How to propagate bananas?

How To Divide A Banana Tree: Information On Banana Plant Splitting

Like most fruit trees, a banana plant sends out suckers. With grafted fruit trees, it is recommended that you prune and discard the suckers, but banana plant suckers (called “pups”) can be split from the parent plant and grown as new plants. Continue reading to learn how to divide a banana tree.

Banana Plant Splitting

In time, whether your banana plant is container grown or grown in ground, it will send out banana plant pups. Container grown banana plants may sucker as a sign of stress, from being pot bound, under watered or unhappy for some other reason. Sending out suckers is their way of trying to survive conditions that they are struggling in. The new pups will grow new roots that can suck up more water and nutrients for the parent plant. New pups can also begin to grow to replace a dying parent plant.

Oftentimes though, a perfectly healthy banana plant will produce pups just because reproducing is a part of nature. When your banana plant sends out suckers, it is a good idea to examine the parent plant for signs of stress, disease or insects. You should also examine the roots of container grown banana plants to see if they are pot bound.

How to Divide a Banana Tree

After examination of the parent plant and root structure, you may choose to divide banana plant pups from the parent plant. Separating banana plants will give both the new pups and the parent plant a better chance at survival, as the new pups can take away water and nutrients from the parent plant causing it to die back.

Dividing banana plants should be done only when the pup being divided has grown to at least a foot tall. By that point, the pup should have developed its own roots so that it is not depending solely on the parent plant for survival. Pups that are removed from the parent plant before they develop their own roots are not likely to survive.

To separate banana plants, gently remove the soil around the plant’s roots and sucker. When the soil is removed, you can make sure that the pup you are dividing is growing its own roots. If not, put the soil back and give it more time. If the pup has nice roots of its own growing separate from the parent plant, you can divide it and plant it as a new banana plant.

With a clean, sharp knife, cut the banana plant pup off of the parent plant. Be careful not to cut any of the roots of the banana pup. Once cut, gently separate the roots of the parent plant and the banana plant pup. Try to get as much of the pup’s roots as you can. Then simply plant this new pup in a container or in the ground.

Your new banana plants may wilt a little for the first week or two but will usually recover. Using a rooting fertilizer when dividing banana plants can help reduce the stress and shock of division. Also, water your new banana plants and the parent plant deeply and frequently after splitting to promote strong root development.

La Palmeraie gb

Exotic gardens have been very popular in recent years. A banana plant should certainly not be missing in such a garden. Banana plants grow quickly and become an ideal eye-catcher. They create this typical ‘tropics’ feeling. Banana plants are therefore more and more often part of the standard assortment of local garden centres.
Growing bananas yourself is of course also possible and even much more fun. The seeds are easy to obtain via the internet. But they are not easy to germinate, this method requires a great deal of patience. From the most popular banana plant, the Musa basjoo (Japanese fiber banana), no seeds are available. A much simpler way of propagating is to cut the offshoots. This method is also used by banana farmers. After all, it is fast and simple and gives immediate results. This step-by-step plan explains this technique in a simple way.

Offshoots

Banana plants make rhizomes. This means that at the foot of the banana plant small offshoots come above the ground. Usually this only happens when the root ball has reached a certain volume. First, the plant will always ensure a good development of its own root ball. Then the plant itself will start to grow and afterwards the offshoots will be formed. You can cut off these offshoots and transplant or replant them.

The method in 5 steps:

Step 1

First of all, the offshoot must be large enough so that sufficient roots are formed to survive. A good guideline is between 20-50cm ( 78 in – 1 ft 7 in) (depending on the species).

If you have rootless offshoots you can try to put them on water. They may form roots after all!

Step 2

Carefully dig away the soil around the offshoot. This way you can verify whether it has sufficient roots, and you can see better where you can cut. You can also decide to take the plant completely out of its pot but this is not necessary.

Step 3

Cut off the shoot with a sharp knife, as close to the mother plant as possible.

Step 4

Plant the cutting again in the garden or preferably in a pot with seeding and cutting soil.

Step 5
As soon as the offshoot start to grow again, fertilize and water for optimal growth. As soon as the cutting has a healthy root system, it can be planted in the garden again.

© La Palmeraie
Special thanks to TropiRo for the photos.

