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Tissue Culturing & Other Propagation Techniques of Banana Plants This forum is for discussing propagation techniques of banana plants. Tissue culturing is the popular process of creating clones from a source plant. There are other techniques to propagate banana plants however, such as nicking corms or dividing corms. Learn more inside.


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Old 05-02-2008, 12:08 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Level 10 Propagation Questions...

I've been doing a lot of research on the internet on propagation and coming up with a whole lot of nothing. Or at least nothing solid. What I'm interested in doing is coming up with methods to increase the rate of propagation for my banana plants that go beyond harvesting pups and short of micro culture.

In my case, I'm not too worried about harvesting the bananas this year, what I want to do is increase the number of plants I have. I'd like more plants to fill out empty spots in my yard as well as to be able to trade for varieties I do not have.

ANyways, prior to micro culture, plantation owners, developing countries and gardeners relied on certain techniques to grow more plants and not have to wait for single pups to emerge for transplantation.

Here are a couple of things I've found, that are far from "solid", that I wonder if anyone has any experience with.

1. Harvesting a pup, cutting off it's leaves, cutting in into 2-4 pieces and burying it lengthwise. SOunds wacky to me. But from other sources, I've heard that with puts, they can root with neither corm or rooting hormone.

5 days ago I did a real hatchet job, by accident, on a pup I transplanted. Absolutely no corm. I stuck it in the ground and it appears to still be doing okay. I guess I'll know in a week or two if there is any truth to this cormless-pup thing. I should have cut the leaves off.

2. Corm division. I've heard of a number of ways to divide a corm. Dividing among the eyes obviously makes sense. But others seem to indicate that cutting it up in anyway will produce a new plant for each bit.

3. Read where one guy got a tree to grow from a leaf rooting. I assume this would have to have come off of a pup. He had a leaf that floated on top of his aquarium and it grew roots...

4. Here's the weirdest one. Heard a guy took a banana, and put three pin-holes in it lengthwise. Inside each pin-hole, he inserted a leaf cutting. Once the banana turned brown, he divided it into three and planted each section.

Sounds wacky to me, but hey, I've seen way wackier stuff on Letterman!

ANyways, I certainly would be happy if any experts might add some comments, thoughts here. I think this is a topic that may be of value to a number of people on this board.

Either way,,,

Happy Bananaing!
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Old 05-02-2008, 12:42 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Level 10 Propagation Questions...

Although I'm a believer in that anything is possible, half of those methods are scientifically impossible for bananas (though the impossible ones are completely reasonable with other plants), the others are valid. You need corm to grow new plants (well, there is a way to generate plants without any corm, but this is a very advanced tissue culture method which I don't know how you would replicate without a lab, materials, training etc...all that junk).

I would recommend cutting down the plants and making a horizontal cut deep into the meristem, this will destroy the apical dominance and encourage the growth of new pups. I've done this with good success on even very small plants. And although I've never tried it, I have heard lawn starter fertilizer works well, it must have some kind of shoot proliferation hormone in it which would make sense for starting off newly planted lawns.
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Old 05-02-2008, 07:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Level 10 Propagation Questions...

I agree with Gabe, most of those methods arn't valid for bananas. I've personally cut off eyes off of one of my plants, by accident to get other pups off. Both eyes that had been cut had roots, one died, the other I think MIGHT come up still, but it's been over two months and it hasn't done anything.

If you want a plant to pup fast, you can cut off the corm to under the meristem or close to it (pretty much leveling it with the ground or soil in your pot), basically killing the plant, but it'll jumpstart the pup process. THEN wait til the new plants are around 12" (which could take as little as 2-3 weeks). Each time you remove a pup, a new one (if another hasn't already) should start sprouting out within a few weeks. Keep doing this process until the original corm just seems to be completely choped up... that's when it's been expended. You might even give up after a bunch of pups have already came up and been removed, then pull up the rhizome to put with your yard waste, and find that there's MORE eyes or pups that were under the surface. I'm still not highly experianced as I've only done this once, so I can't tell you how long this may go on. It could potentially in my eyes go on for 6 months or more. Give it a shot and see what happens!!!!

