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 Musa subsp. var.  Banana
Banana plant
Habit: tree
Height: to
Width: to
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Lifespan: perennial
Exposure: sun, part-sun
Water: wet, moist, moderate
Features: fruit, foliage
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USDA Zones: to
Sunset Zones:
Flower features:
Musaceae > Musa var. ,

Adaptation Bananas and plantains are today grown in every humid tropical region and constitutes the 4th largest fruit crop of the world. The plant needs 10 - 15 months of frost-free conditions to produce a flower stalk. All but the hardiest varieties stop growing when the temperature drops below 12° C (53° F). Growth of the plant begins to slow down at about 27° C (80° F) and stop entirely when the temperature reaches 38° C (100° F). High temperatures and bright sunlight will also scorch leaves and fruit, although bananas grow best in full sun. Freezing temperatures will kill the foliage. In most areas bananas require wind protection for best appearance and maximum yield. They are also susceptible to being blown over. Bananas, especially dwarf varieties, make good container specimens if given careful attention. The plant will also need periodic repotting as the old plant dies back and new plants develop.

Growth Habit: Bananas are fast-growing herbaceous perennials arising from underground rhizomes. The fleshy stalks or pseudostems formed by upright concentric layers of leaf sheaths constitute the functional trunks. The true stem begins as an underground corm which grows upwards, pushing its way out through the center of the stalk 10-15 months after planting, eventually producing the terminal inflorescence which will later bear the fruit. Each stalk produces one huge flower cluster and then dies. New stalks then grow from the rhizome. Banana plants are extremely decorative, ranking next to palm trees for the tropical feeling they lend to the landscape.

Foliage: The large oblong or elliptic leaf blades are extensions of the sheaths of the pseudostem and are joined to them by fleshy, deeply grooved, short petioles. The leaves unfurl, as the plant grows, at the rate of one per week in warm weather, and extend upward and outward , becoming as much as 2.7m (9') long and 0.6m metres (2m) wide. They may be entirely green, green with maroon splotches, or green on the upper side and red-purple beneath. The leaf veins run from the mid-rib straight to the outer edge of the leaf. Even when the wind shreds the leaf, the veins are still able to function. Approximately 44 leaves will appear before the inflorescence.

Flowers: The banana inflorescence shooting out from the heart in the tip of the stem, is at first a large, long-oval, tapering, purple-clad bud. As it opens, the slim, nectar-rich, tubular, toothed, white flowers appear. They are clustered in whorled double rows along the the floral stalk, each cluster covered by a thick, waxy, hood like bract, purple outside and deep red within. The flowers occupying the first 5 - 15 rows are female. As the rachis of the inflorescence continues to elongate, sterile flowers with abortive male and female parts appear, followed by normal staminate ones with abortive ovaries. The two latter flower types eventually drop in most edible bananas.

Fruits: The ovaries contained in the first (female) flowers grow rapidly, developing parthenocarpically (without pollination) into clusters of fruits, called hands. The number of hands varies with the species and variety. The fruit (technically a berry) turns from deep green to yellow or red, and may range from 6cm - 30cm (2.5" - 12") in length and 2cm - 5cm (0.75" - 2") in width. The flesh, ivory-white to yellow or salmon-yellow, may be firm, astringent, even gummy with latex when unripe, turning tender and slippery, or soft and mellow or rather dry and mealy or starchy when ripe. The flavor may be mild and sweet or subacid with a distinct apple tone. The common cultivated types are generally seedless with just vestiges of ovules visible as brown specks. Occasionally, cross-pollination with wild types will result in a number of seeds in a normally seedless variety.

Banana is the common name used for herbaceous, cultigenic plants in the genus Musa, and is also the name given the fruit of these plants.

Banana plants are of the family Musaceae. They are cultivated primarily for their fruit, and to a lesser extent for the production of fibre and as ornamental plants. They are native to tropical southeastern Asia but are widely cultivated in tropical regions. Because of their size and structure, banana plants are often mistaken for trees. The main or upright growth is called a pseudostem, which when mature, for some species can obtain a height of up to 2–8 m, with leaves of up to 3.5 m in length. Each pseudostem produces a single bunch of bananas, before dying and being replaced by a new pseudostem. The base of the plant is a rhizome (known as a corm). Corms are perennial, with a productive lifespan of 15 years or more.

