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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 08-12-2005, 01:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Good Small Varieties?

Hi,

I'm a new member here, looking for some advice. Several years ago, I had a veritable forest of bananas in my apartment, until the heat died when I was gone over the course of a few weeks to get married and the cat/banana sitter didn't realize the heat had gone completely. Living in Zone -1 (Fairbanks, Alaska), it got rather cold in the middle of winter in the apartment, and the forest never recovered despite patience hoping that the forest had gone dormant. Now that my wife and I are moving into a more permanent location, we've decided to bring back the banana forest in some form. What I would appreciate would be some advice on two things:

1. What varieties work best in containers in smaller spaces? The apartment we are leaving has cathedral ceilings, so I wasn't too concerned about height last time around. Now, I'll be limited to 8 feet. I was thinking perhaps dwarf cavendish, raja puri, and maybe that dwarf namwah pearl, but would be open to other suggestions. I do have a green thumb, and they will be under good grow lights in the winter to make up for our lack of sunlight, so they need not be the easiest varieties. (The forest that died thrived during the summer I had them with nearly 24 hours of light a day.)

2. Is there a good readily available potting mix for bananas, or should I plan to roll my own again? Last time I used a commercial mix and then added a bunch of perlite and vermiculite to it and they seemed to like it.

Thanks,

David Matz
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Old 08-12-2005, 08:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good Small Varieties?

'Raja Puri' and 'Dwarf Namwah' will be too large, 'Dwarf Cavendish' just may barely fit under there, also try a shorter Dwarf Cavendish called 'Mauritius'. The height listed for bananas is just the pseudostem height, so if it says 8ft, that means 8ft + another ~ 4-8ft for leaves depending on the variety. A good one to try (despite its negative reputation) is 'Super Dwarf Cavendish' which tops out at 6ft with leaves at the most, usually about 3-4ft of pseudostem and will do fine in there.

Now, those were just edible options. If you want a forest of bananas that will grow in the space, I would recommend some small wild species. In small, 5gal containers, Musa coccinea, velutina, laterita, mannii, beccarii and any thing called ornata are easy to get and will flower regularly in a very short amount of time. The fruit is not considered edible and the only one that will actually set ripe fruit is Musa velutina because it self pollinates, all the others will only give you full/ripe fruit if you pollinate them by hand and then when you do so you will also get seeds. I know these ones will fit and are good for indoor use.
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Old 08-12-2005, 08:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good Small Varieties?

Any fluffy potting media will be good for bananas. Examples are Super Soil, Scott's seed starter mix, etc. Avoid the cactus mix.

But, bananas really love potting media that are very high in organic matter. So I simply go for the cheapest such as composted steer manure mixed with redwood chips, and added ammonium sulfate and 6-20-20XB BEST fertilizer. Do not use this mix for newly shipped pups, only when repotting or planting established bananas.
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Old 08-12-2005, 11:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good Small Varieties?

I dont even bother with additional perlite or vermiculite for my growing conditions. I've never grown bananas indoors. My potting mixture consists of peat and a commercial potting mix, the one in the black and white plastic bag. (will have to double check for the brand name) It creates a spongy substrate that holds to the roots (or vice versa :P) fairly well. I occasionally add peat if anything to the commercial mix.
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Old 08-12-2005, 11:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good Small Varieties?

In the Los Angeles area, sometimes city will announce free compost from their recycling efforts. That free compost, used as is, is also excellent for bananas. Sometimes, it is really true that the best things in life are free, even when we've gone bananas.
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Old 08-12-2005, 05:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good Small Varieties?

Hi Color mini sounds good and better than SDC. As reported by others, this one is supposed to produce larger fruit than SDC, with fruit size slightly smaller than the commercial cavendish. Produces fruit when trunk size is between 2.5' to 3'. So it is ideal as potted plant, that might work if kept indoors provided you provide sunlight at least 4 hrs a day. When indoors and little ligt, it may bear fruit after several years.
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Old 08-12-2005, 09:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good Small Varieties?

I would stay away from 'High Color Mini' personally, Ive tried it with horrible results and found it to be more similar to the 'Little Prince' which is probly the worst edible banana that you could try to get fruit from, but I guess if it works for you, more power to ya!
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Old 08-12-2005, 11:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good Small Varieties?

Thanks for the heads up Gabe!
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Old 08-13-2005, 12:51 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good Small Varieties?

8ft is not much room for bananas as I am sure you know by your apartment experience.
One factor that is being overlooked already is minimum temp. How warm can you keep this space? If you can't keep at least 40 degrees I wouldn't mess with any cavendish varieties. Unless you don't care about fruit that is.

I have seen in person Dwarf Cavendish growing in a container and flowering at just 4ft of trunk. Right now I am growing Mauritius as an experiment. It will be kept in a container and brought in come winter. I am just cold enough at my place to make growing the cavendish's outside unpracticle.

As for potting media, if you want explosive growth and Big healthy root systems use a mix of 50% coconut fiber - 50%perlite. You can also throw in a bit of compost if you like.
Here is what you can expect with that mix.

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Old 08-16-2005, 03:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good Small Varieties?

Folks,

With doing some renovations on the new apartment and moving I've been pretty busy so I haven't had much chance to reply, but I've been checking the thread out. I wanted to thank everyone for their replies, as they've been very helpful. I'm a banana nut, and am so looking forward to getting some. Now, to get some ordered before winter hits so they don't die in transit....

David
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Old 08-16-2005, 10:02 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good Small Varieties?

Why order plantlets when many folks on here have nice big fat corms they could offer/sell you? Remember, as a general rule - a $5 banana plant is 3-4 years to bloom!
Mike
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Old 10-04-2005, 12:40 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Good Small Varieties?

JoeReal,

BTW.. Hello all. I've been lurking for a while and visit other sites but first time posting here.

JoeReal said:
>>>>>>>But, bananas really love potting media that are very high in organic matter. So I simply go for the cheapest such as composted steer manure mixed with redwood chips, and added ammonium sulfate and 6-20-20XB BEST fertilizer. Do not use this mix for newly shipped pups, only when repotting or planting established bananas.<<<<<<

I have some (propably) good sized pups coming via mail any day now. All that I have now I've purchased as fairly good sized young plants or mature plants and repotted into my own mix. ****SO... what do you suggest for MIX for PUPs via mail soon to arrive? And when can they be moved from special mix to regular mix?**** For mature-ish plants I normally use a mix consisting of fine bark mulch/compost/greensand/some canadian peat/bone meal/Osmocote time release fert/vermiculite (and/or) perolite/ and other things I have around like a bit of guano and/or worm castings and/or composted manuare. For newly arrived pups what would you ADD or Leave Out? I'll be overwintering them in a heated to ~ 75F greenhouse.

Thanks much for info. geekgranny
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