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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 08-20-2008, 04:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My sheltered Ae Ae

Having killed two Ae Ae (due either to under or over watering), I've been very protective of this one. I was tempted to plant it outside earlier this month in a shaded structure, but then figured I'd be digging it out in late October anyways when I would start to worry about it getting too cold. I do hope to eventually grow Ae Ae outdoors here in NorCal, but want to build up to a few plants before doing that. My greenhouse is 16' tall at the peak which I thought was tall enough, but I'm having doubts now. The Ae Ae had a lot of burned leaves back in June and early July until I installed some Aluminet shadecloth and got my misting system working. I did have problems with a couple of leaves not unfurling properly which required surgery. A friend from another forum commented to me that he had Ae Ae can use up a lot of water and it is hard to over-water them. I had been careful to avoid over-watering but then started soaking it almost daily in its 18" pot. Now I get a new perfectly-formed leaf every 5-7 days. I see some roots on the surface of the soil now and I plan to repot it into about two-thirds of a 50 gallon barrel. I will then dig a hole in the ground of my greenhouse (the soil is just covered with weed block fabric) and lower it down to give me a little more growing room. I will remove the heater hanging from the roof and either relocate it or replace it with another heater I have (if I can figure out how to wire its fan, etc.) At least that's my plan for now. I was hoping to get around to putting in a radiant heating system in the ground but don't think I'm going to find the time to do that.

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Old 08-20-2008, 04:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: My sheltered Ae Ae

Looks good Harvey. Good luck with it.
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Old 08-20-2008, 08:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: My sheltered Ae Ae

What medium are you growing the plant in? This appears to make the difference in watering. Regular potting soil like promix holds a lot of water and may rot the roots. My question is what would you add to keep the soil from remaining soaked other than perlite? I have tried adding peat moss but I am not sure this is the best additive,maybe shredded dried leaves?












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Old 08-20-2008, 10:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: My sheltered Ae Ae

Harvey, it's gorgeous! I can only dream of a greenhouse at this point, but mine is holding its own in these desert conditions. Just to be safe, I bought 2 more though. (yeah, I have the sickness) Our soil and water here is quite alkaline, but I read that Aeae's like it on the alkaline side...we will see. Definitely keeping it in dappled sun during the heat of the day. The heat is not stalling its growth as others have said previously. Our avg highs have been around 100-105 daily and it is still putting out new leaves, although about one every 2 weeks now.
I use fast draining cactus mix 50% with 50% composted worm castings/bat guano/chicken poop and I forgot what other poop is in the mix, but all of my bananas like it a lot. I got it at Home Depot, so I will try to find the name of it. Oh, and I usually amend this mixture with about 20% perlite and some organic sulphur (about 1 - 1 1/2 teaspoons per container. Lately, I have also spread sphagnum peat in the mix and on top to hold moisture in the soil and reduce evaporation.
Best of luck with your baby. She looks happy!
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Old 08-20-2008, 10:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: My sheltered Ae Ae

mm4birds - I've used a Super Soil potting mix with a lot of perlite. Peat moss will retain a lot of water so not useful for aerating soil. Coarser forms of organic matter can also help but I believe perlite is probably about the best option. I haven't checked out the coconut products for a while, though, since they aren't readily available.

Thanks, Scot, that is promising that yours are holding out okay in the dry conditions. I was thinking I'd have to mist mine when it's planted outdoors based on reports I've heard. Many times we receive recommendations from people that are from humid conditions that base their comments on what they've experienced: humid conditions. It takes crazy folks like you and me to find out what else works! Some summers we have over 30 or so days over 100F so I've been lucky this year. I have a miracle fruit in my greenhouse which reportedly demands humid conditions so I do try to keep the humidity at 40% or above. I can feel like I'm visiting the hot humid tropics at times but quickly escape to a climate that is more comfortable to me. Thanks for the head's up on the HD cactus mix; I'll check it out when I get around to repotting.

Best wishes with yours, Scot!
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Old 08-20-2008, 11:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: My sheltered Ae Ae

"Kellogg's N'Rich" is the stuff I was trying to remember. I mix it at 50/50 with the "Supersoil Palm and Cactus Mix", a fast draining soil. Both are sold at HD.
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Old 08-21-2008, 12:57 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: My sheltered Ae Ae

very pretty!
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Old 08-21-2008, 09:11 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: My sheltered Ae Ae

I does look like you're going to need a taller green house! What a beautiful plant!! You're a great pioneer. It's so exciting to see more and more of these.

Deb
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Old 08-21-2008, 11:49 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: My sheltered Ae Ae

awesome looking nana!!!!
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Old 08-21-2008, 12:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: My sheltered Ae Ae

Scot,

Are you sure you didn't mean acidic conditions for the Ae-Ae? Everything I've ever heard and read reports that they like acidic conditions- pH below 7.0- to do their best. I've been fertilizing with MirAcid (from the Miracle Grow Co.) but you should be able to use most any fertilizer for acid loving plants, such as azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, etc. You could also consider adding granulated sulfur to your soil/soil mix to aid in lowering the ph.
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Old 08-21-2008, 03:02 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: My sheltered Ae Ae

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Scot,

Are you sure you didn't mean acidic conditions for the Ae-Ae? Everything I've ever heard and read reports that they like acidic conditions- pH below 7.0- to do their best. I've been fertilizing with MirAcid (from the Miracle Grow Co.) but you should be able to use most any fertilizer for acid loving plants, such as azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, etc. You could also consider adding granulated sulfur to your soil/soil mix to aid in lowering the ph.
Yes, I've heard they like acidic conditions too.
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Old 08-21-2008, 05:07 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: My sheltered Ae Ae

