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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 12-29-2005, 05:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Blooming at the right time.

For us folks living here in the temperate zone 9, we have 4 distinct seasons. If our ground-planted bananas bloomed later than mid-summer, it will not produce harvestable fruits. Even early summer blooms are dicey. The best bloom time is during early to mid-spring.

I had a new variety that bloomed during mid-summer and the fruits are still immature when the frosts arrived. Since this is the first bloom for this variety, perhaps it may adjust properly next year. The biggest pup on this variety is bigger and taller than the mother plant, and perhaps most likeley will bloom by mid-spring next year.

So what are your tricks to insure that your ground-planted bananas will bloom during early to mid-spring?

One of the obvious things that I am thinking is having two to three pups instead of one. Now depending upon the size, age and typical growth rate in my yard, and their fruiting height, it is easier to guess which of the pups will not bloom at the right time. Those that will not bloom at the proper time will be cut down to the ground level, leaving only the best candidate. It helps by giving you three times as much correct timing for bloom, and also will allow you to have bigger bunches of fruits.

Another option is that to dig out the pups to either reset or arrest their growth and planting at the right time.

Some could play with water scheduling for controlling growth.

So any tips you can share based on your experiences?
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Old 12-31-2005, 06:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blooming at the right time.

Hi Joe,

The only trick that I've found to work is to just plant hoards of bananas, and maybe one or two will bloom at the right time ! Of course, my fruiters don't stay in the ground either. I also like to have the biggest corm possible, so I haven't been separating any pups recently. Makes it a bit more difficult to dig and store, but the rewards are great. A trick that I've heard of, and that I may try this Spring, is to spray gibberellic acid on plants that are close to blooming. Supposedly gibberellin stimulates plants to bloom early. I also may try some bloom booster fertilizer on a couple of plants. If all of that fails, I plan on yelling and screaming at my plants to hurry up and bloom!
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Old 01-02-2006, 11:53 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blooming at the right time.

I think Gabe:edit - (Frank) is right on the money. It is simply power in numbers when growing in a non-ideal climate. I also find that for me the best success if you have a plant about 1-2 feet below it's fruiting height when going into winter.
Southergrower is doing a little experiment with 3 trunks on a clump of Raja Puri to see first hand the effect of multiple stalks fruiting from one corm. I personally think it would work fine if you have the space for it. They are not going to fruit at the exact same time.
Joe, how about leave them in three's, then when the first one of the season blooms - cut the other 2 off and allow a new pup to grow for the following season?
I also have not had that much success moving large established trunk as far as going on to fruit the following season. I think you'd be better off growing them in large pots the first season and planting them out first thing in spring.
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Old 01-02-2006, 12:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blooming at the right time.

Mike,
that was actually Frank, but if you want my opinion i would agree with Frank too The only bananas that you can really depend on to fruit at a certain time are some wild species , especially those in the subgenera Rhodochlamys which include Musa veltuina, M. laterita and M. ornata. For edibles, as most of the experienced groweers know, its different for every plant and they just kinda fruit whenever they are good and ready more or less, which is often different for each individual plant. So yes, plant a bunch out and one of them is bound to feel like fruiting early.
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Old 01-02-2006, 02:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blooming at the right time.

hmm frank is doing the tall orinocos, diggin gig..

mine here are 3 rajas 5'+ same corm in gh and never dug..

i also noted that when splitting corm on large multi plants, it affects the bunches. i don't believe they have time to regrow a full corm for a full sized bunch, before they fruit.. 4 plants here have done this ..

my 2cents for colder areas goes like this, plan a year in advance with multi plants..

his setup will allow him to do just that.. if no multi plants it'll be hard, as some will grow faster than others.
but like yu said they'll fruit when they want to..

i watch others and their fruiting heights and use that as a guide for same plants here.. i watch height and size of stem

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Old 01-02-2006, 04:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blooming at the right time.

Thank you all for the tips, I guess I'm on the right track. I lose some fruits of course, like the DO that bloomed in late June.
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Old 01-02-2006, 04:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blooming at the right time.

Guess I should have clarified a bit on heights going into winter. On the tall varieties, I shoot for within 1-2ft of bloom height (trunk). But have had them put on as much as 3ft (trunk) and produce fruit successfully in a season.
On the Dwarfs I shoot for within a foot of bloom height.

It should also be mentioned that I no longer have any tall varieties in my yard, all have been moved out to new owners . Just wait till they get their first taste of digging them and disposing of the spent trunks after harvest
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Old 01-02-2006, 05:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blooming at the right time.

Mike when you said "Just wait till they get their first taste of digging them and disposing of the spent trunks after harvest" are you saying you actually dig out the corm as well as chopping down the Pstem?
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Old 01-02-2006, 09:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blooming at the right time.

If it is a variety I want to fruit again I just cut the old stem off just above the ground. That is until I have too many old stems and need to dig out the old half rotted sections to make room. All depends on space and variety.
But all in all - no, do not dig the corm if you are wanting successive bunches of fruit. Expecially if you are growing "maui" which apparenlty has to be a second year corm to produce the double bunch.
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Old 09-11-2007, 12:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blooming at the right time.

Because of the relationship to my new thread, I'm bringing this thread back up to see if any of you have additional insights.
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Old 09-11-2007, 01:23 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blooming at the right time.

