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Main Banana Discussion This is where we discuss our banana collections; tips on growing bananas, tips on harvesting bananas, sharing our banana photos and stories.


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Old 10-13-2010, 10:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
Puerto Rican Gone Bananas
 
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Default Banana plant lifespan

Hello!

I know that after a banana plant fruits, the main stem dies out (I was told this happens after 30ish leaves, yes?). The basjoos, darjeelings, and so on have to be cut back each fall, so does the leaf count reset to zero in spring? Or does it continue from where it left off, eventually shooting up a flag leaf?
I ask because I'm curious to know how long the main plant (not the grove) will live for if it'll never flower or fruit. I've given some away and I don't want the new owners to keep giving away all the pups expecting the mother plant to live forever.
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Old 10-13-2010, 10:51 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Banana plant lifespan

Quote:
Originally Posted by JuniPerez View Post
I know that after a banana plant fruits, the main stem dies out (I was told this happens after 30ish leaves, yes?)
This strongly depends on climate and other inputs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JuniPerez View Post
The basjoos, darjeelings, and so on have to be cut back each fall
In Puerto Rico there is no horticultural reason to do this -- so what is the purpose?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JuniPerez View Post
so does the leaf count reset to zero in spring?
No.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JuniPerez View Post
Or does it continue from where it left off, eventually shooting up a flag leaf?
Yes.
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Old 10-13-2010, 12:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana plant lifespan

Good question, i have Basjoo's over 5 years old but no idea how many leaves they have put out in that time.
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Old 10-13-2010, 12:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana plant lifespan

Thanks for the info, I do see however that Juni,although Puerta Rican lives in NY.
My question on the topic is if a Cuban red takes two years to produce harvestable fruit is it still producing 30 leaves. Also are you saying some plants may produce 25 and others 35 leaves depending on climate and nutrition etc.
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Old 10-13-2010, 12:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Banana plant lifespan

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Originally Posted by Bermy nana View Post
Thanks for the info, I do see however that Juni,although Puerta Rican lives in NY.
My question on the topic is if a Cuban red takes two years to produce harvestable fruit is it still producing 30 leaves. Also are you saying some plants may produce 25 and others 35 leaves depending on climate and nutrition etc.
According to Gabe, the count of banana leaves is not a good indicator of maturity.
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Old 10-13-2010, 12:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana plant lifespan

Okay thanks.
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Old 10-13-2010, 12:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Banana plant lifespan

Leaf count can only be used if you are tracking a single variety, in a single environment over multiple generations. Basically it equates to how many leaves are produced in a certain amount of time, and the time it takes from planting or from sucker to emergence to flowering is easily predictable if you have consistent growth. Counting leaves at best ends up being a different (but harder) way to measure time (calendars and dates are much easier to work with), and at worst is just confusing because it gives the impression (such as above) that a plant is obligated to flower after so many leaves.

The exact mechanism for banana flowering initiation is not known, but it does not have any direct connection to the number of leaves produced.
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Old 10-13-2010, 05:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
Puerto Rican Gone Bananas
 
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Default Re: Banana plant lifespan

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by JuniPerez
The basjoos, darjeelings, and so on have to be cut back each fall
In Puerto Rico there is no horticultural reason to do this -- so what is the purpose?
Hehe. No... I'm Puerto Rican, but I'm living in western New York state (zone 6) where the plants get cut down for the cold winter. I wouldn't waste my time with basjoos if I were in Puerto Rico. I'd have something exotic & super expensive. Mmmm. *droolz*
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Old 10-13-2010, 05:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
Puerto Rican Gone Bananas
 
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Default Re: Banana plant lifespan

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bermy nana View Post
Thanks for the info, I do see however that Juni,although Puerta Rican lives in NY.
My question on the topic is if a Cuban red takes two years to produce harvestable fruit is it still producing 30 leaves. Also are you saying some plants may produce 25 and others 35 leaves depending on climate and nutrition etc.

I had been told the leaf count varied by species. So I dunno. I see it's not an accurate indicator of bloom time, but I am still curious how long these plants will eventually live to be. An ugly tree can live to be hundreds of years old, but a beautiful banana plant can't? That's not fair.
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Old 10-13-2010, 11:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Banana plant lifespan

Quote:
Originally Posted by JuniPerez View Post
I had been told the leaf count varied by species. So I dunno. I see it's not an accurate indicator of bloom time, but I am still curious how long these plants will eventually live to be. An ugly tree can live to be hundreds of years old, but a beautiful banana plant can't? That's not fair.
It is an herb, not a perennial.
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Old 10-15-2010, 09:44 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Banana plant lifespan

Hardwoods vary in their active growth cycle, which generally equals the amount of time they die. For instance, a live oak can take 30 years (or maybe it's 70, I can't remember exactly right now) to grow, can live for 1000 years and then it takes 30 (or 70) years for it to die.

If one has a banana plant and it's rather tall and then it breaks or you cut it in half of course it's going to bloom sooner - the amount of leaves means nothing when it's time to bloom. Because sometimes they don't put out any leaves, they'll just bloom - as I've seen happen to one that broke last year. I cut it below where it broke and a week later out came the flag and the bloom - with no fronds on it.

The fruit was worthless but it still did it's thing without making more leaves. And it would have bloomed in late August or September based on others at that time that did. So had it not broke it would have made more leaves but not many.
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