Jordon who has been growing Ae Ae for 40+ years has reported several times that he believes Ae Ae enjoy alkaline conditions which are the conditions under which he grows them very successfully. I have also read several reports from other sources that say that Ae Ae prefer acidic conditions. This is something similar to the humidity conditions discussed by Scot above which I replied to earlier. People may grow plants well in a particular condition and use that as a basis for recommending that as the plant's preference. My take from all of this is that it may be slightly more tolerant of various conditions than many people realize. I don't believe anyone has carried out formal trials to evaluate what the Ae Ae's optimum conditions actually consist of. Maybe that's something that Gabe can do one day. Or maybe even me once I establish my Ae Ae plantation! LOL
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Old 08-21-2008, 07:07 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: My sheltered Ae Ae

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Originally Posted by harveyc View Post
Jordon who has been growing Ae Ae for 40+ years has reported several times that he believes Ae Ae enjoy alkaline conditions which are the conditions under which he grows them very successfully. I have also read several reports from other sources that say that Ae Ae prefer acidic conditions. This is something similar to the humidity conditions discussed by Scot above which I replied to earlier. People may grow plants well in a particular condition and use that as a basis for recommending that as the plant's preference. My take from all of this is that it may be slightly more tolerant of various conditions than many people realize. I don't believe anyone has carried out formal trials to evaluate what the Ae Ae's optimum conditions actually consist of. Maybe that's something that Gabe can do one day. Or maybe even me once I establish my Ae Ae plantation! LOL
I guess I will find out if and when I get one. Good luck with your Ae Ae plantation, Harvey. You can verify it with your trials.
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Old 04-04-2009, 06:50 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: My sheltered Ae Ae

Today I finally moved the larger of my two Ae Ae out of the greenhouse! It has been touching the top of my 16' tall greenhouse for a few months now and the leaves have been getting burnt from the sun/heat and it's warm enough outside at night (mid 40s, mostly). The pot was a half 50-gallon barrel. The psuedosteem is about 8" in diameter and 10' tall and there are 5 pups of varying sizes (hoping to build up my population this year so I'll be keeping them all). It was a big job getting this plant out of a 6' x 3' door in my greenhouse and also a big job moving it to the planting location and also getting it into the hole and cutting up the pot to get it out. We used a hand truck and even my little Kubota loader, etc. I estimate it weighed 250-300 pounds!!!

I put 2" square stakes around the root mass to help stabilize it until roots get going. As you can see from the second photo, it was fairly root-bound so I hope it takes off and flowers this summer. I believe that would probably be a first for northern California!





Thanks for looking!

Harvey
Hawaiian Ae Ae King of NorCal! LOL
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Old 04-04-2009, 11:06 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: My sheltered Ae Ae

Watch out for Ae ae rustlers! Now that it's outside the house.... There could be just 4 pups tomorrow! And I'm sure I didn't do it
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Old 04-04-2009, 11:20 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: My sheltered Ae Ae

They'll need experience in locating land mines!
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:34 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: My sheltered Ae Ae

Sheesh, what bad timing! I slept in until 7am this morning only to discover that we had frost!!! I just checked again and Wunderground.com still shows a low of 45F for this morning. Weather.com shows 46F, Qwikcast.com shows 38F. The rest of the week looks okay, but I'd like to grab Al Gore by the neck right now!!! Our official last frost date is something like March 20th and I don't every recall frost in April here before.
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Old 04-05-2009, 10:22 AM   #18 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: My sheltered Ae Ae

Is the aeae planted that high up or is the plant situated to show the root system prior to being lowered into the hole? Nice plant and good luck!
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Old 04-05-2009, 10:39 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: My sheltered Ae Ae

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Sheesh, what bad timing! I slept in until 7am this morning only to discover that we had frost!!! I just checked again and Wunderground.com still shows a low of 45F for this morning. Weather.com shows 46F, Qwikcast.com shows 38F. The rest of the week looks okay, but I'd like to grab Al Gore by the neck right now!!! Our official last frost date is something like March 20th and I don't every recall frost in April here before.
Frost event can happen all year round, especially in the foothills, and Napa Valley. Frost can occur even if air temperature is in the upper 30's, well above freezing point. Clear, moonless, windless nights is what it takes for a mideterranean type climate to have frost, more often when min temperature is below 40 deg F.

In the Bay Area influenced by Delta Breezes, we have fewer frost events, and you're right Harvey, that on the average, last frost events happen around end of March. It is also the time when citrus starts their growth flush, and the frost damages after that is severe that even the cold hardy citruses such as kumquats will suffer some damage in case a wayward frost occurs after days of warmer nights.

I hope your Ae ae can shake that one off. Send the bail-out form to Al Gore.
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Old 04-05-2009, 12:37 PM   #20 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: My sheltered Ae Ae

Harveyc,

In many of my Ecology classes we've studied and measured condition on plants in ecosystems, and what we find is that limiting condition not optimal conditions are the "limiting" factors. A banana study such as the Georgian (US) trial would be a better model to use. I'll find the information, but they did not include Ae Ae in their "study". Growth is a function of optimal conditions, but frost, rainfall, and disease presence, are some common limiting factors as you already know.

Better cold protection measures like they use in colder areas would be appropriate even there.

Best wishes

Last edited by Caloosamusa : 04-05-2009 at 12:39 PM. Reason: conjuction
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