Question:
I am concerned about the banana plants in the yard of our recently purchased home. We have over twenty-five ten to twenty foot banana trees in our back yard and our atrium that is surrounded by the slab of our house. Can the roots of these banana trees damage the house slab? Can the roots of these banana trees damage the walls of our swimming pool in the back yard? The banana plants are growing beyond the pool apron of concrete surrounding the pool about ten feet from the sides of the pool. We like their appearance but are concerned about their potential damage to our pool and house structure! I know that there are many varieties of banana plants. Ours seem to be all of the common ornamental variety that one buys at any nursery here in the Houston area. What growing zone are we in- here in the Houston area? If the banana plants are not harmful, what are their general care and maintenance guidelines?

Answer:
Banana plants are overgrown herbs growing from a corn and are not trees. Their root system is composed of fibrous roots and pose no danger to pool or house. See this PLANTanswers Web site for an article on growing bananas:
aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu…
This is what it says about their culture: “Culture – Weed and grass competition should be eliminated prior to planting. Mulching is useful to prevent weed regrowth, but turfgrass may need to be controlled by hoeing or with herbicides. Irrigation should be applied periodically to thoroughly wet the soil. Avoid standing water, as bananas do not tolerate overly wet conditions. Fertilization requirements under Texas conditions have not been researched. However, it is reasonable to presume that nitrogen will be the only limiting nutrient in most situations. For new plants, one quarter cup of ammonium sulfate (21-0-0), watered in, after the plant commences regrowth should be applied monthly for the first three to four months. The rate can be increased over time to two cups per month when fruiting begins. Established plantings of several plants together should receive about two cups of ammonium sulfate every couple of months throughout the year.
Cold protection of the top is possible by use of coverings and heat sources, but such is not often practical. However, in colder locations, soil can be banked around the trunk just before a projected cold spell to better protect the underground buds, which will allow the plant to regenerate in the coming spring. Unprotected but well-established bananas across South Texas, with some exceptions, regenerated after both the ’83 and ’89 freezes. Some people dig the entire plant, rhizome and all, remove the leaves and store the plant, dry, in a heated area over winter. To assure survival, it is easier to dig small suckers, severed very close to the parent rhizome, and pot them for overwintering indoors. Pruning is normally practiced only to provide suckers for propagation, as most banana plantings are allowed to grow freely in mats of several plants of varying age and size. For fruit production, some pruning would be desirable to limit the number of plants per mat to 5 or 6. Suckers can be quickly dispatched with a sharpshooter or machete when they are only a few inches tall; however, the sucker must be severed from its mother plant underground.
After fruiting, the mother plant which bore should be cut off near ground level, as it can never produce again. The old trunk will quickly decompose if cut into three or four pieces, with each piece then being split lengthwise. Use the remains in a mulch bed or compost heap. After a major cold period in which there is no doubt that bananas were killed to the ground, cut the plants off at ground level within a couple of weeks of the freeze. Dead bananas are not very attractive and they are much easier to cut off before decomposition starts. Tattered older leaves can be removed after they break and hang down along the trunk.

By Dan Gill, LSU AgCenter horticulturist and Times-Picayune gardening columnist

Large, green, drape-like leaves on tall trunks make banana plants an important part of tropical New Orleans landscapes. Last winter was unusually mild, even by New Orleans standards, and many trees are producing bananas.

Most of the large banana trees here grow edible fruit. The size, shape and quality of the fruit, however, varies greatly from tree to tree. If the bananas your tree produces are not sweet enough for fresh eating, try using them in a recipe and adding a little sugar.

There have been no variety trials to see which named banana varieties would be best. Feel free to choose based on flavor and other preferred characteristics.

Don’t Eat This

We also grow several types of ornamental bananas that do not produce edible fruit. The dwarf banana (Musa ornata) produces upright spikes of small flowers with attractive pinkish purple bracts. The red banana (Musa coccinea) produces attractive spikes of fiery red. And the pink velvet banana (Musa velutina) produces clusters of small, pink fruit with a velvety skin. All of these ornamental bananas are smaller growing than typical bananas.

Flowering and fruiting

Banana flowers usually begin to appear in April, May or June. Many trees bloomed early this year due to the warm late winter and spring.

