Banana Questions

I have been thinking lately that I might like to try growing a banana plant or two, but I have some limiting factors to deal with, and I don’t know much about bananas. So I would like some advice from banana experts on whether what I am envisioning is even possible…

First of all, the banana(s) will have to be in containers of 20-25 gallon size, because I have no room to plant them in-ground. So they will need to be able to stay somewhat small and still produce bananas.

I would be looking for varieties that produce dessert bananas (as opposed to plantains) that are different from the bananas you buy in the store, so no Cavendish. A long time ago I was able to visit a banana plantation and got to taste different kinds of bananas. To the best of my recollection, there were two varieties that I really liked. I think they might have been called ‘ice cream’ and ‘lady finger’, or something like that.

I’m in USDA zone 10a, so I don’t need ones that are especially cold hardy.

Are there any banana experts out there that can give me some guidance on whether I should try this, what varieties to look for, and where to buy them?

Thanks in advance :slightly_smiling_face:

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Well, since no one weighed in on this and I am a woman of action :grin:, I went ahead and ordered a couple of plants. They are musa 'Double Mahoi" and ‘Sumatrana x Cross’, which is apparently a Zebrina/Gran Nain cross. I really wanted Dwarf Namwa, but it was out of stock where I ordered (Florida Hills Nursery). It was pretty hard to even find an online supplier that had a selection of varieties and could ship to CA.

So I guess we’ll see how it goes when the plants get here. Maybe I can order Dwarf Namwa later if they do well.

Sorry, just saw your thread! 20-25 gal containers should be sufficient to grow bananas, just make sure to control the number of pups that spring up (ie only keep 1 pup, remove the others.) I really do not know too much about the various banana varieties, but here are a couple of other resources for you:

This is a good forum:
http://www.bananas.org/

Jon’s website is a treasure of different varietal descriptions as well as banana care:
http://webebananas.com/bvar-A-B.html

I’m not sure if he’s still actively selling bananas, but its a fun (if dated) site to explore.

Best of luck!

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@CA_Poppy,
I have eaten lot of bananas but has not grown one as it’s too cold where I live (6 a). I know we have a few people who grow edible bananas in this forum such as @Richard

Anyway, what caught my eyes is when you mentioned Florida Hill nursery. It does not have a very good reputation. If you google Scoop on + the name of the nursery, a garden watchdog site, Dave’s Garden will show its result.

You can do such Scoop on with most nurseries before you buy trees from them. I hope you get the correct banana varieties.

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@CA_Poppy,
In the Reference category of this forum, it lists the following nurseries that sell tropical trees/plants.

Primarily Tropicals

If you would like to buy other fruit tree, please use the Reference section and go to the nursery list, you will find the nurseries people here have bought from and like them.

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@mamuang, thank you for the info. I did just buy a nice citrus tree from Four Winds Growers a couple of weeks ago, but banana plants are a lot more difficult to find than citrus, at least if you want to order online and have them shipped. I checked Garden Watchdog before ordering from Florida Hill, and decided to order from them anyway after consdering the nature of the negative reviews and their prices. All together with shipping, my two banana plants cost less than $30, so if it turns out to be a total loss it’s not going to break me. I would have preferred to buy from Going Bananas which has a very good rating, but I wasn’t able to ascertain whether they do shipping. In any case, their website says they are closed until further notice.

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Regarding Florida Hill, I bought some figs and bananas from them, will never purchase from them again. They came in severely stressed, tiny roots, and the figs were covered with rust. So much for disease free…Having said that, I was able to nurse them back to health just fine but had the price been any higher than they were on sale I would have been pretty angry. Just my experience w/ them

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Florida hill is notorious for sending out the wrong plants I doubt you got the bananas you ordered.

Try wellspring gardens for tiny tissue culture or goingnananas which is temporary closed because of virus

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Larry, @Richard’s colleague owns this nursery. I bought from there before and it was a good decision.

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@ammoun, thanks for that info. I took a look at their website. They had the dwarf namwa in stock, so I ordered one.

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Richard hasn’t been around much recently

He was on OurFigs about 5 days ago, but you’re right, he has not been too active here recently or on Bananas.org.

I hope all is well.

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The banana plants from both nurseries arrived day-before-yesterday. Both packages were carefully packed and the plants looked nice. I cannot speak to whether they are all the correct variety because as a novice I wouldn’t even know the difference. Hopefully I can get them to grow and produce some bananas.

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Wish you the best of luck with your banana plants. I got dwarf cavendish, Namwah and double Mahoi bananas. I received them at the end of June and they are growing amazing. They are around 5’ to 6’ tall.