Sunday, June 20, 2010

Going Bananas

Last spring I purchased my first banana plant while attending a spring plant sale.  The beauty of the red splotched leaves with the burgundy undersides drew me into its spell. 

Grand Nain X Sumatrana is a cross between an ornamental banana and one with very good tasting fruit.  No blooms have appeared on any of my bananas yet so I just content myself with enjoying those tropical leaves.
As I began talking about bananas to all my friends and making banana related posts on various gardening websites, I discovered that there are "banana enablers."  Suddenly, a Dwarf Cavendish showed up in my garden.
The next thing I knew, someone brought me an Ice Cream banana plant.  This plant grew over 8 feet tall in just one season.  Sadly, no blooms on this one either.  I really want to know if it tastes like ice cream.
I went to a garden swap party this April and came home with yet another variety, Raja Puri.  This plant is more cold hardy than the others.  So perhaps I'll get some fruit from this one.  These are all pictures of  the bananas as they currently look.  This January's freeze killed the first three pictured plants to the ground but they have put out lots of pups and have grown just as large as ever, as you can see.  They are just like gingers in coming back from the corm.  I'm hoping to successfully separate some pups so I can pass on the love.  Last year I tried separating some of the pups but I didn't let them get large enough before cutting the connection to the mother plant.  None of the separated pups lived.  Hopefully, I will be successful this time.  I need to "pass it on."

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!


  1. That Grand Nain X Sumatrana is such a beauty, tasty fruits and ornamental factor? That is double bonus! Although the bananas can not fit into my small garden, but I do love those huge leaves give the garden a beautiful troipical feeling. Hope you can get some fruits out of all your bananas soon, and good luck to pass on the pups this time!

  2. Hey, Kay! You have many different kinds of bananas. I have no idea what mine are, but I love them! Even if they never produced bananas, I'd have them for their foliage. Nothing better by the pool! Mine have produced heavily, though. However, this year, they're slower than previous years to come back after the cold.
    I like your burgandy kind. Mine are just green.

  3. How fun to start with one banana plant and to add several more, different kinds. The Ice Cream Banana is intriguing.

  4. The Grand Nain x Sumatrana hybrid isn't a highly productive plant but when it does fruit, the bananas are delicious bite-sized morsels. I just like the color of the foliage!
    I'm jealous of your Ice Cream banana. I don't have one of those yet, but it's on my want-list.

  5. Ami - I really like the tropical look and in my zone they die back in most winters which helps to control them somewhat. I think a small variety would look nice by your pool:)

    Kimberly - Oh you have producing bananas! I'm jealous. Really though I agree that the look of those leaves is enough.

    Terra - It has been fun to delve into this new "banana frenzy." Maybe someday I'll be able to show off some fruit.

    Grower Jim - Your blog always inspires me with all your fruit production. Hopefully, I'll get some yet!

  6. Nice variety of banana plants! A friend gave me a pup from hers and that turned into two plants, but like Kimberly, I have no idea what kind they are. Mine are also close to the pool and I love the tropical foliage - fruit or not.

    In your second photo, it looks like a canna lily to the right. Is that what it is? Nice combo. Looks great next to the banana plant.

  7. Hi, NanaK! Those are glorious tropical leaves even without blooms and fruit. I'm sure you'll eventually get the fruit. I have a few bananas I got from my mom who got them from her sister. I laughed when you mentioned the banana enablers. Are you becoming a banana addict?

  8. Janna - All this talk of bananas by the pool has me thinking.....I need a pool! Gardeners always give me ideas:) Yes, there are cannas next to the bananas. I have several varieties which I just love because they bloom all summer and into the fall if it stays warm. The only downside is that both the bananas and the cannas disappear once we have frost.

    Floridagirl - Oh boy, you have a family of banana addicts! I do love how those leaves look but they left quite a few bare spots this winter. I'm trying to think of what I could plant in front of them to keep it from looking so desolate. However, I keep planting tropical things now that it is HOT. I have a short memory.

  9. Hey Kay,
    Your bananas make a really nice addition to the tropical look in your garden. Especially the Grand Nain X Sumatrana...I've been on the lookout for one of those ever since I saw them at the extension office in the discovery garden.

    Last year was the first I ever even thought about adding bananas to my garden. When I found the two red bananas on sale for $5 each it gave me the inspiration to give them a try. I'm glad I did. This year I seem to have started an elephant ear/colocasia addiction. It's always something isn't it!!!

    Things are really looking good in your garden now that all that life has sprung back with summer temps.

  10. Your bananas have made a great have such a nice variety, too. I must get me one of those red banana plants. They really are pretty that I wouldn't care if they didn't produce any fruit. Hope you get some banana's this year.

  11. Meems - Oh, elephant ears sound intriguing. I can't wait to see them and how you've placed them. I have several that are just coming back from winter and are still very tiny. I think there are varieties that would come back stronger. My garden is filling in nicely now, hard to remember that I need to PLAN some cold hardy structure.

    Susan - You have such nice space now with your new gardens. Bananas would be a nice addition.

  12. I'm doing cannas for the first time this year, Kay, and I'm wondering if you plan for something to fill that space when they die back in the winter? I'm thinking I need to plant something now in the in-between spots (while I know where the bulbs are) that will flower in that area when the cannas are gone.
    Love your bananas! I have one and I was so happy to see it come back after the freeze. Funny how we all get onto a plant addiction. I'm the same way with food. Thank goodness I kicked the fried potatoes topped with cheese, bacon and Ranch dressing. But oh gosh, it was GOOD. (And I've never seen a lubber on a plate of fried potatoes)


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