The banana fruit grow in hanging clusters, with up to 20 fruit to a tier (called a hand), and 3-20 tiers to a bunch. The total of the hanging clusters is known as a bunch, or commercially as a "banana stem", and can weigh from 30–50 kg. The fruit averages 125 g, of which approximately 75% is water and 25% dry matter content. Each individual fruit (or 'finger', or in common usage 'banana') has a protective outer layer (a peel or skin) with a fleshy edible inner portion. Typically the fruit has numerous strings (called 'phloem bundles') which run between the skin and the edible portion of the banana, and which are commonly removed individually after the skin is removed. Bananas are a valuable source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and potassium.

Bananas are grown in 132 countries worldwide, more than any other fruit crop. In popular culture and commerce, "banana" usually refers to soft, sweet "dessert" bananas that are usually eaten raw. The bananas from a group of cultivars with firmer, starchier fruit are generally used in cooking rather than eaten raw. Bananas may also be dried and ground into banana flour.

Although the wild species have fruits with numerous large, hard seeds, virtually all culinary bananas have seedless fruits. Bananas are classified either as dessert bananas (meaning they are yellow and fully ripe when eaten) or as green cooking bananas. Almost all export bananas are of the dessert types; however, only about 10-15% of all production is for export, with the U.S. and EU being the dominant buyers.


Location: Bananas require as much warmth as can be given them. Additional warmth can be given by planting next to a building. Planting next to cement or asphalt walks or driveways also helps. Wind protection is advisable, not for leaf protection as much as for protection of the plant after the banana stalk has appeared. During these last few months propping should be done to keep the plant from tipping or being blown over.

Soil: Bananas will grow in most soils, but to thrive, they should be planted in a rich, well-drained soil. The best possible location would be above an abandoned compost heap. They prefer an acid soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. The banana is not tolerant of salty soils.

Irrigation: The large leaves of bananas use a great deal of water. Regular deep watering is an absolute necessity during warm weather. Do not let plants dry out, but do not overwater. Standing water, especially in cool weather, will cause root rot. Plants grown in dry summer areas such as Southern California need periodic deep waterings to help leach the soil of salts. Spread a thick layer of mulch on the soil to help conserve moisture and protect the shallow roots. Container grown plants should be closely watched to see that they do not dry out. An occasional deep watering to leach the soil is also helpful.

Fertilization: Their rapid growth rate make bananas heavy feeders. During warm weather, apply a balanced fertilizer once a month--a 8:10:8 NPK fertilizer appears to be adequate. A mature plant may require as much as 700g - 900g (1.5lb to 2lb) of the above fertilizer each month. Young plants need a quarter to a third as much. Spread the fertilizer evenly around the plant in a circle extending 1.2m - 2.4m (4' - 8') from the trunk. Do not allow the fertilizer to come in contact with the trunk. Feed container container plants on the same monthly schedule using about half the rate for outside plants.

Frost Protection: Bananas flourish best under uniformly warm conditions but can survive -2° C (28° F) for short periods. If the temperature does not fall below -6° C (22° F) and the cold period is short, the underground rhizome will usually survive. To keep the plants that are above ground producing, protection against low temperatures is very important. Wrap trunk or cover with blanket if the plants are small and low temperatures are predicted.

Pruning Only one primary stem of each rhizome should be allowed to fruit. All excess shoots should be removed as soon as they are noticed. This helps channel all of of the plant's energy into fruit production. Once the main stalk is 6 - 8 months old, permit one sucker to develop as a replacement stalk for the following season. When the fruit is harvested, cut the fruiting stalk back to 80cm (30") above the ground. Remove the stub several weeks later. The stalk can be cut into small pieces and used as mulch.

