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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 09-09-2008, 04:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Joy Do bananas have to have a dormant stage?

Hi out there in banana land! I was just wondering if any types of banana plants have to have a dormant period? Beings they are a tropical, I wouldn't think so, but it doesn't hurt to ask. I live in zone 6b or 7a area and have a greenhouse that I heat with wood. None of my plants are over about 4 ft. tall. Getting a head start for next spring is my intention. Thanks ahead of time for any information.
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Old 09-09-2008, 04:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Do bananas have to have a dormant stage?

If you keep your plants are kept in an area where the temps do not go below 60F, and they are exposed to light, they will not go dormant, albeit, growth would be slower. Below 50F, they will go dormant.
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Old 09-09-2008, 04:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Do bananas have to have a dormant stage?

Chong, Can you use flourescent lites with soft white and cool white bulbs for the needed light over the winter, or can they deal with inderect lighting four the 5-6 months of winter that we have here in Northern Il. zone 5, last year I had a three season room with natural light till about 2 pm. This year I'm dealing with a northern exposure in the basement.
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Old 09-09-2008, 04:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Do bananas have to have a dormant stage?

The one exception maybe climate created rest period, like the dry season where certain bananas sit and wait for the rainy season.
Some Ensetes have evolved to handle a dry dormant period, and it's unknown if some of them actually require one(E.perreri, ect).
I noticed that Mussellea lasiocarpa in warmer climates(like indoors), seems to like a rest peroid of cold weather, but that's more of a hunch from observing it inside in the winter, and outside in frost free locations.

Last edited by Tropicallvr : 09-09-2008 at 04:58 PM. Reason: corrected grammer
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Old 09-09-2008, 05:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Do bananas have to have a dormant stage?

Good point Kyle. However, most bananas do not have to have them. Natural dormancy is just a characteristic that allows them to survive in cyclic unusual conditions. But if the condition does not occur at the particular time, it doesn't mean that they will go into dormancy anyway.

Bill - If you have bright indirect outside lighting available, that should be sufficient to allow the plant to continue growing. However, depending on the intensity of the light, your plant may become too spindly. If you want them to grow as close to normal as possible, add some supplemental lighting. It doesn't matter what kind, because the exterior light will sort of balance the spectrum to a large extent. But for energy usage, fluorescent lamps will be adequate, especially if the outside light source is reasonably bright. High pressure sodium or metal halide lamps may be overkill if you only have a few plants.
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Old 09-09-2008, 06:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Do bananas have to have a dormant stage?

Thanks guys for the information, it is greatly appreciated! I just wasn't sure, with all the different types available, what needed what. I have about 6 double mahoi, 7 dwarf cavendish and 3 new dwarf orinoccos. I have successfully grown the double mahoi and cavendish for 2 winters (not much growth, but they're nice and green when everything else is brown). I would like to have fruit by this time next year-I hope. Will get them out of their pots and into the ground next spring! I also have some no names-don't know what they are, but they are getting fairly big for my greenhouse-I need to expand.
I do know this-growing bananas is addictive! Thanks again and any more information would be appreciated. Shawntel
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Old 09-09-2008, 07:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Do bananas have to have a dormant stage?

Nice topic! As Kyle mentioned, there are some bananas that have a natural dry dormant stage in their habitat. This includes Ensete gilletii, E. homblei, and probably a couple of other Ensete species as well. Also, Musa velutina has a natural dormant period during the dry season. This is one of the reasons why it can flower and fruit so quickly from the ground.

The only banana that I can think of that has a natural cold dormant period would be Musa yunnanensis. Young plants will sit dormant under the forest canopy, tolerating frosts even, until the canopy opens up and they start to really take off. Musa itinerans has adapted to the cold, in that it will flower in the spring and ripen a bunch of fruit quickly in its native habitat.
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Old 09-09-2008, 07:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Do bananas have to have a dormant stage?

Thank you bigdog. I see that we are about in the same zone,7. What kinds of bananas have you gotten to fruit? Are there velutinas that are edible? Sorry, I'm just learning and thought they were ornimental. How early have you set yours in the ground? I would like to plant many next spring-I have a friend who might be willing to let me plant in some acreage-if it is feasable. Thank you for your time and all the information you have put in these threads-it really helps! Shawntel
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Old 09-09-2008, 10:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Do bananas have to have a dormant stage?

