Growing banana plants can give you both health and financial benefits. Even if you are not fond of bananas, maybe growing them on your very own space will get you more inclined to eat them and take advantage of its nutritional benefits. Here’s how.
Determine Your Space
Banana plants may vary in size. Determining your available space for growing banana plants will help you decide what type of banana plant will best fit your yard.
Decide on the Type of Banana
After determining the space, identify your purpose of planting banana on your yard. Decide if you want your plant to bear edible fruit, or should it just serve as ornamental to make your yard much more appealing. Ornamental banana plants may be further classified as tall or short ornamental bananas. Tall ornamental bananas include Japanese fiber banana, Monkey fingers banana, Bordelon banana, and many other, while short ornamental bananas include Blood banana and Chinese Yellow banana. Edible bananas include double banana, Ice Cream banana, Thousand Fingers banana, African Rhino Horn banana, etc.
You need a tropical or a warm subtropical climate to grow a banana plant. While bananas can handle extreme heat, like humans, they don’t like it and would certainly need enough water to somehow counter the heat. They may also handle cool weather but may not like it either. In fact, plants stop growing in consistent temperature of 14 degrees Celsius. Frost kills the banana leaves, while strong winds will tatter the leaves as well. The best temperature for growing banana plants is around 26-30°C. It is said that the warmest site in the home landscape is on the southern part or southeastern side of the house. Spot your area.
Bananas grow in a wide variety of soils, but if you don’t have a good soil to start with, you certainly need to manually make some. Composts and chicken manure can make a good remedy to your dry soil. Keep in mind that the soil should be rich in nutrients, slightly acidic and loamy enough to retain moisture. In essence, a good soil makes a healthier banana. Also, make sure that the soil has both internal and surface drainage to prevent flooding. This is very crucial as saturated roots of banana plants could die in less than an hour.
Bananas grow from rhizomes. Dig a hole about a foot wide and ten to twelve inches deep where the rhizome is to be planted. The eye should be facing on the uphill side of the hole. Then fill the hole with tight soil to remove any air pockets. If you are planting many rhizomes, make sure that they are at least ten feet apart from each other so that individual plats can get maximum benefit from the sun. Remember that banana plants need 12 hours of bright light a day.
Watering Banana Plants
Think of banana plants as little boys in the plant kingdom. Since they are exposed to the sun for most for the day, they certainly need enough watering to keep them well-hydrated. Always check the soil to see how dry or how moist it is. Avoid over watering the plant, however. During the warmer months, you should water the plant every two to three days.
Enjoy Watching Your Banana Plant Grow
Banana plants grow very rapidly while producing several suckers at its base. Remove all suckers, but save one though. This will serve as a follower to the mother plant once the latter produces banana fruits already. In about six months, you will certainly appreciate the first flower emerge from your plant which will eventually bear the fruit.
Harvesting Your Home-Grown Bananas
The fruit can be harvested by carefully cutting the stalk. Cut one hand at a time as it ripens. Once fruit is harvested, check for insects and rodents to ensure safety of consumption. After fruiting, the mother plant will never produce fruit again so it should be cut off near ground level to make more space on your yard. Cut the old trunk into three to four pieces with each piece split lengthwise for quick decomposition. After all, dead bananas are not very attractive and they are hard to cut once decomposition starts.
Nutritional Value of Bananas
Bananas are an excellent source of vitamins A, C, B6, dietary fiber and potassium. Vitamin C helps the body defend and heal against infections and is a valuable aspect in the synthesis of the connective tissues, iron absorption and formation of blood in the body. Potassium, on the other hand, helps in the building of muscles, protein synthesis and promotion of bone health. B vitamins are essential to enhance the immune and nervous system functions, while vitamin A is required for a good vision and for a healthy skin.
Fun Facts about Bananas
Bananas are harvested green because they continuously ripen even after they are picked.
Bananas grow on are plants, not trees.
A cluster of banana is called a “hand”.
As bananas ripen, the starch in the fruit turns to sugar.
Alexander the Great discovered bananas in 327 BC.
An average American consumes more than 28 lbs of bananas per year.
Bananas can grow in Iceland too, by heating the soil with geysers.
You can buy a banana beer in Easter Africa.
Bananas could ripe quickly once packed in a brown paper bag with an apple or tomato inside.
India is the largest producer of banana in the world.
In the Arab language, “banan” refers to finger.
Aside from green and yellow, there are also red, pink, purple and black colored bananas.
Generally, bananas are one of the easiest foods to incorporate into a diet giving you enormous benefits on health. This makes growing a banana plant worth the effort. Given all the nutritional value of bananas, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to pick your very own bananas from your very own yard?