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Old 02-25-2016, 11:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Question Companion plantings for bananas?

Good day!
I am wondering if there are any plants that are good company for banana mats. Do you plant anything around bananas?

I like the idea because I've found in the past that plant groupings form a very beneficial micro-ecosytstem.

Through researching, some have suggested planting vegetable crops like tomatoes. Others have said not to plant anything nearby.

I would like to plant a small palm nearby, maybe a coontie, or some seasonal tomato and bell pepper plants.

Anyone have experience, thoughts on companion planting for bananas?

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Old 02-25-2016, 12:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Companion plantings for bananas?

It can be done but there are some things to consider, these are some of the top things I think about:

-Other plants nearby are best planted with the banana, as the canopy is still quite small for the first 6 months or so. After that, it might be hard to establish plants nearby as the shade from the banana can be too much, but this also depends on the light requirement of the plant (most crop plants really need at least some direct sun, preferably full, but many ornamentals can get by on shade). Sprawling plants such as squash and gourds are nice at this time as they as they can ramble around on the ground and find sun while serving as a quicker crop return while you are waiting for the bananas. You could plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and other bushy crops at this time too, but they will not be able to avoid the shade cast by the bananas for too long, so just be aware and maybe plant them on the south-facing side of the banana.

-I prefer to avoid most root crops as they generally require too much digging which greatly disturbs the shallow and short-lived roots of the banana. Aroids such as taro or malanga, and gingers (including turmeric) are generally shallow enough to avoid too much digging, but still be advised of planting too much, thus requiring too much digging. An example is sweetpotato which is tempting as some cultivars can form nice and thick ground covers, but when you go to harvest any, you also dig up lots of bananas roots which is counter productive and very damaging to the banana. This concept also extends to the practice of generally trying to keep your bananas away from, or at least at the edge of vegetable gardens or grains/pulses (if you're growing them), as there is often a lot of human root zone activity when transplanting and weeding etc...

-Plants which grow to a similar height and at a similar pace are nice, such as papaya. They will not be affected much the the shade of the banana as they can generally keep up with them.

-Some fast growing vines, especially cucurbits such as squash, gourds, luffa and chayote will happily climb up a banana plant. This is isn't necessarily a problem in most cases, but it does make it more difficult to trim dead leaves and they generally must mostly come down during harvest of the bananas. I find them to be too messy to encourage them along, but if it happens incidentally in the garden it can be a nice arrangement.

-Ground covers such as perennial peanut can act as a wonderful soil protector and contribute positively to the bananas, but you might not be getting much out of them as a crop directly (unless you let some chickens or ducks forage on them which is nice for everyone).

-Bananas are often used in the opposite sense, as a relatively short-lived companion to trees. They are well suited to this as they grow quickly providing shade or wind protecting if needed for the young trees, and also provide an excellent source of mulch as leaves are trimmed and pseudostems taken down for harvesting. They are also much quicker than almost any true tree crop, and so provide a quick harvest while you're waiting for the trees to mature, and are relatively easy to remove when not needed anymore.
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Old 02-25-2016, 02:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Companion plantings for bananas?

Thanks for all the helpful information. That really gives me big pictur. There is alot to think about. Papayas are tempting and sometimes I will look into..

I hadn't thought about the Banana leaf shade issue. Good idea too keep the tomatoes on the south side.
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Old 02-25-2016, 04:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Companion plantings for bananas?

Some members in Florida grow Pineapples under their banana plants.

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Old 02-25-2016, 04:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Companion plantings for bananas?

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Some members in Florida grow Pineapples under their banana plants.

Hi Richard! I tought pineapples don't like too much shade... I have them (10) in a flower corner against my house east side. I have a fruit orchade and i'm planting one banana tree in the center of four (square) fruit trees in the less cold part of my orchade and using the protection of some very big corktrees...
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Old 02-25-2016, 08:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Companion plantings for bananas?

I do pineapples and other broms. I once did pumpkins, without much success. After reading Gabes post, I will try Luffa this year!! I got tons and tons of Luffa seeds I regrow them each year.
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Old 02-25-2016, 08:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Companion plantings for bananas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by luisport View Post
Hi Richard! I tought pineapples don't like too much shade... I have them (10) in a flower corner against my house east side. I have a fruit orchade and i'm planting one banana tree in the center of four (square) fruit trees in the less cold part of my orchade and using the protection of some very big corktrees...
Yeah, but its OK. They might just take longer to flower and make a smaller fruit. But its hard to tell when you have 10 - 30 plants at any time.
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Old 02-25-2016, 10:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Companion plantings for bananas?

Quote:
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Some members in Florida grow Pineapples under their banana plants.

Ah, pineapples, hadn't thought of that either. Will check it out!

I do know people who grow around pineapples around here.

Bananas and pineapples do make a lovely mixed fruit salad!

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Old 02-25-2016, 11:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Companion plantings for bananas?

Quote:
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Hi Richard! I tought pineapples don't like too much shade...
Depends on cultivar and climate.
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Old 02-26-2016, 03:50 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Companion plantings for bananas?