The flowers are produced on a long, pendulous stalk with dusky purple bracts. The first clusters of flowers are all female, and they develop into the fruit. This occurs without pollination, and the fruit is seedless. The clusters of fruit are called “hands.” A number of hands form on each stalk, and all together they are called a bunch.

Once the bunch is set, the flowering stalk will continue to bloom and lengthen, but only male flowers are produced, and no more bananas will form. You may allow the flower stalk to grow or cut it off just below the bunch of developing bananas.

Bananas generally take four to six months for fruit to reach full size after flowering, depending on temperature, variety, moisture and culture practices. Typically, there is a slight yellow tint to the fruit as it reaches maturity. The color change may be so slight that it is hard to see.

The fruit generally will look smoother or plumper as it ripens, changing from square or sharp angular shape in cross section to a more rounded shape.

Fruit should be harvested when full sized but green, because the fruit will often split if left on the plant until fully ripe. You can harvest a cluster (hand) at a time. Put them in a plastic bag with an apple to ripen and turn yellow.

Or the entire fruit stalk could be cut and hung in a shady place to complete ripening. Green bananas will ripen very reliably after they are picked. Even very young green fruit will ripen.

Should freezing temperatures threaten to occur while the bananas are still on the tree, you must harvest the entire bunch whether they are full size or not. Bananas exposed to freezing temperatures will be ruined. Hang the stalk of green bananas in a warm, protected location, and the fruit will ripen.

Because of the early spring, it’s likely most bananas will develop fully this year before freezes threaten.

Banana tree care

Banana plants are easy to grow in any soil and are not affected by major insect or disease problems.

Bananas need to be planted in a spot that receives direct sun for at least half a day or more. Also, they are large plants that require plenty of room to spread. This needs to be taken into consideration before you include them in your landscape.

Locate banana plantings well away from property lines (6 to 10 feet), as their ability to spread may cause problems to neighbors who do not want them in their yard. Promptly remove any banana shoots that show up where they are not wanted. It’s not hard to keep bananas under control, but it does require regular attention.

Getting fruit

The banana is not a true tree; it is a giant herbaceous plant. Botanically, this means that none of its parts ever become woody like true trees.

The main stem of the banana plant is a large rhizome that grows horizontally underground. The shoots that we think of as “trees” grow up from this underground stem. What we call the “trunk” is actually the base of the leaves of a shoot tightly wrapped together. It’s properly called a pseudostem (false stem).

The flower stalk of the banana originates from a growing point of the rhizome down at ground level. This means that it starts growing inside the pseudostem at ground level and must grow up through the pseudostem to emerge from the top among the leaves. (The leaves grow up this way as well.)

In our area, a banana tree must survive at least one winter before the flower stalk will emerge and bloom the next year.

If you are interested in fruit production, you must keep this in mind. Do not arbitrarily cut down your trees during the winter when the foliage turns brown. Typically, we just remove the dead foliage when freezes kill the leaves. It takes temperatures in the teens to kill the trunks.

If a trunk is killed by the cold, it will look brown, feel mushy, feel loose in the soil and will bleed a lot if punctured. If a trunk does not sprout and grow by May, it should be removed.

If they survive the winter, the large trunks will produce flowers and fruit the next summer. Once a banana tree flowers and its fruit has been harvested, you may cut it down to the ground to make room for new, productive trees to grow up from the creeping underground stem. Each individual tree will only flower and bear fruit once.

Banana trees are as much a part of the tropical look of south Louisiana as palms. We are fortunate to live in one of the few places on the continental U.S. where, with proper care and mild winters, these beautiful plants will produce delicious fruit.

Dan Gill is a horticulturist with the LSU AgCenter. Email questions to [email protected] or add them to the comment section below.

Follow his stories at www.nola.com/homegarden, on Facebook and @nolahomegarden on Instagram.

Thread: How to kill and remove a Banana Tree??

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Banana trees are a common feature in New Orleans area landscapes. They are primarily grown for the tropical look they bring with their enormous leaves waving in the summer breezes.

SUSAN POAG / THE TIMES-PICAYUNEBoy Scout Roy Messina plants a banana tree on the perimeter of the parking lot fence at Holy Name of Mary Church in Algiers in 2010. Then the real work started.

In addition to their large, attractive foliage, most of the large-growing banana trees here also produce edible fruit. The size, shape and quality of the fruit, however, may vary greatly from tree to tree. If the bananas your tree produces are not sweet enough for fresh eating, try using them in a recipe and adding a little extra sugar.

