Banana Shrub: How To Grow Banana Shrubs?
Banana plants are popular tropical fruit trees with many uses. They have been cultivated since ancient times and their popularity continues today. Their edible fruits are widely used in the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa and Asia. They grow well in most climates but they do not like hot temperatures or dry conditions.
So how can you get your hands on some bananas?
You could plant them yourself!
Planting a banana tree is relatively easy and it requires no special equipment other than soil. Most people think that planting a banana tree is difficult because there are so many different varieties of bananas. However, this isn’t true at all; there are only about 20 types of bananas (and probably less).
There are two main kinds of bananas – Cavendish and Musa acuminata. These two species produce the same type of fruit but differ in size, shape, color and flavor characteristics.
The first step in growing a banana tree is deciding which variety of banana you want to plant. For example, if you’re interested in eating the small red bananas called Musa balbisiana, then choose one from the genus Musa. If you’d rather eat the large yellow bananas known as Cavendish bananas, then pick one from the genus Cavendish.
There are several ways to determine what kind of banana tree will best suit your needs. Perhaps the easiest way is to simply ask your local nursery or garden center employees what will grow best in your area. They will be able to tell exactly what kind of banana tree you should plant in your specific climate and what kind of conditions it will need to survive and thrive.
Also, be sure to ask them any questions you may have about planting a banana tree as they can give you important tips such as the difference between fertilizing and mulching your new tree.
Another way to choose a banana tree is to do some research on the web. There are many sites that sell banana trees online, some of which offer tutorials on how to grow a banana tree from its infancy all the way to harvest. This is a good option for those who would prefer not to talk to people at all, although it might be more time consuming than just asking an employee at a local shop.
There are also many different sizes of banana trees from which to choose. The smallest will grow to a maximum height of about 3 feet, the average will grow to about 10 feet, and the largest will grow to about 15 feet. Of course, these measurements are only averages and some trees may grow taller or shorter than others.
When choosing a banana tree it is also important to decide how many stems or trunks the tree should have. The more trunks or “heads” the tree has, the longer it will take for the tree to grow edible fruit. The fewer trunks or heads, the quicker you’ll be able to start picking bananas.
If you’ve ever seen a picture of a banana tree in its natural habitat, you’ve probably noticed that virtually all of them have many trunks. This is so they aren’t susceptible to damage from strong winds or falling over during storms. So don’t feel like you’re doing your tree a favor by whittling it down to a single trunk – quite the opposite!
If you live in a colder or otherwise harsher climate, you may also wish to buy a grafted banana tree. Grafting is when a tree’s roots are attached to another tree’s stem. In this case, the rootstock of choice is the more cold hardy and drought resistant Dwarf Cavendish.
Grafted trees also encourage faster growth and smaller root systems which means the entire plant requires less maintenance and is more adaptable to new environments.
Of course, all of this information about what kind of banana tree you should buy is worthless if you don’t actually know what to do when you bring your new baby home. So here are some tips about how to prepare your tree for its new environment:
1. Location, location, location!
Just like people, plants do much better when they are in an environment that suits them. The first thing you’ll need to decide is where you’re going to plant your new tree. It’s best to pick a spot that gets a lot of sunlight – at least 6 hours a day.
Also, be sure you don’t plant it in a flood zone and several feet away from the foundation of your home – Filippino Mistake #1.
2. You’re going to need something to dig with (a shovel or hoe will work well), a measuring tape (or ruler), and a bucket to carry water in.
3. You’ll also need to pick up some fertilizer and several bags of mulch, however, these items are much easier to acquire than the dirt you’ll be digging up.
It’s recommended that you buy an organic fertilizer such as bat guano, which can be mixed into the soil with each transplanting. Also buy a couple bags of hardwood mulch as this will help retain the soil and keep it from eroding.
4. If there isn’t a place in your yard that gets 6 hours of sun a day, you’ll either have to plant the tree in a new spot or be prepared to prop up the leaves with sticks or wire so they can get sunlight.
This is called “flagging”.
5. Now that you have all your supplies it’s time to plant the tree.
Start by digging a hole 6 inches wider than the width of the container your tree is in and just as deep.
6. Once you’ve dug the hole, take your tree out of its container and remove as much of the burlap as you can without ripping it.
7. Check to see how the tree’s roots are packed in the container.
It’s likely that it’s root ball will be circled by a thick root which has been growing through the bottom of the container and around itself. This root needs to be cut and untangled so that the tree can be planted without breaking it or putting too much strain on its trunk. A jagged line of roots running through the middle of the root ball is a good indication that your tree has “root bound” and will need to have its roots untangled.
If this is the case, use scissors or clippers to gently cut and untangle all around the outside of the root ball. Do not pull on the roots as this may tear them. Gently pull them apart and remove any circular knots you find.
You may also notice that some of the roots are very long. These can also be cut to give the tree some new growth.
8. Place the tree in the hole so that the top of its root ball is level with the surrounding ground.
If it’s slightly above or below, this is OK. It just can’t be buried too deep or it won’t get enough oxygen to survive.
9. Backfill the hole around the root ball, taking care to make sure none of the roots are trapped inside the soil and that the base of the tree is at the same level it was in the container.
10. Now you’re going to want to give your tree a good dousing with water. You can also mix a watering can full of organic fertilizer with this water and pour it in, encouraging the roots to grow faster.
If you planted your tree in the fall, around November, you’ll want to put some kind of protection around the base of the tree. You can use old boards or pieces of wood to make a protective “wall” around the base. This will help retain soil moisture and keep the root zone warmer.
This will help the tree get a head start going into the winter.
Once spring hits, remove this wall and your work is done!
You can tell if your tree is thriving if it starts putting out new growth and has small green leaves coming out in the springtime.
SHARE this helpful advice with others who love trees as much as you do!
Sources & references used in this article:
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The banana (Musa spp.) — Coffee robusta: traditional agroforestry system of Uganda by PA Oduol, JRW Aluma – Agroforestry systems, 1990 – Springer
Disease suppressiveness to Fusarium wilt of banana in an agroforestry system: influence of soil characteristics and plant community by P Deltour, SC França, OL Pereira, I Cardoso… – Agriculture, ecosystems …, 2017 – Elsevier
Plant species of traditional Mayan homegardens of Mexico as analogs for multistrata agroforests by FAJ De Clerck, P Negreros-Castillo – Agroforestry Systems, 2000 – Springer
The banana forests of Kilimanjaro: biodiversity and conservation of the Chagga homegardens by A Hemp – Biodiversity & Conservation, 2006 – Springer
Comparative herbaceous phytosociology in agroforestry and Calophyllum brasiliense monoculture on a river terrace. by ACP Devide, C Castro, RLD Ribeiro… – Revista …, 2020 – orgprints.org
Nutritive value of leaves from tropical trees and shrubs: 1 In vitro gas production and in sacco rumen degradability by B Keir, N Van Lai, TR Preston, ER Orskov – Livestock Research for Rural …, 1997 – fao.org
History and conservation of wild and cultivated plant diversity in Uganda: forest species and banana varieties as case studies by AC Hamilton, D Karamura, E Kakudidi – Plant Diversity, 2016 – Elsevier
Identification of indigenous tree and shrub fodder species in the lake Victoria shore region of Uganda. by J Sekaatuba, J Kugonza, D Wafula, W Musukwe… – Uganda Journal of …, 2004 – ajol.info