Quote:
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Depends on cultivar and climate.
Ok then, it's the first time i try them... when i have more i will try it below banana trees... Thank's!
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Old 02-26-2016, 04:39 AM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Companion plantings for bananas?

We like to do various perennials such as Okinawa spinach, lemon balm, & I have a jungle peanut. I have tried a few guild style mats & they seem to do okay with pine apple & a sort of pole beans. But I am also mulching like crazy... so there is plenty of food to go around.
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Old 02-26-2016, 09:31 AM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Companion plantings for bananas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Juicy Bananas View Post
We like to do various perennials such as Okinawa spinach, lemon balm, & I have a jungle peanut. I have tried a few guild style mats & they seem to do okay with pine apple & a sort of pole beans. But I am also mulching like crazy... so there is plenty of food to go around.
I have been reading about the banana guild and it looks interesting.

But for simplicity, maybe perrenial peanuts would be a way to go.
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Old 02-26-2016, 08:29 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Companion plantings for bananas?

I grow yuca, taro, name, and beans with banana
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Old 02-26-2016, 08:31 PM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Companion plantings for bananas?

Perennial peanut increases root knot nematode populations
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Old 02-26-2016, 10:48 PM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Companion plantings for bananas?

Quote:
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Perennial peanut increases root knot nematode populations
What do you think about Jungle Peanuts?
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Old 02-26-2016, 11:34 PM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Companion plantings for bananas?

I would expect similar but I don't know about those. Sunshine mimosa may be an alternative but not edible. Yams are another good one. Root crops that can be yanked and not dug.
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Old 03-02-2016, 08:48 AM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Hiya Re: Companion plantings for bananas?

Been growing pineapples for several years around bananas, with good success. Also Hibiscus sabdariffa (Jamaican sorrel). Here in south Florida I've seen a number of farmers growing papaya between banana plants.
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Old 03-02-2016, 09:34 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Been growing pineapples for several years around bananas, with good success. Also Hibiscus sabdariffa (Jamaican sorrel). Here in south Florida I've seen a number of farmers growing papaya between banana plants.


I grow papaya with banana plants!......
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Old 08-18-2016, 02:08 AM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Companion plantings for bananas?

OOPS - never mind...sorry, I didn't read the whole thread before replying - I now see the question has already been addressed. Sorry for the interruption.

"Been growing pineapples for several years around bananas"

I keep my pineapples in full sun...don't they get too much shade under the bananas?
\TIA,
JoJo

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Old 12-31-2017, 01:11 PM   #20 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Companion plantings for bananas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe15 View Post
It can be done but there are some things to consider, these are some of the top things I think about:

-Other plants nearby are best planted with the banana, as the canopy is still quite small for the first 6 months or so. After that, it might be hard to establish plants nearby as the shade from the banana can be too much, but this also depends on the light requirement of the plant (most crop plants really need at least some direct sun, preferably full, but many ornamentals can get by on shade). Sprawling plants such as squash and gourds are nice at this time as they as they can ramble around on the ground and find sun while serving as a quicker crop return while you are waiting for the bananas. You could plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and other bushy crops at this time too, but they will not be able to avoid the shade cast by the bananas for too long, so just be aware and maybe plant them on the south-facing side of the banana.

-I prefer to avoid most root crops as they generally require too much digging which greatly disturbs the shallow and short-lived roots of the banana. Aroids such as taro or malanga, and gingers (including turmeric) are generally shallow enough to avoid too much digging, but still be advised of planting too much, thus requiring too much digging. An example is sweetpotato which is tempting as some cultivars can form nice and thick ground covers, but when you go to harvest any, you also dig up lots of bananas roots which is counter productive and very damaging to the banana. This concept also extends to the practice of generally trying to keep your bananas away from, or at least at the edge of vegetable gardens or grains/pulses (if you're growing them), as there is often a lot of human root zone activity when transplanting and weeding etc...

-Plants which grow to a similar height and at a similar pace are nice, such as papaya. They will not be affected much the the shade of the banana as they can generally keep up with them.

-Some fast growing vines, especially cucurbits such as squash, gourds, luffa and chayote will happily climb up a banana plant. This is isn't necessarily a problem in most cases, but it does make it more difficult to trim dead leaves and they generally must mostly come down during harvest of the bananas. I find them to be too messy to encourage them along, but if it happens incidentally in the garden it can be a nice arrangement.

-Ground covers such as perennial peanut can act as a wonderful soil protector and contribute positively to the bananas, but you might not be getting much out of them as a crop directly (unless you let some chickens or ducks forage on them which is nice for everyone).

-Bananas are often used in the opposite sense, as a relatively short-lived companion to trees. They are well suited to this as they grow quickly providing shade or wind protecting if needed for the young trees, and also provide an excellent source of mulch as leaves are trimmed and pseudostems taken down for harvesting. They are also much quicker than almost any true tree crop, and so provide a quick harvest while you're waiting for the trees to mature, and are relatively easy to remove when not needed anymore.
Thanks you! Very informative
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