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Originally Posted by heavenlybananas View Post
Thank you bigdog. I see that we are about in the same zone,7. What kinds of bananas have you gotten to fruit? Are there velutinas that are edible? Sorry, I'm just learning and thought they were ornimental. How early have you set yours in the ground? I would like to plant many next spring-I have a friend who might be willing to let me plant in some acreage-if it is feasable. Thank you for your time and all the information you have put in these threads-it really helps! Shawntel
Well, since this is your thread, I guess I'm not really hijacking it by going off topic, lol. Musa velutina is not considered edible, but the flesh is quite sweet when ripe. The only problem is that there are more seeds than flesh. I have fruited 'Orinoco' successfully, and nothing else. I've had others flower, but no fruit that I could eat. I've had a bunch of ornamentals flower, but M. velutina is usually the only one that I have that produces fruit also. This is because it has basal hermaphrodite flowers. I have a M. laterita that has what looks like two fertilized bananas on it right now, which is pretty cool, especially since it was the bees that did the pollinating (I was in Thailand. You need 2 flowers open at different stages to get pollination the natural way with most bananas).

I've planted my edibles in the ground as early as March 26th, and as late as June 1st (this year). This year was way too late, but school and work and other stuff kept me way too busy to get it done earlier. I think for my zone, mid-late April is a good time to plant. You can get away with planting earlier most years, but the plants will just sit there in the cold soil until it warms up anyway, so you really aren't gaining any advantage whatsoever.

Best,

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Old 09-09-2008, 11:00 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Do bananas have to have a dormant stage?

heavenlybananas.....what makes you think nanas are addictive??? just because we start growing one and you end up with like 48 or more planted in the yard and in pots dosent make them addicting...or going to lowes just to see if they have any leafy plants that resemble nanas.....or drive by peoples houses to say oh my gosh a nana would look so cool there.....or wonder how many nanas you can stick in a room to keep them overwintered....or wondering how long walley world is gonna have the good dirt in...or running into the room every hour to make sure the humidifier hasnt run out of water.....or keep a log of when you fed them the last time...ok, so maybe it does.....rotflmao!!!!!!
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Old 09-10-2008, 08:28 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Do bananas have to have a dormant stage?

i keep a number of my Bananas in doors all year round like my Ae Ae the are siting next to a north facing sliding glass door and i supplement them with four 48" Silvana Plant bulbs each of thees produces 800ftc for a total of 3200ft candles of light here in Nevada Natural day light is approx. 10,000 ft candles of light which is way higher then most of you get @ sea level at thees light levels i get vary steady growth approx/ one new leaf a week. now i know thats not fast but for indoors i think its phenomenal and all the plants are vigorous and dark green as will as having normal leaf shape and they are not spindly i also keep a ceiling fan on low if your going to grow indoors air movement is carousal to keeping plants happy i also use an evaporative humidifier they love that! I'm not planing on letting any of my Bananas go dormant as i would like fruit next year. the only Banana that i have that doesn't seem to respond to this lighting is the Siam ruby no mater what i do it just grows vary slowly i have to be honest I'm thinking about getting a murellii because the Siam's just not doing that well here its probably the humidity and low light but theres not much more than i can do for it at this point i hope that all didn't seem off topic but my point is that if you want to grow them indoors for the winter you can do it vary successfully with good light by the way those lights are 30$ for the fixture and two Bulbs at HD and they don't cost that much to run as the are florescent
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Old 09-10-2008, 04:23 PM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Do bananas have to have a dormant stage?

Hi and thank you for the information. I have used the plant bulbs in my fixtures, but they don't seem to last long. Maybe it is the fact that I bought them at Wally world vs. HD. The plant bulbs only seem to last a few months (along with the fixture-again at wally world) and at almost $7 a bulb x 6 bulbs, it can be expensive. My greenhouse is pretty humid, even with burning wood (my outside stove pipes don't last long either). I haven't gotten as good as growth as you in the winter, but I have a south facing wall that helps if we have sunshine (not much this year though). I must admit I didn't know about the temperatures for bananas-I thought I was doing good to keep them at 40-50* F. No wonder I haven't gotten good growth. My poor naners haven't known whether to go dormant or not. I have a lot to learn, but I'm having fun while I'm at it. Have you had any fruit yet? I can't wait-I love naners! This site has been a treasure trove of information. Thanks to all who contribute!
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Old 09-10-2008, 04:26 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Do bananas have to have a dormant stage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mskitty38583 View Post
heavenlybananas.....what makes you think nanas are addictive??? just because we start growing one and you end up with like 48 or more planted in the yard and in pots dosent make them addicting...or going to lowes just to see if they have any leafy plants that resemble nanas.....or drive by peoples houses to say oh my gosh a nana would look so cool there.....or wonder how many nanas you can stick in a room to keep them overwintered....or wondering how long walley world is gonna have the good dirt in...or running into the room every hour to make sure the humidifier hasnt run out of water.....or keep a log of when you fed them the last time...ok, so maybe it does.....rotflmao!!!!!!
I agree! Long live naners and their growers!
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