rounded,
after which they can be cut and hung or placed in a
warm area to ripen to good eating quality. Once a
stalk of bananas begins to ripen, the entire stalk will
ripen in a few days.