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Old 08-10-2018, 03:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
Location: Pensacola, Florida
Zone: Zone 9a
Join Date: Jul 2017
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Default 2018 Banana Patch: Pensacola, Florida

This is my patch in Pensacola, Florida which was originally planted in March of 2017. The original plants consisted of three ice cream (blue java) and two raja puri ordered from an online nursery. The original plants died in the winter of 2017-2018 or showed slow/stunted growth in Spring 2018 and were removed to make way for the first generation of pups which emerged in July of 2017.

My area experienced overnight lows below freezing on three occasions during the past winter with an extreme low of 21F which persisted until about noon on the following i.e. about 18 hours below freezing. My plants were protected during the winter which is documented elsewhere on the site.

One of my RPs is now close to 13' and has been tentatively identified as a tall Orinoco. Confirmation by flower and fruit is expected this year.

My other RPs pups appear to be a slow growing dwarf of some type which suffer from curved, hooked leaves most likely due to excessive rainfall and light direction. The planting location of these plants is primarily West facing due light being blocked from the East by a fence and foliage so the plants lean to the West causing cigar leaf bending in that direction. Confirmation by flower is expected this year with luck. These pups were dry root stored in the garage for about three months during the winter and replanted into the patch at the end of February 2018.

My three Ice Cream bananas face South and receive more than six hours of direct sun each day both summer and winter. Mid-summer sun is blocked after about 7 pm due to tall foliage on the West side.

Average rainfall in my area is 68 inches per year with the majority of rain between April and September. Winter is the "dry season". My location is rather high for Florida at about 50' above sea level, drains quickly, and is not far from Escambia Bay.

I fertilize monthly alternating between with potassium sulfate and urea applied separately and a complex palm fertilizer containing micro nutrients. The plants are watered by hose directly during dry stretches when soil is determined to be dry by sticking a finger in the ground. The soil in the patch was prepped for the plants by digging up the area to a depth of 4' and mixing the natural soil with composted cow manure (about 2,000+ lbs). All competing roots were removed in the areas of the patch. The patch is continuously mulched during the growing season with St. Augustine grass clippings from the yard.

At the time of this post my ice cream bananas are approximately 13' of pstem, my "orinoco" is 13' of pstem, and my rp's are about 6' of pstem. All are July 2017 pups.

Hoping to get a couple flowers and maybe eat some bananas this year!!

Bonus info!!!

I made a side trip to visit Don at Going Bananas prior to picking some friends up at the Miami Airport August 5. My sister who lives in West Palm Beach and I arrived about 30 minutes prior to closing time due to an error in my judgment in the amount of time necessary to get to Homestead from WP and I-95 traffic. Uhhgg! Even though we were 30 minutes from closing, Don was super polite, friendly, and gave us a nice tour of his beautiful gardens with enthusiasm. It was amazing! I love how Going Bananas is really more like a garden than a farm. Very lovely grassy paths between the rows of bananas, numerous tropical flowers and fruits, and just really thoughtful landscaping that appeals to the eye while allowing for operations, maintenance, etc. I did mention that I found out about his nursery from which might explain his enthusiasm or maybe it was my supermodel sister who accompanied me but even though I arrived late and could only spend a brief amount of time I really feel like he gave us a great tour and was really enthusiastic about tropicals, bananas and what he and his family have built in Homestead. A real gem!

I was embarrassed that my only banana plant purchase to date was from another company and since I was flying on to DC after WP could not take any plants back to Pensacola on this trip. Next time I will drive down and get a few plants from Don.

Photos of my patch and plants as of August 10, 2018:

General view of the patch from my back patio. Along the back fence left to right are the ice creams with the big orinoco the last big one in the corner when going left to right (fourth grouping from the left) The four dwarfs (RPs???) are along the right side fence from the corner with one ice cream mixed in near the corner. Yeah, yeah I know its just a big wall of green!!! Haha.

Possible pre-flag on 13' Orinoco??? The five cigar leaves before this one were extremely tight with a hook on the end. This one is a bit loose and not curved:

Should be a flower soon!!! Ice Cream on far left edge has a nice crown:

Bonus pic!!! Me with Don at Going Bananas:

Last edited by Akula : 08-10-2018 at 03:18 PM.
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