Fruit Harvest: Stalks of bananas are usually formed in the late summer and then winter over. In March they begin "plumping up" and may ripen in April. Occasionally, a stalk will form in early summer and ripen before cold weather appears. The fruit can be harvested by cutting the stalk when the bananas are plump but green. For tree-ripened fruit, cut one hand at a time as it ripens. If latter is done, check stalk daily as rodents can eat the insides of every banana, from above, and the stalk will look untouched. Once harvested the stalk should be hung in a cool, shady place. Since ethylene helps initiate and stimulate ripening, and mature fruit gives off this gas in small amounts, ripening can be hastened by covering the bunch with a plastic bag. Plantains are starchy types that are cooked before eating.


Propagation of bananas is done with rhizomes called suckers or pups. Very small pups are called buttons. Large suckers are the preferred planting material. These are removed from vigorous clumps with a spade when at least one metre (three feet) tall, during warm months. Pups should not be taken until a clump has at least three to four large plants to anchor it. When the pup is taken the cut must be into the mother plant enough to obtain some roots. Plant close to the surface. Large leaves are cut off of the pup leaving only the youngest leaves or no leaves at all. Some nurseries supply banana plants as container grown suckers.

In some countries, bananas are commercially propagated by means of tissue culture. This method is preferred since it ensures disease-free planting material. When using vegetative parts such as suckers for propagation, there is a risk of transmitting diseases (especially the devastating Panama disease).

Pests and diseases

Bananas have few troublesome pests or diseases outside the tropics. Root rot from cold wet soil is by far the biggest killer of banana plants in our latitudes. California is extremely fortunate in not having nematodes that are injurious to the banana. Gophers topple them, and snails and earwigs will crawl up to where they can get continuous water, but these pests do not bother the plant.

Main article: List of banana and plantain diseases

While in no danger of outright extinction, the most common edible banana cultivar 'Cavendish' (extremely popular in Europe and the Americas) could become unviable for large-scale cultivation in the next 10-20 years. Its predecessor 'Gros Michel', discovered in the 1820s, has already suffered this fate. Like almost all bananas, it lacks genetic diversity, which makes it vulnerable to diseases, which threaten both commercial cultivation and the small-scale subsistence farming.[1][2] Major diseases include:

  • Panama Disease (Race 1) – fusarium wilt (a soil fungus). The fungus enters the plants through the roots and moves up with water into the trunk and leaves, producing gels and gums. These plug and cut off the flow of water and nutrients, causing the plant to wilt. Prior to 1960 almost all commercial banana production centered on the cultivar 'Gros Michel', which was highly susceptible to fusarium wilt. The cultivar 'Cavendish' was chosen as a replacement for 'Gros Michel' because out of the resistant cultivars it was viewed as producing the highest quality fruit. However, more care is required for shipping the 'Cavendish' banana and its quality compared to 'Gros Michel' is debated.
  • Tropical Race 4 - a reinvigorated strain of Panama Disease first discovered in 1993. This is a virulent form of fusarium wilt that has wiped out 'Cavendish' in several southeast Asian countries. It has yet to reach the Americas; however, soil fungi can easily be carried on boots, clothing, or tools. This is how Tropical Race 4 moves from one plantation to another and is its most likely route into Latin America. The Cavendish cultivar is highly susceptible to TR4, and over time, Cavendish is almost certain to be eliminated from commercial production by this disease. Unfortunately the only known defense to TR4 is genetic resistance.
  • Black Sigatoka - a fungal leaf spot disease first observed in Fiji in 1963 or 1964. Black Sigatoka (also known as Black Leaf Streak) has spread to banana plantations throughout the tropics due to infected banana leaves being used as packing material. It affects all of the main cultivars of bananas and plantains, impeding photosynthesis by turning parts of their leaves black, and eventually killing the entire leaf. Being starved for energy, fruit production falls by 50% or more, and the bananas that do grow suffer premature ripening, making them unsuitable for export. The fungus has shown ever increasing resistance to fungicidal treatment, with the current expense for treating 1 hectare exceeding US$1000 per year. In addition to the financial expense there is the question of how long such intensive spraying can be justified environmentally. Several resistant cultivars of banana have been developed, but none has yet received wide scale commercial acceptance due to taste and texture issues.
  • Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) - this virus is spread from plant to plant by aphids. It causes stunting of the leaves resulting in a "bunched" appearance. Generally, a banana plant infected with the virus will not set fruit, although mild strains exist in many areas which do allow for some fruit production. These mild strains are often mistaken for malnourishment, or a disease other than BBTV. There is no cure for BBTV, however its effect can be minimised by planting only tissue cultured plants (In-vitro propagation), controlling the aphids, and immediately removing and destroying any plant from the field that shows signs of the disease.

