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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 09-13-2010, 06:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default WTF? Why no bananas???

OK, finally time to get serious whassup with my bananas. They grow beautifully; they are 15 feet tall and look like something right out of the rain forest. I have two varieties: rajapura and blue java ice cream.

Here's the problem: For the last three years, I have gotten flags followed by fruit bunches, BUT the nanas are the size of cigars, green cigars, and that's as far as they get. They never plump or get longer, just short, stubby, green bananas. Eventually they rot or get frozen. (I live in north central Florida.)

Given that the plants grow like crazy, they obviously aren't malnourished; I fertilize them frequently in the growing season and make sure they get watered.

Anyone have any ideas why they don't plump up and GROW??? My latest bunch appeared two months ago, progressed out, and I have the same 5" green cigars I had two months ago. No length growth, no plumping. What am I doing wrong???
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Old 09-13-2010, 06:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: WTF? Why no bananas???

What fertilizer are you using.
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Old 09-13-2010, 06:54 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: WTF? Why no bananas???

I use an all-purpose time release fertilizer and separately, potassium.
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Old 09-13-2010, 07:01 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: WTF? Why no bananas???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nana Nut View Post
I use an all-purpose time release fertilizer and separately, potassium.
I was guessing too much nitrogen .
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Old 09-13-2010, 10:09 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: WTF? Why no bananas???

When these "cigars" first come out, do they have male or female flowers on the end?

How long does the bunch hang on the plant before it rots or freezes?

Are they in the ground or in pots?

Quote:
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I use an all-purpose time release fertilizer and separately, potassium.
The all-purpose: what is the brand name, N-P-K values, amount and frequency of application you use?

The potassium supplement: same questions.
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Old 09-13-2010, 11:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: WTF? Why no bananas???

Well, I'm not sure I know the difference in the flowers; here is the photo:

The bunch will hang on for months until we have a freeze, usually in early January, then they get mushy and rot. Absolutely no growth has ever been past the point you see in the photo.

The plants are definitely in the ground; they're about 12-14 feet tall.

I use all purpose outdoor/indoor Osmocote 19-6-12. The potash is 0-0-60. I usually fertilize about once a month, and because the banana stand is so huge, I simply take a couple handfuls of the fertilizer and sprinkle it around the drip line of the plants.
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Old 09-13-2010, 11:59 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: WTF? Why no bananas???

Your potash source, 0-0-60 is muriate of potash and not appropriate for plants as it contains high amounts of chloride. If you want to continue applying fertilizer by hand where the water will hit it, then use Sul-Po-Mag (also called K-Mag).

The Osmocote 19-6-12 is a good formula to use with a potassium supplement. However, it works best in a soil mix or applied underneath (or mixed in) the mulch layer on surface of the soil. When it sits exposed to the air, a good portion of the nutrients escape into the atmosphere.

Measure the amount of fertilizer you use per year. For an established plant in the ground coming up from your "mother" corm: use up to 5 pounds Osmocote 19-6-12 plus 1.8 pounds of Sul-Po-Mag 0-0-22 per plant per year.

You need to remove all pups as the plant is growing except one that comes up at the time the plant is flowering. If you have a lot of pups around your flowering plant, this could be the main reason for the small bunch size.

Also, the height of a plant is measured from the base to point where the rachis (stem of the fruit bunch) comes out. This looks to be about 7-10 feet on your plants?
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Last edited by Richard : 09-13-2010 at 12:53 PM. Reason: (1 - 0.6)/0.22 = 1.8
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Old 09-13-2010, 12:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: WTF? Why no bananas???

Thanks so much for the help! I'll try this. You'd think that bananas growing in the wild with no one to take away the pups or feed them wouldn't do so well, but I guess it's like everything else: if you WANT it to grow, chances are something else is going to want to grow there more. Constant battle.
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Old 09-13-2010, 12:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: WTF? Why no bananas???

I think it is a nutrition issue as Richard pointed out, not a sucker management one. Even if mats are not thinned out at all, if they are well fed and watered there is no issue of the bunches filling out. Each individual bunch may be smaller than it's maximum potential, but they still develop. The reason it looks like a nutritional issue is that the photo of your plant looks far below the potential plant and bunch size, which is typical of undernourished plants. Depending on your soil and climatic conditions, the addition of fertilizer may not do much, especially if you are adding synthetic fertilizers in a condition where they may be easily leached away. I find in most cases bananas greatly benefit from large amounts of compost (including composted manures), preferably mixed into the soil hole upon planting, but top dressing is also beneficial. You may want to try this in addition to your improved fertilizer regime.
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Old 09-13-2010, 12:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: WTF? Why no bananas???

Thanks! Will try that, too.
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Old 09-13-2010, 11:22 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: WTF? Why no bananas???

When frost hit my bananas, they turned black. I think the cold is causig the plant to reject the fruit.
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Old 09-14-2010, 08:09 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: WTF? Why no bananas???

I agree with modenacart, if nanas are cold stressed, the quality and size of the fruit is really compromised.
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Old 09-14-2010, 08:23 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: WTF? Why no bananas???

Well, my bananas certainly haven't been "cold stressed" since winter. In May, when they began growing, the temperatures went into the 90s, and they are still in the 90s. This has been the hottest growing season on record in north central Florida. We haven't been out of the 70s for nighttime temperatures in about two or three months.
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