I read a report a while ago about a grower in Tennessee digging up banana plants (minus the leaves) and storing them in the root cellar over the winter period. They then plant them back into the ground after threats of frost have passed, and have gotten them to fruit! If you live in a subtropical climate with some freezes during the winter, your best bet is to try a fast fruiting varieties like Veinte Cohol or Patupi. You could possibly try some of the more cold hardy varieties like rajapuri, dwarf brazilian, Namwah, and dwarf orinoco.
Thanks for updating this thread! If I could only figure out a cost-effective way of heating our family's greenhouse during the Arctic cold fronts of winter, I would totally fill it up with bananas, especially that Ice Cream cultivar. Congrats on the great crop!
It is kind of a pain. I'm in a much warmer climate than you, and I've only ever gotten two flowers on my edible bananas (both of which were too late to ripen the fruit). This was with me trying to protect the pseudostems at least a little. (Now, if you are talking about my ornamental Musella lasiocarpa, I've gotten many, many flowers off of that. They're really pretty.)
Admittedly, if I'd fertilized them more I probably could've gotten them to flower early enough to get edible fruit, but oh well. At least the foliage is pretty.
Congrats on the crop!
meizzwang -- that's what I did before my Rajapuri flowered the first time. The second time, I didn't do anything special and it flowered around November. I'd've tried Veinte Cohol, but it's so expensive. My frost-free growing season should be long enough to get that one to fruit (~290 days or so), but it'd still be tricky.
Last Edit: Jun 21, 2018 16:43:50 GMT -5 by alexintx
will do Rick! The blue hue is only on the outer skin layer, and only when the bananas are still green. Once they turn yellow, you couldn't tell they were blue!
For sure, will do a full report on the flavor, probably needs a week or two to ripen. Some report it tastes like ice cream and can be scooped out with a spoon. Others have said they don't like the flavor of this banana.
Much like all other fruit, I think taste not only depends on the opinion/preference of the individual, but also how it was grown and harvested. Was it grown slowly and steadily in good quality soil rich in organic matter, or grown really fast and pumped with enormous amounts of synthetic fertilizers in soil devoid of organic matter? A single clone can taste very different when grown by 2 different people.
Pick a banana before it has matured (ie. filled in all the way), and there's probably only a few people in the world who would like them! they'll still turn yellow, but man, they'll be hard as a rock and have very poor flavor. Also, once they are fully mature, there are varying degrees of ripeness that they go through (ie. right when they turn yellow versus a few days after they turned yellow). Keep in mind, bananas are one of the few fruit that increase in sugar content after they have been harvested off the plant.
In my opinion, some bananas are nasty when they sit too long and have the peel turn brown (ie. cavendish, Gros Michel), whereas others are best at that stage (ie. pisang mas and namwah). In contrast, other bananas are only good right when they turn yellow: wait a day or two afterwards, and the flavor/texture is ruined!
My friends and coworkers are all going to participate in a taste test, so I'll have a good idea whether people in general like it or not. Elaine is very critical of my produce (my fault), so she's the ultimate taste tester!
meizzwang -- It's been a while since I've had fruiting varieties, but I put in some new ones maybe 2 months ago. I forget what height my Rajapuri fruited at -- how tall are your pseudostems on that variety when they flower? I'm trying to guesstimate if I can get a flower early enough next year -- it's at about 4.5 feet of pseudostem now with ~2 more months of warm/hot weather, and ~1 month of coolish weather before our first frost. I think it might be possible (it's grown 2+ feet since I put it in, so it might be ~6 feet going into winter).
Last Edit: Aug 20, 2018 13:00:17 GMT -5 by alexintx
The height of rajapuri before it fruits is greatly dependent on many environmental factors (ie. how you care for the plant), but around here, it usually flowers at around 6-8' (that's the height of the pseudostem). It's not always a sure way, but around here, once you see a bunch of petioles bunched up close to each other near the top of the pseudostem, the banana plant typically flowers within 1-2 months (given optimal weather).
One of my Blue java aka Ice Cream bananas just turned yellow, and they're definitely not ready to eat yet. They have very little to almost no sweetness at this stage, probably needs to sit for at least another 2-3 days. Surprisingly, the real deal blue java is quite tart at this stage, I actually like it a lot, but my wife hates it! We'll see what she thinks once the sugar content is much higher.