We also grow several types of ornamental bananas that do not produce edible fruit. The dwarf banana (Musa ornata) produces upright spikes of small flowers with attractive pinkish purple bracts. The red banana (Musa coccinia) produces very attractive spikes of fiery red. And, the pink velvet banana (Musa velutina) produces clusters of small, pink fruit with a velvety skin. All of these ornamental bananas are smaller growing than typical bananas. Do not eat these!

The flowers of bananas usually begin to appear in April, May or June and are produced on a long, pendulous stalk with dusky purple bracts. The first clusters of flowers are female and they develop into the fruit. This occurs without pollination and the fruit are seedless. The clusters of fruit are called hands. A number of hands form on each stalk, and all together they are called a bunch.

Once the bunch is set, the flowering stalk will continue to bloom and lengthen, but only male flowers are produced and no more bananas will form. You may allow the flower stalk to grow or cut it off just below the bunch of developing bananas.

Bananas will generally take four to six months for fruit to reach full size after flowering, depending on temperature, variety, moisture and culture practices. There is normally a slight yellow tint to the fruit as it reaches maturity. The color change may be so slight that it is hard to see. The fruit will generally look smoother or plump as it ripens, changing from square or sharp angular shape in cross section to a more rounded shape.

Fruit should be harvested when full-sized but green, because the fruit will often split if left on the plant until fully ripe. The fruit stalk should be cut and hung in a shady place to complete ripening. Green bananas will ripen very reliably after they are picked. Even very young green fruit will ripen, although there may not be much edible material in small fruit.

Should freezing temperatures threaten to occur while the bananas are still on the tree, you must harvest the entire bunch whether they are full size or not. Bananas exposed to freezing temperatures will be ruined. Hang the stalk of green bananas in a warm, protected location and the fruit will ripen.

Banana tree care

Bananas are very easy to grow in any soil, do not generally require fertilizer and are not affected by any major insect or disease problems. Bananas do need to be planted in a spot that receives direct sun for at least half a day or more.

These are large plants that require plenty of room to spread. Take that into consideration before you include them in your landscape. Locate banana plantings well away from property lines (6 to 10 feet), as their ability to spread may cause problems to neighbors who do not want them in their yard. Promptly remove any banana shoots that show up where they are not wanted to keep the clump under control.

Controlling bananas is a big issue. I have talked to many gardeners who are more interested in getting rid of an overgrown planting than enjoying the fruit. It’s not hard to keep bananas under control, but it does require regular attention.

You may need to irrigate during periods of prolonged drought, but bananas tend to be resilient. The growth rate is generally plenty fast without fertilizing (particularly in the fertile soils of the south shore), but you may fertilize banana trees with a general purpose fertilizer during summer following label directions.

Pruning affects fruiting

Cutting banana trees back in winter has a profound effect on fruit production. A look at the growth habit of banana trees will show why. The banana is not a true tree — it is a giant herbaceous plant. Botanically, this means that none of its parts ever become woody like true trees.

The stem of the banana plant is a large rhizome that grows horizontally underground, and the shoots that we think of as “trees” grow up from this underground stem. What we call the “trunk” is actually the bases of the leaves tightly wrapped together, and is properly called the pseudostem (false stem).

The flower stalk of the banana starts growing inside the pseudostem at ground level and must grow up through the pseudostem to emerge from the top among the leaves. In our area, a banana tree must survive at least one winter before the flower stalk will emerge and bloom.

If you are interested in fruit production from your banana trees, you must keep this in mind. Do not arbitrarily cut down your trees during the winter when the foliage turns brown. Generally, it takes temperatures below 20 degrees to kill the trunks. If they survive the winter, it is the large trees that will produce fruit for you the next summer. You may trim off the dead foliage, but do not cut down living pseudostems.

Once a banana tree flowers and its fruit has been harvested, you may cut it down to the ground to make room for new, productive trees to grow up from the creeping underground stem. Each individual tree will only flower and bear fruit once.

Banana trees are as much a part of the tropical look of New Orleans as palms. We are really fortunate to live in one of the few places on the United States mainland where, with proper care and mild winters, these beautiful plants also will produce delicious fruit.

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