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Banana Plant Health And Maintenance Topics This forum is for discussions of banana plant health topics such as coloration issues, burning, insects, pruning, transplanting, separating pups, viruses, disease, and other general banana plant health and maintenance issues.


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Old 11-26-2011, 04:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default What's up with these Goldfinger flowers?

My Goldfinger bloomed for the first time, but looks like it will fail to make any fruit. The first flowers it made do not look like normal female flowers, from what I can tell.

This plant had some nutritional problems: boron deficiency that was exacerbated by calcium application. And I fertilized too little because every time I did (until I worked out the boron thing) the emerging leaves were all screwed up (bent and floppy). I assume that's why I'll be getting no fruit from this plant this year.

Have any of you experts seen this happen before?

First flowers on raceme:


Raceme about 6 weeks later:
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: What's up with these Goldfinger flowers?

I don't think it's lack of fert. I don't fertilize mine.
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: What's up with these Goldfinger flowers?

Yes, but you have the magic touch!

One of my neighbors who manages to grow lots of bananas doesn't fertilize either. I guess that I really think it has most to do with the boron problem. I've read that lack of boron can interfere with fruit development and seed set (in species with seeds!).
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: What's up with these Goldfinger flowers?

You can send a tissue sample to A&L and get a definite answer, but to me it does look something like a boron or calcium deficiency. I'm an agronomist and sometimes I can tell just by looking at the plant, but those two elements can be tricky to separate.
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Old 11-26-2011, 06:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: What's up with these Goldfinger flowers?

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Yes, but you have the magic touch!
Yes he does.
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Old 11-26-2011, 06:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: What's up with these Goldfinger flowers?

Thanks Nick. I looked at the tissue analysis stuff on A&L a while back and got the impression that they didn't analyze boron in tissues. Maybe I just read it wrong. I know they do boron in soil samples.

The similarity in the symptoms of boron and calcium is how I ended up messing things up even worse than it was. I piled on gypsum, thinking I had a calcium problem, which only serves to make boron less available to the plant. Live and learn. The soil test was definitely worth the money to me. I should do the tissue analysis, too.
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Old 11-26-2011, 07:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: What's up with these Goldfinger flowers?

This is the part that perplexed me as an agronomist was that even though there are adequate levels of calcium in the soil, it may not make it into the plant. This is particularly a problem in hot dry weather. The calcium levels in my soil are beyond adequate, but when we didn't have any rain for a while they got deficient in calcium. The plants weren't drought stressed due to subsurface irrigation, but it's just not the same as having rainfall which is slightly acidic and mobilizes certain nutrients.


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Thanks Nick. I looked at the tissue analysis stuff on A&L a while back and got the impression that they didn't analyze boron in tissues. Maybe I just read it wrong. I know they do boron in soil samples.

The similarity in the symptoms of boron and calcium is how I ended up messing things up even worse than it was. I piled on gypsum, thinking I had a calcium problem, which only serves to make boron less available to the plant. Live and learn. The soil test was definitely worth the money to me. I should do the tissue analysis, too.
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Old 11-29-2011, 09:01 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: What's up with these Goldfinger flowers?

If you read here,it mentions that boron is responsible for bunches not ''filling'',so i would be inclined to think its a Boron deficiency. Boron deficiencies are also slow to go away while Ca related ones are usually cured faster and as your plant had a Boron deficiency,its probably just not fully cured yet although its probably on its way to full recovery if you have added that element
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Old 11-29-2011, 11:56 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: What's up with these Goldfinger flowers?

Thanks Kostas. That is useful guide to growing bananas. The thing about boron is that apparently it is easy to go from too little to toxically high levels. I've applied very small amounts a few times. The foliar applications of it have made the plants perk up within a couple of weeks. Since I quit applying calcium, they seem to maintain their perkiness. We'll see if I got it right when the next flower bud emerges, whenever that might be.
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Old 11-29-2011, 12:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: What's up with these Goldfinger flowers?

Wow, what a nice bunch of male flowers you got! I think you are seeing typical Goldfinger behavior. In my experience with gardeners, it is an inconsistent fruiter. I do not stock it for nursery sales.
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Old 11-29-2011, 12:56 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: What's up with these Goldfinger flowers?

Yep, I got all the male flowers anyone could ask for! Thanks for the input Richard. I know Goldfinger always does great for Sunfish, so at least you've made me feel better about my shortcomings as a banana grower!
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Old 11-29-2011, 01:15 PM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: What's up with these Goldfinger flowers?

I am sure next time you will get better results now that you know what its missing I use a complete,organic fertilizer which contains Boron and it has solved all the Boron deficiencies i encountered before starting to use it,although it took almost a year for a Boron deficient palm of mine to produce its first normal leaf(thats normal for palms)

As for your Goldfinger flowers,they seem either female or hermaphrodite/neutral to me. Male flowers have an ovary that makes up only 1/3 of the total flower length. Female flowers have an ovary that constitutes 2/3rd of the flower length and hermaphrodite/neutral flowers have an ovary half the total flower length.

From the above,i would be inclined to think you got hermaphrodite/neutral flowers and the first male flowers are just showing near the bell in your last picture
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Old 11-29-2011, 04:11 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: What's up with these Goldfinger flowers?

Don't feel so bad, the first hua moa that flowered for me had no fingers at all. Just a bare stalk.
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Old 11-29-2011, 04:22 PM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: What's up with these Goldfinger flowers?

Kostas, you are right. It started with "complete" flowers, which show up as skinny bananas on the bunch, and is now making true male flowers.
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