Don’t wanna hijack this thread, but here’s what I mean I get good growth on bananas here:
Rajapuri in front, Ice Cream in the back. Both were planted ~2 months ago and had pseudostems up to about my waist. The Rajapuri now has a stem up to the base of my neck (I’m 6’1”) and a pup nearly up to the bottom of my chest. Last week, the main stem in the Rajapuri was up to the middle of my chest. The Ice Cream is smaller, but that’s because it’s not getting enough water.
These guys are planted in what we call “red death” — soil brought in by contractors as “topsoil”, but that really comes from the bottom of gravel pits on the river banks. Because of that, we fertilize them once a week with an organic 6-4-4 fertilizer (probably about ~1/2 cup a week). It’s not the best banana fertilizer, but it’s certainly worked. Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep enough of the Rajapuri pseudostem over winter to get fruit next year. Considering there’s another 6-8 weeks or so of decent growth and a few more of mediocre growth, I think it’ll be possible.
Most people around here who keep bananas cut them to the ground every year — even if a good part of the pseudostem lives. That means you rarely see bananas with fruit here — but it should be very possible, given that we have a ~290 day frost free growing season and only ~15 freezes a year. Granted, it does get into the low 20s most years, which is enough to do serious damage to most bananas. But with protection on a handful of nights a year, fruit should be possible.
Last Edit: Sept 2, 2018 15:30:08 GMT -5 by alexintx
So, my bananas got cut down last winter by a landscaper that didn’t know better. I was kind of pissed because one of the Rajapuri has a flower starting to emerge and there were others near flowering. To make it worse, we only got to 27° last winter, so I would’ve had fruit this year!
I think I’ve been pushing them a bit too hard. The biggest Rajapuri are already at or near flowering size with close to 7' of pseudostem. The Ice Cream (probably Namwah) has been growing slower due to inadequate water (the sprinkler was a bit sunken), but we’ve fixed that and it’s around 5'' now. I should be able to get Ice Cream fruit next year, but the three biggest Rajapuri pseudostems should probably flower later this year. I doubt I’d be able to protect a bunch over winter. I hope I can keep some of the smaller pseudostems alive. It would be ideal to get a bloom right around mid June here because that would give it plenty of time to grow new leaves before blooming, but leave plenty of time to ripen. It’s not terribly abnormal to see fruiting bananas flower here, but it is abnormal to see them flower in time for ripe fruit.
In other cool banana stuff, the nursery I work at got in some potted Dwarf Cavendish yesterday. One was pushing a variegated pup, and they let me take it home. It’s still tiny and I trimmed off most of the leaves, but I’m super excited about it. Hopefully it grows well! This variety is a bit sensitive for fruiting here, but it may be possible with a bit of effort. It’s perfectly hardy for vegetation, though.
Last Edit: Aug 17, 2019 16:25:54 GMT -5 by alexintx
that rack of green pisang ceylon (improved mysore) bananas did ripen, FINALLY! The banana plants in general look horrible from months of cold rain, but they're starting to grow again and in a month or two, they'll look pristine again.
Been munching these for weeks, right off the "vine" err...plant! Definitely one of the best tasting bananas I've ever grown. Pics taken 5/6/20:
Been a while since I’ve been on the forums — my sarrs are doing alright, but not great. But, I thought I’d share some on my bananas! My "Rajapuri" is in bloom. Unfortunately, it’s too late to get fruit, but considering the mat had nothing above ground until April, it’s super fast! I’m going to put in some effort this winter to protect medium-sized pseudostems in hopes of getting fruit next year. I wasn’t able to do that last year because our one and only hard freeze of the season was one of the earliest freezes on record (November 1st, argh!) and I hadn’t had time to get ready. Hopefully this winter works better for the bananas... Even if I never get fruit from them, they’re darn pretty perennials! I mean, the leaves are over 6' long on top of huge pseudostems and they grow crazy fast.
sanguinearocks101: What are good plants to make hybrids with S. luecophylla with? Im looking for dark colors.
Sept 10, 2020 18:46:52 GMT -5
adaetz100: Sarracenia purpurea tends to add a lot of red/purple to its offspring, but there are some lovely dark red flava x leucophylla crosses too. Look up 'Royal Ruby' if you're not familiar with it already--it's a natural flava x leuco hybrid
Sept 22, 2020 20:15:04 GMT -5
sarrseens: How about $50
Oct 3, 2020 10:35:54 GMT -5