From Bananas Wiki
Tissue-Culturing. What is it
The method of taking tissue from a plant and using the tissue to mass produce many clones of the plant.
With bananas, tissue is typically obtained from the meristem of a banana plant, before the plant has begun the blooming process.
Members experiences with TC-plantlets
- Joe Real's experiences
1) I have grown about a third of my bananas from cheap tissue cultured plants, specially coming from eBay, and indeed they bear fruits in due time, but quite a while compared to real banana pups. Sometimes tissue cultured is the only way to get specific banana cultivars, they're cheap, they're practical, and if you are not in a hurry, they are excellent sources of affordable cultivars. After they are established, it really doesn't matter if they are from TC or pups.
2) TC plants when planted directly into the ground even in the warming days of spring often die out and had a very hard time establishing directly. They often die out by just neglecting to water them for a single day in a typical California day. You should plant them into pots, and they would be as good as pups to plant into the soil the very next year. Depending on the size of banana pups, often you can plant them directly into the ground without a problem.
3) TC plants are weak in the sense that they have itty bitty corms. I've had several that the tops were cut off due to accidents, like pots falling down head first into the ground, those plants never came back because there is almost no corm to restart the plant. On the other hand, attach a bare-rooted banana pup unto a rope, drag it around the block, and plant it, it will recover and grow.
4) The major drawback of TC plants, especially from eBay is that they are often mislabeled! It is so easy to make mistake with these plants, especially if you order from multiple cultivars in single trays. Low paid employees would ship a plant and that is their main job to package them, and would simply grab the nearest banana TC plantlet that they can get a hold of, and often you learn that there was a mistake, two to three years later. Not all sellers are like that and there are wonderful sellers who are taking great effort and the extra mile to ensure the cultivars are true as labeled. With pups, often the sellers or hobbyists have grown them, the plants have been proven, and most likely have correct cultivar names.
For hobbyists or collectors with the time patience and care they can give, Tissue cultured plants are very practical as they are often a lot cheaper to ship and of course there are advantages and disadvantages. Most likely, it is the seller's reputation and accuracy of labeling the plants that is my number one criteria for exchange or buying from