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Banana Seed Germination Forum As one of the toughest seeds in the plant kingdom to figure out the keys to germination success with, this is a forum with banana seed germination tips. Please entitle posts like "Musa balbisiana," or "Musa cheesmani," etc. People would then post a reply under that heading, sharing their germination successes (and failures), what materials and methods they used, germination percentage, etc.


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Old 10-05-2007, 10:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Need help getting started growing bananas from seed.

I have never grown anything from seed. But now I want try starting some musa and ensete from seed. So, I have a few questions and would appreciate any advice all of you could give to help me out.

What kind of supplies would you recommend for someone starting out (grow lights, planting medium, ect.)?

Can I start seeds this winter indoors and plant them in spring? Or is that too much trouble? e.g. With the heater running all winter would the dry air be a problem?

Who is the best supplier of seed?

Of the following varieties, which would you recommend for a beginner?

Musa balbisiana
Musa Kru
Musa Saba
Musa Ele Ele - 'Black Hawaiian'
Musa 'Giant Tanna' albo variegata
Musa Namwah pearl
Musa uranoscopus - 'Red Flowering Thai'
Musa sumatrana X Gran Nain cross - 'Gran Nain Cross'
Musa sikkimensis - 'Himalayan Banana'
Musa acuminata - 'Tapo' 'Siam Ruby' Red Banana
Ensete glaucum - snow banana
Ensete ventricosum 'Red Stripe'

Any additional advice is welcome. Thanks in advance.

Isaac
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Last edited by southlatropical : 10-05-2007 at 10:29 AM. Reason: added to question
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Old 10-07-2007, 11:32 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need help getting started growing bananas from seed.

this is an interesting wish list that you have Isaac.
But what you will find is that many of them are only vegetative, ( divisions or TC's). They do not produce seed, or they were found as an anomaly in a batch of seedlings and therefore do not come true from seed. Stick to the species selections if you would like to experiment with germination. Try www.trebrownnurseries.com or www.rarepalmseed.com. I would recommend purchasing at least 50 seeds of each variety you want to try, as they can be a little fussy to germinate. Try sowing directly into a store bought seed germination mix. Give them alternating temps at 19 hours cool and 5 hours warm. You will find that some will respond well to large fluctuations (Eg. 35c - 15c) while others are better with less severe fluctuations (Eg. 25c - 15c or 20c -15c) do not go much below 12c as this can put them into dormancy which can be hard to overcome. Also, some of the more tropical species seem to do well with constant temps in the range of 20c- 35c depending on variety. Fresh seed seems to be the best, although I have had some luck with germinating older seed stored dry at room temperature for 2 years. There are a lot of unknowns. Here are some results from my latest experiments
35c - 15c
Musa Helens Hybrid 21%
M. Sikkimensis 23%
M. Sikkimensis Red tiger 0%
M. flaviflora 3%
M. Formosana 4%
E. Glaucum 1%

25c - 15c
E. Glaucum 24%
M. Sikkimensis Red tiger 30%
M. Sikkimensis 34%
M. Helens Hyb. 11%
M. Flaviflora 7%
M. Formosana 0%

21c - 15c
M. sikkimensis 3%
M. Sikkimensis Red tiger 27%
E. glaucum 18%
M Helens Hyb. 30%
M. flaviflora 15%
M. Formosana 2%
I want to also note that after these experiments were finished, I put the seed trays on a propagation bench in the greenhouse and received some further germination from all trays with M. formosana about being about 50%
Have fun !!
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Old 10-07-2007, 12:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need help getting started growing bananas from seed.

Thank you very much. That is some thorough information.
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Old 10-07-2007, 07:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Need help getting started growing bananas from seed.

My own approach is to mix cheap potting soil with damp sand about 50/50, put it in containers, bury the seeds about 1" and cover with plastic. I try to provide bottom heat from a variety of sources, including the top of a stereo amplifier.

Patience is definitely a virtue. Germination may take several months or more.

Once the seeds germinate I dampen the soil around the seedling, cut around it with a knife and remove the seedling complete with as much soil around the roots as I can (without disturbing the seeds still in the container). I then put it under 48" fluorescent lights with ordinary worklight bulbs, as close to the tubes as I can. Note: even seedling bananas grow quickly, so take care to elevate the lights as the plants develop. Contact with a fluorescent tube will burn the leaves, although it takes hours and will not result in combustion. The result is unsightly.

You can grow bananas and such under cheap fluorescents until they are a foot or two high. After that the plants tend to get spindly.

Observe from your mistakes and develop confidence in yourself. The plants are a better source of instruction than any human expert.

Since edible bananas are seedless, I assume you are growing for foliage or flower. In this case you might also consider Heliconias, of similar habit from South America with nice flowers, as well as Strelitzia and Ravenala. All have seeds which require patience.
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Old 10-08-2007, 03:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need help getting started growing bananas from seed.

So you don't get too frustrated your first try I'd reccommend getting Ensete ventricosum, or Ensete glaucum since they don't seem to need as much heat flutuation to germinate.
Like taroking said, Musa species(and some Ensete) need tempature fluctuations. This subject has been covered extensivly on this seed germination forum, so just take a look at a few other threads for more some more ideas.
Good luck!
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Old 10-08-2007, 03:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need help getting started growing bananas from seed.

Thank you Lard Greystoke and Tropicallvr. I would certainly like to grow those ensetes. Also, I should be getting some of the velutina seeds that are posted on the trade forum. Anyone tried velutina from seed?
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Old 10-10-2007, 12:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need help getting started growing bananas from seed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by southlatropical View Post
Thank you Lard Greystoke and Tropicallvr. I would certainly like to grow those ensetes. Also, I should be getting some of the velutina seeds that are posted on the trade forum. Anyone tried velutina from seed?

Yes, velutinas and balbisianas have been the easiest musas for me to germinate.
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Old 02-11-2012, 06:54 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Need help getting started growing bananas from seed.

That was amazing info taroking and others! What about light vs dark? I am trying to germinate encete glaucum, m. sikkimensis and m. dasycarpa/velutina.

The seed packet instructions that came all just say "warm and lots of light"... not very helpful. I am getting the sense from taroking that 77F (25C) in day to 59F (15C) night appears to produce best results.

Should I also turn off the grow light at night?

Also, what about humidity? I have a great foot warming pad I am using inside our little indoor greenhouse to keep temp up, and I put a wet cloth on it to up the humidity- so basically inside the greenhouse there is always condensation.

Any tips / modification advice to what I am doing, for a first-time musa and encete germinator?
Tx!
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