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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 09-02-2021, 07:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

Hey all, I'm excited to say that my Gros Michel has sent up a flag leaf, earlier than I was anticipating!

All the sudden I've got delusions of grandeur after previously resigning myself to never being able to taste homegrown GM fruit!

To be fair, I'm sure someone has fruited it in Central Florida, but I've looked and looked on the forum and can't find any examples, so I figure I'd share my experience!


I got it as a tissue culture plant from sddarkman619 in April of 2020:



I grew it in pots all last year. Knowing this variety's legendary sensitivity to cold, I kept it in the garage over winter. This is what it looked like on a rare-ish 75 degree day at the end of December:




I planted it in the ground February 25th, literally the first day the 10 day weather report showed it wasn't going to get below 50 degrees again. It had limped through winter without getting enough sun, so it was kinda pathetic looking at this point.




I've heard Gros Michels can get to 15' or more, and mine is only about 8', but it seems to match the descriptions of the type. Here is a pic from July of the early morning sun catching those wide open bright red petiole margins just right:




And here it is with the flag leaf today, September 2nd:




I know it's still going to be a fight to get fruit off of it before it gets cold again. We've probably got right at 3 months left before it gets too consistently cold for banana growing. I've heard GM types ripen relatively fast, though, thankfully. Does anyone have experience with the cycle time of this type?

Also, if you have any tips for fertilizers/best practices/etc. for really pushing a plant once it has fruited, definitely let me know! Thanks!
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Old 09-03-2021, 07:59 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

Quote:
Originally Posted by 75north View Post
Hey all, I'm excited to say that my Gros Michel has sent up a flag leaf, earlier than I was anticipating!

All the sudden I've got delusions of grandeur after previously resigning myself to never being able to taste homegrown GM fruit!

To be fair, I'm sure someone has fruited it in Central Florida, but I've looked and looked on the forum and can't find any examples, so I figure I'd share my experience!


I got it as a tissue culture plant from sddarkman619 in April of 2020:



I grew it in pots all last year. Knowing this variety's legendary sensitivity to cold, I kept it in the garage over winter. This is what it looked like on a rare-ish 75 degree day at the end of December:




I planted it in the ground February 25th, literally the first day the 10 day weather report showed it wasn't going to get below 50 degrees again. It had limped through winter without getting enough sun, so it was kinda pathetic looking at this point.




I've heard Gros Michels can get to 15' or more, and mine is only about 8', but it seems to match the descriptions of the type. Here is a pic from July of the early morning sun catching those wide open bright red petiole margins just right:




And here it is with the flag leaf today, September 2nd:




I know it's still going to be a fight to get fruit off of it before it gets cold again. We've probably got right at 3 months left before it gets too consistently cold for banana growing. I've heard GM types ripen relatively fast, though, thankfully. Does anyone have experience with the cycle time of this type?

Also, if you have any tips for fertilizers/best practices/etc. for really pushing a plant once it has fruited, definitely let me know! Thanks!
Looks like a nice growing plant
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Old 09-03-2021, 11:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

Thanks for the photos. That's a big one to get to flower regardless of the time of year. You have great variety of plants and are having terrific success this year. Keep us updated on the development. Congratulations.
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Old 09-03-2021, 11:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

A healthy dose of water soluble K is about all you can do to push the bunch along, leave on as long as you can before it starts regularly getting into the 40s and definitely harvest before any potential of frost. They can ripen at pretty much any stage of maturity as long as they start filling out.
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Old 09-05-2021, 04:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

Congratulations!
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Old 09-05-2021, 05:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

Congrats. Last I checked we are expecting a el Nino pattern, which prevents freezes. I bet they should finish.
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Old 09-17-2021, 09:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

Update: 9 hands. I'm a little worried that this bunch is gonna be too big to ripen as quickly as I need it to.

Does anyone know of any data regarding how much trimming hands/removing the male bud can speed up ripening?

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Old 09-21-2021, 11:45 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

This is simply amazing.
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Old 09-22-2021, 01:41 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

Remove the bud and the lower 2-3 hands to push along the rest. The more you prune the larger the others may be able to get, but you want to balance it with having an ample amount of fruit. Also, bagging it can speed it along.
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Old 09-22-2021, 09:44 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

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Originally Posted by Gabe15 View Post
Remove the bud and the lower 2-3 hands to push along the rest. The more you prune the larger the others may be able to get, but you want to balance it with having an ample amount of fruit. Also, bagging it can speed it along.
Thanks, Gabe! It's good to get your confirmation that removing the bud will help them fill in more quickly - it makes sense to me intuitively, but some people are adamant that it doesn't make any difference.

And good tip about bagging! I wouldn't even have considered it otherwise.
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Old 09-22-2021, 09:48 AM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

Very nice. Last year this story wouldn't have meant much to me because of my limited knowledge but today I am very excited for you. Great work.
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Old 09-22-2021, 10:52 AM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

Be careful when bagging your bunch. I used a giant clear plastic bag and left the bag open on the bottom for air circulation. Unless you have a specialized bag condensation needs to be monitored. Higher day temps can cause condensation which can lead to fungus and damage to the bunch.
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Old 09-22-2021, 12:21 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

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Be careful when bagging your bunch. I used a giant clear plastic bag and left the bag open on the bottom for air circulation. Unless you have a specialized bag condensation needs to be monitored. Higher day temps can cause condensation which can lead to fungus and damage to the bunch.
Thanks! Yeah, based on a little research going through old posts it looks like fashioning a bag out of frost cloth seems to be the way to go.
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Old 09-22-2021, 03:50 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Gros Michel fruiting in Central Florida

Quote:
Originally Posted by 75north View Post
Thanks, Gabe! It's good to get your confirmation that removing the bud will help them fill in more quickly - it makes sense to me intuitively, but some people are adamant that it doesn't make any difference.

And good tip about bagging! I wouldn't even have considered it otherwise.
Removing the bud only, especially after it has grown for some time, does next to nothing. The key is to remove the bud AND lower hands of fruit right as they are exposed. It's really the extra fruit that is a significant energy sink for the plant, but when removing those and trying to get every possible advantage, with one clean cut you can remove the lower hands and the bud at once. Make sure its a clean straight cut with a clean knife, and let the wound dry out well before bagging to reduce risk of possible infection.
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Last edited by Gabe15 : 09-22-2021 at 03:54 PM.
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