I recently tried this on a planted banana that hadn't shown any growth in 4 months and I didn't cut it low enough. Instead of pups coming up the main plant came back to life and is taller than it was to begin with. This was a month ago since I did that! I did have four rhizomes coming off of the main corm, but they havne't done anything since the main corm is recovering and giving all off it's energy to the mother. I'll get pups after no time though!

I like Gabes idea as well. It might go twice as fast by doing as I stated above, but only splitting the left over corm in half, but personally I'm (sorta) patient enough to just do it with the main corm left in tact. I also think that it would expend the corm faster by splitting it in half and you wouldn't get as many pups. Also be sure to have a good mixture of soil. I use a good drainage compost soil layered with manure. Usually I use ground soil, layer manure, put in the corm, compost soil, thin (1") layer of manure near the top, and top off with more compost soil. This works great for me. Good luck with whichever method you do choose and post your results!!!

Last edited by jpfloors : 05-02-2008 at 08:06 AM.
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Old 05-02-2008, 10:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Level 10 Propagation Questions...

Hey guys what is a meristem? That's a new term for me.
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Old 05-02-2008, 12:02 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Level 10 Propagation Questions...

Dean, I believe meristem is the pseudo-stem,,,, or the "trunk" of the tree,,, or plant,, or herb, or whatever it is you like to call the banana tree. JP is talking about cutting the tree down to ground level, just above the corm to induce pup/sucker production.

Thanks for the very thoughtful responses everyone.

It seems to me, if you have the trees to spare and the gumption, and you would like to acquire more trees, then in the spring-time, "assuming you live in a climate where trees go dormant in winter" one tree ought to be cut down to ground level as JP talked about and induced to produce only pups and no fruit or stem.

This makes sense to me as it leaves a lion share of the growing season for these pups to reach some level of maturity. In addition to that, it seems a very productive way of utilizing the plant. Just like harvesting pups to promote plant growth and fruiting,accept in this case, you the harvest pseudo-stem to promote pup production.

I think I'll try this. In addition, I'll be looking into pup and corm division.

I'll take pictures and post results either way.

Either way,,,, Happy Bananaing!!!
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Old 05-02-2008, 12:42 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Level 10 Propagation Questions...

The meristem is the actual area of cell division in the plant. It is located inside pseudostem on top of the corm at the base of the plant (except when flowering, it travels up the pseudostem and out of the top, producing the flowers and the rest of inflorescence, it ends up in the male bud where it eventually terminates). Other meristems are also located at various points around the corm, when these sprout they form their own pseudostems and these are what become suckers. In many plants, the apical meristem produces a hormone which discourages the growth of too many extra shoots (called "apical dominance"), if you destroy the apical meristem it will break this dominance and allow other shoots to grow out. Many of the buds for new suckers are already formed on the plant, they are just being inhibited until the plant gives them permission to grow.

Here is a diagram taken from Simmonds book, what he labels as "gp" (growth point) is the meristem, as well as the same corresponding area on the sucker.

Simmonds, N.W. Bananas. London: Longmans, 1959.
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Old 05-02-2008, 01:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Level 10 Propagation Questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe15 View Post
The meristem is the actual area of cell division in the plant. It is located inside pseudostem on top of the corm at the base of the plant (except when flowering, it travels up the pseudostem and out of the top, producing the flowers and the rest of inflorescence, it ends up in the male bud where it eventually terminates). Other meristems are also located at various points around the corm, when these sprout they form their own pseudostems and these are what become suckers. In many plants, the apical meristem produces a hormone which discourages the growth of too many extra shoots (called "apical dominance"), if you destroy the apical meristem it will break this dominance and allow other shoots to grow out. Many of the buds for new suckers are already formed on the plant, they are just being inhibited until the plant gives them permission to grow.

Here is a diagram taken from Simmonds book, what he labels as "gp" (growth point) is the meristem, as well as the same corresponding area on the sucker.

Simmonds, N.W. Bananas. London: Longmans, 1959.
Gabe,

Thanks for taking the time to explain the meristem to me. It is very helpful. That's a nice diagram. I'll have to look for that book now if it's still available.
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Old 05-02-2008, 01:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Level 10 Propagation Questions...

hey thanks gabe that is interesting to know. i had no clue that it travled up the p- stem to make the flower. thats awesome.
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Old 05-02-2008, 01:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Level 10 Propagation Questions...

