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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 01-31-2019, 07:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default What varieties to get to stimulate school kids

We are starting to put together a summer collection for school field trips. We want as many different kinds as possible which will interest the kids, like:
the tallest, shortest, most colorful leaves, biggest fruit (will grow on in greenhouse for next year probably as no fruit this year), quickest to bear (any chance for this year from small plant - tours go on till December), most unusual whatever. These plants will go into a greenhouse to overwinter for next year.
Any suggestions? we are looking at for fruit size for example, Africana Rhino Horn, plus some others which MIGHT be worthwhile - feedback on these would be welcome as well:
African Rhino Musa hybr.
Common - Dwarf Musa hybr.
Tall Superplantain Musa hybr.
Antigua Finger Rose
Dwarf Orinoco
French-type Dominican Red
Many thanks,
Peter
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Old 02-01-2019, 11:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: What varieties to get to stimulate school kids

Where are you located?
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Growing bananas in Colorado, Hawaii and Washington since 2004.
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Old 02-01-2019, 11:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: What varieties to get to stimulate school kids

Zone 7 (6b? for sure after this week) - Northern Virginia 30 miles to the white house. We plant our tropicals out in May/late April and take back in after first heavy frost (occasionally dig and pot something for grow-on in greenhouse). Pot up some of the dug material which has been stored in a root cellar in Jan/Feb/March to get a head start. Have one Univ which cooperates and helps store stuff when we get overcrowded.
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Old 02-02-2019, 02:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: What varieties to get to stimulate school kids

I would suggest to just stick with a couple of simple small types, the act of getting anything to fruit will be enough of a challenge, let alone getting a large "exotic" type to fruit. Kids who've never seen bananas on the plant will be amazed at anything. If you were to try something like 'African Rhino Horn', chances are you will just have a normal looking banana plant that will never fruit, or when it does, will be entirely unimpressive given it's conditions. If you had a greenhouse of a 20-25ft height and year-round tropical conditions where they could be permanently planted in the ground, then you could think about some of the large more interesting types.

I recommend to focus on 'Dwarf Orinoco' and perhaps some of the small wild species such as Musa velutina and Musa ornata.
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Old 02-02-2019, 10:54 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: What varieties to get to stimulate school kids

Good suggestions! We have had some bananas fruit in the past - zero idea of what kind - we still have the pups, (probably 15 generations or more) will try to post pictures and might be able to identify as they were not very big plants (12-14 feet maybe), no pictures of the flowers though.
Question though: If we got a very tall one (Orinoco or ??? I gather is tall), and we want to have something BIG- we dig it and overwinter it - would it not make a pretty impressive plant, even if it does not bear, by the end of the season? I guess the question would be whether this would be a bigger plant than say a dwarf which had been brought to fruiting stage.
I think that having two different wows! would improve the experience - and for sure the bunch of bananas would be a wow! as 99% would never have seen them in a bunch or even understand what a hand was, but also something really tall with huge leaves. Maybe an Ensete rather than a banana? The pseudostem is very impressive.
And speaking of Ensete, how long does it take to get a full sized plant from seed? (I gather that they generally do not have pups).
Thanks again for good point on how important fruiting would be for an experience!
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Old 02-02-2019, 08:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: What varieties to get to stimulate school kids

Show them a photo of a banana split at the beginning of each tour.
Ask your local grocery for expired bananas.
Implement the free bananas in your tour for the kiddos

Then build your brand/ kiddos interest from there...


What is exactly your affiliation ...with your cause.

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Old 02-02-2019, 09:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: What varieties to get to stimulate school kids

We have two operations on what is the family farm - one a for profit to hopefully make enough money to support the not-for-profit - not so easy as the not-for-profit is being built and rather expensive. We have two websites: AmazingFarmFun.com is the for profit, NationalBotanicGarden.org is the not-for-profit - its website is very old - we do all the work on it and simply have no time to update it - plants are like children - take constant attention as I am sure you know :-), websites can wait!
BTW, we are looking for Ensete seeds - hate to buy on the web as questionable everything from quality of seeds to are they really what one wants, and of course cost when so many other needs which cannot be donated.
We have many different hardy cacti as well as Colocasia esculenta which we can trade (or give away to other public gardens). The Botanic gardens are being donated to a charitable foundation.
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Old 02-02-2019, 09:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: What varieties to get to stimulate school kids

A great plant for your area is a Musa Basjoo.
It is a leave in the ground no hassle beast of a plant that will give you many years of enjoyment.
Total height is up to 25 feet with an occasional flower or two.
Leaves are wide and up to 10+ feet long.
Planted in rows will give a jungle feel to any area.

The plant is easy to find maintain and propagate.


And kids love the size of the plant.

Basjoos by
Hostafarian
,
on Flickr

Last edited by cincinnana : 02-04-2019 at 06:47 PM.
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