Even though it is no longer viable for large scale cultivation, 'Gros Michel' is not extinct and is still grown in areas where Panama Disease is not found. Likewise, 'Cavendish' is in no danger of extinction, but it may leave the shelves of the supermarkets for good if diseases make it impossible to supply the global market. It is unclear if any existing cultivar can replace 'Cavendish' on a scale needed to fill current demand, so various hybridisation and genetic engineering programs are working on creating a disease-resistant, mass-market banana.


M. acuminata (syn. M. cavendishii, M. nana) Dwarf Cavendish
↕ 6-8ft USDA Zones Sunset Zones 21-27 Perennial
Leaves to 1.5m (5'). Large heavy flower clusters with reddish to dark purple bracts, yellow flowers. In very warm garden may produce 6 inch long sweet edible bananas. 'Enana Gigante' is a similar variety, but young leaves have red markings. Varieties that are fruiting are placed under M. paradisiaca by some authorities.
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M. paradisiaca (syn. M. sapientum)
↕ to 20ft USDA Zones Sunset Zones 16, 19-28 Perennial
Many varieties, both edible and non. M. p. seminifera is the most common type, forming large clump, reaching 6m (20') and with leaves up to 2.7m (9'). Flower bract droops, is purple and powdery. May produce fruit which usually has seeds and is usually inedible. There are many varieties available.
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  • M. ensete - See Ensete ventricosum
  • M. maurelii - See Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii'

Cultivars of M. acuminata and M. paradisiaca

  • Apple, Silk, or Manzana - Dessert type, pleasant sub-acid apple flavor when fully ripe. Fruit: 10cm - 15cm (4" - 6"). Grows to 3m - 3.7m (10' - 12'). The fruit is not ripe until some brownish specs appear on the skin. From planting until harvest is approximately 15 months.
  • Cavendish - Resistant to Panama Wilt disease. Clones of this variety are distinguished by the size of the pseudostem. The largest is the 3.5m - 5.5m (12' - 18') Lacatan followed by Robusta and Giant Cavendish (3m - 5m (10' - 16')). The smallest is the 1.2m - 2.1m (4' - 7') Dwarf Cavendish.
  • Cuban Red - Very tall (up to 7.5m (25')), very tropical. Skin dark red, with generally reddish pseudostem. Fruit is especially aromatic with cream-orange pulp. 20 months from planting until harvest.
  • Gros Michel - Commercially, the most important and considered by many to be the most flavorful. Because of its susceptibility to Panama Wilt disease it is being replaced with resistant varieties. Although there is no Panama Wilt in California, it does poorly here as the plant seems to need more heat and it tends to grow more slowly than other varieties
  • Ice Cream or Blue Java - Medium-tall (4.5m - 6m (15' - 20')), bluish cast to the unripe fruit. Fruit: 18cm - 23cm (7" - 9"), quite aromatic and is said to melt in the mouth like ice cream. Bunches are small with seven to nine hands. 18 to 24 months from planting until harvest.
  • Lady Finger - Tall (6m - 7.5m (20' - 25')), excellent-quality fruit, tolerant of cool conditions. 15 to 18 months from planting to harvest.
  • Orinoco - Commonly grown in California for years as a landscape plant. Grows to 5m (16'), more cold hardy than any other. 15 to 18 months from planting to harvest. Flavor is good, texture is less than perfect, but when properly grown and cultivated it can produce enormous stalks of fruit. Excellent in banana bread. Sometimes called horse, hog or burro banana, it can be purchased at most nurseries.
  • Popoulu - A Hawaiian variety with short, salmon-pink flesh, plump fruit that may be cooked or eaten fresh. A slender plant preferring a protected area with high humidity and filtered light. Grows to about 4.5m (14') tall.
  • Valery - A Cavendish clone resembling the Robusta. Some believe them to be the same. The Dwarf Cavendish is the most widely planted as it is better adapted to a cool climate and is less likely to be blown over.
  • Williams - The same as Giant Cavendish. Originated from a mutation of Dwarf Cavendish found in Queensland, Australia. A commercial banana grown in many countries that does well in California. 3m - 5m (10' - 16') in height and has a distinctive long, very large bud. The Del Monte is a Williams.


Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture text

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Banana, a name applied to certain species of Musa, particularly to those that produce edible fruits, although it is sometimes used for species grown for ornament, as for Musa Ensete. There are three groups of edible bananas: the common banana, eaten raw, Musa sapientum; the plantain, fruits to be cooked, M. paradisiaca; dwarf, with edible fruits, M. Cavendishii. The first two are probably forms of one species, and the botanical nomenclature is confused. Some species produce fiber. Consult Abaca and Musa.

The banana plant is a great perennial herb. It grows 3m (10') to even 9m (30') tall, and produces a bunch of fruit, and the stalk then dies or becomes weak; in the meantime, suckers have arisen from the rootstock to take its place. The peculiar flower-bearing of the banana is shown in Fig. 462, which illustrates the tip of a flower-cluster. This cluster may be likened to a giant elongating bud, with large, tightly overlapping scales or bracts. Three of these bracts are shown at a a a. in different stages of the flowering. As they rise or open, the flowers below them expand. The bracts soon fall. The flowers soon shed their envelopes, but the styles, 6, persist for a time. The ovaries soon swell into bananas, c. The bracts are royal purple and showy.

The banana has come to be one of the most popular fruits in North America, due to the cheapness of its cultivation and transportation, ease of handling, long- keeping qualities, and adaptability to many uses. The source of supply is mostly Jamaica, Costa Rica, Cuba, Honduras, and latterly the northern shores of Colombia. In the tropics, the ordinary bananas are cooked and used as a vegetable rather more than as a fruit to be eaten from the hand. The plantains, which are coarser and harder fruits and thicker, are always cooked. A form of cooking banana used in parts of tropical America is shown in Fig. 463. Of the banana itself there are many varieties. The common large fruit in northern markets is the Martinique, Jamaica, Gros Michel or Bluefields. A red variety, the Baracoa or Red Jamaica, is sometimes seen. In the tropics, various very small forms are grown for local consumption. These are fragile and do not keep long, and are rarely seen in the markets North. One of them, known as the "fig" in Trinidad, is shown in Fig. 464; the fruits are about 8cm (3") long. The dwarf or Cavendish banana is grown extensively in the Canary Islands, and apparently also in Bermuda; and it is not uncommon as an ornamental plant in conservatories.

It is said that the banana was first imported into the United States in 1804 by Captain John N. Chester of the schooner Reynard, the lot consisting of thirty bunches. The first full cargo is said to have been 1,500 bunches brought to New York in 1830 on the schooner Harriet Smith, chartered by John Pearsall of the firm of J. & T. Pearsall. Two or three cargoes would appear each year, until about 1857 William C. Bliss entered the banana-importing business, securing his supply from Baracoa, Cuba, and taking the trade to Boston. In 1869, he secured a small cargo from Jamaica. In recent years, the Jamaica- United States banana trade has assumed very large proportions.

