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nafex - Re: [NAFEX] Bananas

Subject: North American Fruit Explorers mailing list at ibiblio

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  • From: Claude Sweet <>
  • To: Mike Levine <>, North American Fruit Explorers <>
  • Cc:
  • Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Bananas
  • Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2003 15:41:19 -0800


Allowing the plant to sucker diverts energy that would otherwise produce the flower stalk.

Commercial growers can time the emergence of the flower stalk and fruit harvest by removing suckers until a specific date they have established for their region. This method is reported by growers in Israel who aim for a marketing window. They select a single sucker that has reached a specific height for flowering and remove all others except for a small replacement for the following season.

I can attest to the fact that both container plants and those that are planted directly in the ground need to have suckers removed to promote flowering. The larger cultivars have a direct relationship between the number of leaves that emerge from the stalk and the emergence of the flower stalk which represents the end of the terminal growth.

This should also hold true for the smaller dwarf selections and container grown bananas.

Eventually a clumps of banana stalks will flower, but there is a considerable delay, especially in plants that do not have a climate or horticultural practices that promotes a uniform and constant pattern of growth throughout the year.

If my memory is correct, fruit growers do not select suckers that have narrow leaves as they do not flower as soon as those with broader leaves. Nurseries are likely to remove all of the suckers that are produced because they have different motivations (profit from plant sales - not fruit sales).

Claude Sweet
San Diego, CA

Mike Levine wrote:

However, getting back to bananas I am interested in hearing more about
varieties that can be used as potted plants. Thanks everyone for the
suggestions and advice. I think I'll be ordering a Raji Puri for next
season. I gave a banana to a friend with a greenhouse 2 years ago (variety
unknown, but maybe some sort of Jamaican red type) and it still hasn't
flowered. I don't think he has fertilized it much, but it seems healthy and
has a bunch of little sports at the base. What can I tell him to do to
induce it to flower? Also, when is the best time to divide them?

Mike Levine
Ann Arbor, MI
Zone 5b

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