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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 10-21-2012, 06:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Why Do Banana Plants Pup?

Sorry for such a broad and simple-seeming question, but I'd really appreciate an explanation.

A little backstory: back in August I purchased a lot of baby Musa Basjoo and all these former TC plants are doing well here.

On my way home from work the other day, I stopped in a Lowes and found five 3 gallon pots of Musa Basjoo marked down to something like 8 bucks. Each and every one of these pots had 5 or more Basjoo growing in them, all of them between 2-4' tall. Every one of these were on the skinny side, only maybe 1" wide. I've wanted a jungle in my backyard for awhile, so I purchased these to compliment the ones I'm already growing. Got home, took a look, and the plants were completely rootbound and in definite need of separation.

Yesterday, I stopped into a different Lowes and took a look at their Basjoos. They weren't on clearance, but there was a remarkable difference between their Basjoos and the markdowns I purchased. Each of these 3 gallon pots had a single healthy Basjoo in it, 3" thick pseudostem, 3-4' tall.

So, back to my original question: Why do some banana plants pup so profusely early on, while others do not? Is it random, or are there known external factors that influence the likelihood of pupping?

Obviously most banana plants will end up pupping over time, but to see ALL basjoo in one store multi-pup, while in another store, none of them had, leaves me to believe food, water or something influenced their growth.

Sorry for such a long post, and thanks for any information you can provide!
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Old 10-21-2012, 07:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why Do Banana Plants Pup?

Not sure how good of a response to all your questions this will be, but I'll try....

Bananas pup to further propagate themselves....plain and simple. Since edible bananas have no seeds, the only way for them to create more plants is to pup. Pupping not only allows the plant to continue fruiting regularly when it gains maturity, but also allows the plant to spread itself laterally to cover more area (which means more water/nutrients from the roots and more sunlight/carbon dioxide from the leaves). To expound on the fruiting regularly issue think about how the plant grows: one pseudostem grows to maturity and fruits, then dies back to the corm for a pup to take its place. With multiple pups growing at different stages, this ensures a reduced time between the first fruit and subsequent fruit....rather than having to wait for a whole new p-stem to grow/mature each time.

As far as why do some plants pup more than others.....some of this is environmental and some of it is based on the variety. Certain types of bananas will pup more frequently or at a younger age then other varieties. This just goes back to the genetics of the plant and its methods of growing/thriving. As far as environmental cues, proper water/nutrients make the plant happy and it will grow faster and tend to pup more than a plant starved of nutrients. Also, damage to a well-developed main plant can cause the roots to send up multiple pups in an attempt to replace that plant and its nutrient collection capability. There are a lot of factors at play, and I don't believe it's well understood exactly what stimulates the plant to pup, but as stated, it depends on a complex variety of genetic and environmental cues. As far as the differences you noted from basjoo from two different stores, this would be due to environmental issues such as sunlight, watering and fertilization. Also, one store might have removed pups from plants to force a strong single plant. It's hard to say definitively what caused it for sure. Guess that's not the best answer, but I feel that's the most accurate response to that inquiry.

Hope that helps!
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Old 10-21-2012, 08:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Why Do Banana Plants Pup?

Thanks LilRaverBoi.

I don't know about Lowes in other regions, but here in my part of Florida, Lowes is more likely to mark down product and get rid of it than do anything beneficial, outside of watering it.

Both sets of Basjoo has the same tag and initial price, so I do believe they're the right product, but it's like a set of twins were separated at birth, growing up to be very different from one another. Danny DeVito was marked down. Arnold Schwarzenegger is still full priced lol.

The pupping plants I purchased all had thinner, pointier leaves, while the "healthier", thicker Pstemmed solo basjoos I didn't purchase seemed to have broader leaves, matching my TC plants.

Having been (mostly) separated and put into a healthy bed, I'm curious to see how much change might come to these plants. Probably won't see real change under spring, but it's certainly something to look forward to.
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why Do Banana Plants Pup?

Maybe they had'nt suckered so much as you think and they were planted with more than one plant per each container to make for a nicer looking potted plant? Doesnt seem very likely to me that a single immature plant would sucker so much at such a young age in a 3 gal. pot unless it was damaged very early on.

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Old 10-23-2012, 12:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Why Do Banana Plants Pup?