I have had great success with #1, #3 and #4. All work well. #2 is the only one that doesn't work.




Oh, wait, #2 works, and the others don't.
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Old 05-02-2008, 06:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Level 10 Propagation Questions...

Hey Gabe, Thank you so much for the awsome diagrame and for explaining everything I had already a little more on the technical aspect. I LOVE to learn!

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Old 05-02-2008, 07:27 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Level 10 Propagation Questions...

Thanks for the diagram Gabe, # 1 sounds vaguely familiar with something I read about cannas.
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Old 05-02-2008, 08:54 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Level 10 Propagation Questions...

I found out last year if you really do a chop job on a pup and it has a lot of white at the bottom, but not the actual corm--it is possible to root it in the waterfall/stream of my fish pond in the summer. I saved lots of bordelon and basjoo pups that I cut off badly that way. It only works if you have some of the white or pinkish part at the bottom though. It takes about a week for them to grow a root and then if you leave them longer they will grow 2-3 and that's when I pot them up.
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Old 05-02-2008, 09:00 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Level 10 Propagation Questions...

Thanks Sandy, good stuff to know, that it can be done.
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Old 05-02-2008, 09:15 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Level 10 Propagation Questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandy0225 View Post
I found out last year if you really do a chop job on a pup and it has a lot of white at the bottom, but not the actual corm--it is possible to root it in the waterfall/stream of my fish pond in the summer. I saved lots of bordelon and basjoo pups that I cut off badly that way. It only works if you have some of the white or pinkish part at the bottom though. It takes about a week for them to grow a root and then if you leave them longer they will grow 2-3 and that's when I pot them up.
The whitish part is still considered corm, just very young corm. As long as you cut below the apical meristem you have a chance.
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Old 05-03-2008, 12:57 AM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Level 10 Propagation Questions...

Awesome Gabe! Thanks for the diagram and the lesson. I think I will do just that. Seems very clear to me now.

Once done,,, with "the cut" into the corm, will the pups shoot out the side, or will they start growing in the area of the cut? Either way I'm going to try it. I'd like to get more plants.

JP, thanks too.

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Old 05-03-2008, 02:50 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Level 10 Propagation Questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Banana Mike View Post
Once done,,, with "the cut" into the corm, will the pups shoot out the side, or will they start growing in the area of the cut? Either way I'm going to try it. I'd like to get more plants.
They should just come out the side. I suppose its possible they could start making them out of the top like Ensete do (though these are not true pups in the way Musa are), but I haven't seen it happen with Musa.
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Old 05-03-2008, 11:23 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Level 10 Propagation Questions...

If corm is still present but no roots at all, about how long will it take for roots to start growing? And how do you know if there is root activity without digging down and destroying the newly emerging roots?
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Old 05-04-2008, 04:25 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Level 10 Propagation Questions...

It's just one of those things where you have to be patient. It also depends on how soon it was planted after being split, where it's placed, weather conditions, how much you water, how your soil is and how well you ammend it. It could take two weeks, it could take three months, but you definately wouldn't want to up root it to check for new root growth, at least not for a month or two, but that would be taking a risk. You'll know when it has roots when you start to see the top of the corm have new growth! I received some plants a few weeks ago, they had old roots, but yet 3 out of four plants (all different varieties) started to come back to life within a week or two. Musa are a strange and wonderous family with lots of mystery, but one thing is for sure, they have a will to live and are hard to kill if they're treated right.
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Old 05-04-2008, 07:02 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Level 10 Propagation Questions...

I once waited 9 months for a 'Dwarf Orinoco' to root and begin growing. It took 4 months for my 'aeae' to begin growing a single root and another 4 months for it to begin making actual leaf growth. Keep the faith.
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Old 05-12-2008, 10:57 AM   #20 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Level 10 Propagation Questions...

I have a banana plant I got in the mail with a large healthy pseudostem and white corm but no roots which I planted in potting soil and watered carefully only watering when soil was dry down to two inches. I see no new growth on top and now the pseudostem is starting to dry on the outer leaves even though the underlying pseudostem appears very healthy. I am worried that the plant will shrivel up and die and here is my dilema - I am on the fence between too much water on the one hand rotting out the corm and not enough water and drying out the plant on the other. Please advise what to do. Am I just crazy with fear about losing the plant or should I worry?
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