While we have this thread back up again I have a question for you Joe. You say that for your zone ideally you would get a bloom in early Spring. From my experiance with the killer frost last year I wonder how your plants look at the beginning of spring after a normal winter? My plants were totally thrashed after last winter and I would imagine your normal winter would be a little more like the killer frosty weather we had down here in So Cal. right? All of my plants that flowered in early spring either died/fell over or won't plump the fruit bunches and I believe it's due to a lack of leaves to power the bunch. All the plants that had fruit hanging when the frost hit had serious trouble ripening even after cutting down the bunches. Also flavor and texture was not up to par. So for me in my locale it's ideal for the plants to flower in late Spring after growing some new healthy leaves and hope for no frost come winter.
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Old 09-11-2007, 01:28 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blooming at the right time.

Mitchel, I'm near Joe and can answer this at least partially. Many winters we only get down to 28F-30F and some winters we only have a few days of frost, though that's the exception. Last year we got down to 20F but then we had an unusually warm March so things that survived started growing earlier. Most winters here are not "killer freezes".

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Old 09-11-2007, 01:47 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blooming at the right time.

While nowhere near as drastic a climate change as the west coast, if a bunch blooms in my yard past say mid October, it wont ripen till late spring/early summer.And the fruit quality is less than optimum. I usually have at least one pup per mat, about four mo. from fruiting, and they will fruit year round in this climate. If one of the bunches isn't too good, there's another one about four mo. away that will be better(that is when Joe Reals expertise in wine making would come in handy).There is virtually no threat of frost, so other than slow growth when it cools down, they still continue to grow. The multiple pup idea sounds like the way to go, in a more temperate climate.
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Old 09-11-2007, 05:03 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blooming at the right time.

This raises a question for me, for a banana that decides to bloom late, say summer time here in my zone 9, should I cut it down so the next pup(s) are allowed to use the resources before winter hits? Or should I allow it to bloom and hope for a mild winter? I keep looking at my praying hands and misi luki watching the leaves, guessing the size, hoping it doesn't bloom. If I could make it to winter w/out a bloom (and have a mild winter) next spring would be quite interesting.

thanks for bringing this thread up,
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and what exactly is this banana doing to the cow ->
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Old 09-11-2007, 07:18 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blooming at the right time.

I have a Dwarf Brazilian that bloomed this weekend. I am sure that it will not mature before the first frost sets in, and I am guaranteed that I will use my recipe for banana heart, but I will also attempt to overwinter the fruiting bunch and a few leaves to see if they will survive till spring time and hope to harvest fruits in summer. All without a greenhouse, just some tricks of microclimate adjustment. These same Dwarf Brazilian trunk has survived the arctic blast earlier this year, and if it is just a mild ordinary winter, they could make it, and I have about 20% chance of doing so. One out of 5 years is unseasonably warm.

Will share later in what I did. So far, my floating row cover is a must use, but will have to dye it green.
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Old 09-11-2007, 07:54 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blooming at the right time.

Joe, in the thread I linked above I wrote that I keep eyeing my Dwarf Brazilian because it looks like it's about ready to bloom and I guess I have reason to believe so since I'm guessing it's the sibling to yours that bloomed this weekend. Maybe yours got a little more than half of the corm and it didn't have the transplant shock, so it should be a little ahead of mine. I spotted a pup from it the other day. How about yours? I'm just wanting to know to compare it as to a stage of development. Maybe I should just dig it up now and stick it in my walk-in cooler to slow it down! LOL

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Old 09-11-2007, 08:56 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Blooming at the right time.

What would you do with a huge mat ? Is it feasable to cut off all the younger plants and leave the one or two largest ? I have a big IC and would like to save the largest in hopes that it'll bloom early next year . The mat is way too big to move in one peice . Would it be wiser to divide the corm and is it too late to do so ?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdog View Post
Hi Joe,

The only trick that I've found to work is to just plant hoards of bananas, and maybe one or two will bloom at the right time ! Of course, my fruiters don't stay in the ground either. I also like to have the biggest corm possible, so I haven't been separating any pups recently. Makes it a bit more difficult to dig and store, but the rewards are great. A trick that I've heard of, and that I may try this Spring, is to spray gibberellic acid on plants that are close to blooming. Supposedly gibberellin stimulates plants to bloom early. I also may try some bloom booster fertilizer on a couple of plants. If all of that fails, I plan on yelling and screaming at my plants to hurry up and bloom!
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Old 09-11-2007, 09:30 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Blooming at the right time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by momoese View Post
While we have this thread back up again I have a question for you Joe. You say that for your zone ideally you would get a bloom in early Spring. From my experiance with the killer frost last year I wonder how your plants look at the beginning of spring after a normal winter? My plants were totally thrashed after last winter and I would imagine your normal winter would be a little more like the killer frosty weather we had down here in So Cal. right? All of my plants that flowered in early spring either died/fell over or won't plump the fruit bunches and I believe it's due to a lack of leaves to power the bunch. All the plants that had fruit hanging when the frost hit had serious trouble ripening even after cutting down the bunches. Also flavor and texture was not up to par. So for me in my locale it's ideal for the plants to flower in late Spring after growing some new healthy leaves and hope for no frost come winter.
After a normal winter, some of them would have retained portions of the leaves intact and still green, especially the dwarf brazilians. They learned to adapt here. Our normal winters would be in the lows of 24 deg F for about 14 days total, nipping very briefly down to 22 deg F for a couple of minutes. Mostly about 2 months of nights below freezing. But when it is El Niño years, we would have mild winters.

As to the quality of how they perform after winter, it would depend on cultivar. Mine have the same quality so far, even when having blooms in early to late spring, even into mid-summer.

This year, it will be my first time to have something so late in the season and am excited to try out my new technique to a new problem in the yard.
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