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Maybe they had'nt suckered so much as you think and they were planted with more than one plant per each container to make for a nicer looking potted plant? Doesnt seem very likely to me that a single immature plant would sucker so much at such a young age in a 3 gal. pot unless it was damaged very early on.
Thanks Varig8.

All the plants I compared came from Lowes. Same size container, same labels, same plant. They even had the same initial price, so I'm lead to believe they were all once meant to be the exact same product. The only difference was location. Weak, sickly looking multi-puppers at one store, healthy, solitary basjoo at the other. In all likelihood the parent plant had been damaged or removed from these puppers.

As the plants were entirely root-bound, it's near impossible for a complete novice like me to try and determine age or length of time they were there in the store.

Here's an (admittedly, poor) image of 2 of the containers before I removed and separated them all.



There's no guarantee these guys will all pull through, but for 8 bucks a container, it was worth a try.
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Old 10-23-2012, 12:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why Do Banana Plants Pup?

I think you could grow an etible fruiting type just as well. :^)
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Old 10-23-2012, 12:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why Do Banana Plants Pup?

maybe they came from different batches or different tc labs. If they used more of the chemical that causes the original plants to pup, maybe it didn't wear off as fast, causing the plants to throw more suckers after they were divided from the tubs and planted.
I received a batch of bordelons from agristarts like that one time. They just had one little 2.5" tc plant in each cell when I received them but almost immediately upon planting in 3.5" pots, they sent up pups, sometimes as many as 8 in a clump. The original plants were still only 4" tall and healthy, so I knew it wasn't possible they were old enough to produce pups normally. So I figured it had to be chemically induced.
Anyway, I'm not complaining...I haven't had to order bordelons since!
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Old 10-23-2012, 01:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Why Do Banana Plants Pup?

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maybe they came from different batches or different tc labs. If they used more of the chemical that causes the original plants to pup, maybe it didn't wear off as fast, causing the plants to throw more suckers after they were divided from the tubs and planted.
I received a batch of bordelons from agristarts like that one time. They just had one little 2.5" tc plant in each cell when I received them but almost immediately upon planting in 3.5" pots, they sent up pups, sometimes as many as 8 in a clump. The original plants were still only 4" tall and healthy, so I knew it wasn't possible they were old enough to produce pups normally. So I figured it had to be chemically induced.
Anyway, I'm not complaining...I haven't had to order bordelons since!
That's quite interesting Sandy.

My only experience with TCs comes from purchasing 15 or so young plants from Wellspring Gardens. They're not labeled as TC, nor sold as micro-starters or anything, but when they're still in those 2" deep cells, it's not hard to figure it out lol.

My 3g containers had 2 generations of pups: 3ft plants and then tiny little starters, only weeks old, at best. The older, 3-footers all appeared to share the same corm, and I don't believe they were fused due to tight quarters, though I don't know if that happens with Banana plants or not. The baby pups are obviously offshoots of their parents.

Though all these plants look like they need a lot of TLC, I'm not too concerned. I only started collecting MBs back in July. My orignal 8" plants are a little over 2 feet tall now and getting ready to explode upward and out. These newly acquired purchases have a head start on them, and I'm curious to see how they'll compare when the growing here in FL slows or stops.
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Old 10-23-2012, 03:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why Do Banana Plants Pup?

" As far as why do some plants pup more than others.....some of this is environmental and some of it is based on the variety. Certain types of bananas will pup more frequently or at a younger age then other varieties. This just goes back to the genetics of the plant and its methods of growing/thriving. As far as environmental cues, proper water/nutrients make the plant happy and it will grow faster and tend to pup more than a plant starved of nutrients. Also, damage to a well-developed main plant can cause the roots to send up multiple pups in an attempt to replace that plant and its nutrient collection capability "

I bought 2 Musella lasiocarpa earlier this year - same size, same nursery - and planted them not 5ft apart - same soil, same slope, same light conditions - and one of them is a machine when it come to pups.....has produced about 8 so far. The other, nothing. The 2 plants are still the same size, have about the same number of leaves and even look the same in diameter, just can not figure out why one is so prolific and the other not?
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Thumbs up Re: Why Do Banana Plants Pup?

