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nafex - Re: [NAFEX] Bananas

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  • From: "Doreen Howard" <>
  • To: "North American Fruit Explorers" <>
  • Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Bananas
  • Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2003 12:20:08 -0600

I, too, grow bananas in pots; I'm located at the Wisconsin--Illinois border
in Zone 5a. I also grew them in pots in Zone 4b in Wisconsin. That said, I
also grew bananas in the ground in Zone 9b along the upper Texas Gulf Coast.
So, I have some knowledge. I've never had any disease problems in the
ground or in containers. I attribute this to the fact that I mulched the
in-ground plants heavily with compost and the potted bananas sit in a mix
that is 1/3 compost.

In pots, it takes a banana longer to fruit than if they are in the ground.
To speed this, I take a 2-year-old plant (two years and winters in a
container) and stick it in the ground in mid-May. I place it in a
south-facing area that is flooded with sun and I mulch lightly with compost.
I usually can get a flower pod by mid August. Temperatures below 50F will
stop any plant growth, so be prepared to dig up the flowering plant and pot
it in mid September or so. The containers go in my sunroom with
supplemental light. Fruit yield is NOT as heavy as it is in the ground.
Also, you have to hand pollinate each flower to get fruit indoors.
Outdoors, insects, butterflies and hummingbirds do the job. I've read about
people who have build shelters around their bananas in the ground to produce
more heat until the pollination job is finished. I may try that this year.

About the varieties you have ordered.....they are all good eating except the
Dwarf Orinoco. It's probably the most cold-tolerant of the three and will
flower first, but it's a starchy banana suitable for cooking only.

Good Luck!
Doreen Howard
IL, Zone 5a, where we had snow flurries last night

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