I like buying ones that have pups, its like getting a free plant in my opinion. I separate them and get at least 2 for 1. If you paid 8 bucks for the ones in your pic you got a good deal on some decent sized plants.
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:56 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Why Do Banana Plants Pup?

Quote:
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I like buying ones that have pups, its like getting a free plant in my opinion. I separate them and get at least 2 for 1. If you paid 8 bucks for the ones in your pic you got a good deal on some decent sized plants.
Came out to about 40 bucks for 30 basjoo + another one or two new pups.

Been in the ground 3 days now. Trimmed away most of the torn and yellowed leaves, and every plant is throwing out a healthy light green leaf with no hints of brown tips or a rotten core. Full sun and an untested bed and there's been no hint of stress in any of them.

I'll give 'em a few more days then I'll fertilize, compost the top and mulch the new beds.
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:54 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why Do Banana Plants Pup?

Quote:
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I like buying ones that have pups, its like getting a free plant in my opinion. I separate them and get at least 2 for 1.
Yeah...me too. If I have a choice, I tend to buy the ones with the most pups.
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Old 10-25-2012, 12:52 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Why Do Banana Plants Pup?

I find they pup when they feel like pupping
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Old 10-25-2012, 01:41 PM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Why Do Banana Plants Pup?

All that I know is they will keep you busy cutting them off. On my three plants, I would WAG that I have cut off over thirty on these first season plants maybe more than that. The more you cut them the faster they grow new ones.

I cut them off and put them in the rose bed which the roses love them.
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Old 10-25-2012, 01:47 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why Do Banana Plants Pup?

Quote:
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All that I know is they will keep you busy cutting them off. On my three plants, I would WAG that I have cut off over thirty on these first season plants maybe more than that. The more you cut them the faster they grow new ones.

I cut them off and put them in the rose bed which the roses love them.
I believe that to be very true in my case anyway ( you cut 2 off and 5 grow back). :^)
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Old 11-29-2012, 06:16 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why Do Banana Plants Pup?

The plant in the container with a lot of pups (to me) does not look like Basjoo. It looks more like a Velutina or Ornata. What I've noticed about Basjoo is that the leaves tend to be wider and less erect than that, and they don't tend to pup that profusely in containers. On the other hand, I saw a bunch of Velutinas at a local nursery that had completely filled their pots with pups, and were about that size and had similar shaped leaves and petioles. Plant them in the ground, and I wouldn't be surprised if you got a nice pink or purple colored bloom from those earlier than expected. Note that I'm still pretty new to banana identification, and this is just my opinion. All of those traits that we're seeing in those plants could be the result of crowding or a nutrient deficiency of some sort. That plant doesn't look particularly happy.
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Old 11-29-2012, 12:55 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why Do Banana Plants Pup?

The plant looks like M. basjoo to me, but some close up photos of the petioles would help secure an ID.

As for the suckering, this is very common from tissue cultured plants. The reason is that they have been growing in a growth medium with sucker-inducing hormones for many months, right at the end, they are switched to a different medium, but often there is residual effects. Additionally, during that last stage of micropropagation, it is very easy to transfer pieces of tissue which have many buds on them, so when they are added to the "elongation medium" with different hormones to promote shoot growth, all of the buds will start developing and you get many suckers, often they are very thin and weak water suckers, but if carefully separated they will grow into new plants just fine. Of course all of this is very dependent on the variety in question, but at least in my experience it is a rather common occurrence.
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Old 08-21-2013, 09:35 PM   #18 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Why Do Banana Plants Pup?

Foreverlad: Does Lowes sell these often? I am often around the Largo area and have not seen any bananas for sale outside of small private nurseries. Than again, I usually go to Home Depot rather than Lowes... also maybe you'd like to see or trade a few pups?
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Old 08-28-2013, 01:12 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why Do Banana Plants Pup?

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Foreverlad: Does Lowes sell these often? I am often around the Largo area and have not seen any bananas for sale outside of small private nurseries. Than again, I usually go to Home Depot rather than Lowes... also maybe you'd like to see or trade a few pups?
I have 20 varities...you are welcome to pups....Kat ("Dreamingofthetropics"), Hector and other members often pick up over one hundred corms each visit...




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Old 08-28-2013, 03:06 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why Do Banana Plants Pup?

insane!
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