In the United States, there is little commercial cultivation of bananas, since the frostless zone is narrow and the fruit can be grown so much more cheaply in Central America and the West Indies. Small banana plantations are common in southern Florida, however, and even as far north as Jacksonville. They are also grown in extreme southern Louisiana, and southwestward to the Pacific coast. The plants will endure a slight frost without injury. A frost of five or six degrees will kill the leaves, but if the plants are nearly full grown at the time, new foliage may appear and fruit may form. If the entire top is killed, new suckers will spring up and bear fruit the following year. A stalk, or trunk, bears but once; but the new sprouts which arise from the roots of the same plant continue the fruit-bearing. A strong sprout should bear when twelve to eighteen months old (from two to three years in hothouses).

The plantation will, therefore, continue to bear for many years. A bearing stalk, as grown in southern California, is shown in Fig. 465.

The species mostly in demand for fruiting seldom or never produce seeds, and naturally increase by suckers. The suckers are most readily separated from the parent rootstock by a spade. This is a slow process of increase, but the suckers so produced make large and vigorous plants. A quicker method of propagation is to cut the entire rootstock into small, wedge-shaped pieces, leaving the outer surface of the root about 2.5cm - 5cm (1" - 2") in size, planting in light, moist soil, with the point of the wedge down and the outer surface but slightly covered. The best material for covering these small pieces is fine peat, old leaf-mold, mixed moss and sand, or other light material that is easily kept moist. The beds so planted should be in full open sunshine if in a tropical climate, or given bottom heat and plenty of light if in the plant-house. The small plants from root- cuttings should not be allowed to remain in the original bed longer than is necessary to mature one or two leaves, as that treatment would stunt them.

The textile and ornamental species, also, may be increased by the above process, but as these species usually produce seeds freely, seedlings can be more quickly grown, and with less trouble. The seeds of bananas should be sown as fresh as possible, treating them the same as recommended for root-cuttings. As soon as the seedlings show their first leaves, they should be transplanted into well-prepared beds of rich, moist soil, or potted off and plunged into slight bottom heat, as the needs of the grower or his location may demand. Both seedlings and root-cuttings should have proper transplanting, sufficient room and rich soil, as a rapid, unchecked growth gives the best and quickest results.

In the West Indies, Central America and Mexico, bananas are raised for export to the United States and Canada. The site chosen is usually a level plain in the lowlands, near the coast, or in valleys among the hills, where the rainfall or artificial moisture is sufficient. For distant shipping, bunches of fruit are cut with "machetes" or knives, after they reach their full size and arc almost mature, but quite green in color. Ripening is effected during shipment in warm weather, and by storing in dark, artificially heated rooms during cold weather. Banana flour is a valuable product of ripe bananas prepared among the plantations in the tropics. It is nutritious, and has an increasing demand and use as human food. A recently invented process of drying ripe bananas has been found very successful, and the industry promises to be of vast importance as the marketable article finds ready sale.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Musa (named after Antonio Musa, physician to Octavius Augustus, first emperor of Rome, 63-14 B. C.). Musaceae. The largest of tree-like herbs, grown for the ornament of their large striking foliage, for fruit, and for fiber.

Bulbous or with perennial rootstocks: lvs. usually gigantic, entire, oblong or elliptic, pinnately parallel veined, arranged in a loose rosette, sometimes dark above and glaucous beneath, with a narrow red edge, usually bright green on both sides; in the young state with narrow hyaline margins beautifully crimsoned or white; midrib with a deep rounded groove above; sheathing petioles long or short, forming a false st. like structure: fls. unisexual, in half-whorl-like clusters in a terminal spike (Fig. 462, Vol. I), each cluster subtended by a large spathe-like, colored bract, and all borne on a long or short often velvety or puberulent rachis emerging from the center of the leafy envelopes at the top of the false st.; lower clusters female, upper male (actually hermaphrodite female and hermaphrodite male, the opposing parts being dwarfed, functionless or sometimes absent); perianth consisting of a calyx at first tubular but soon splitting down one side with a 3-5-toothed apex and opposite the calyx a single simple or 3-toothed petal; stamens normally 6, 5 with 2-celled vasifixed anthers, the sixth usually suppressed; ovary inferior, 3-celled, cells with many superposed ovules: fr. a large berry, short or elongated, pulpy or dry, angular, oblong or cylindrical; seeds when produced are 1/8 – 5/8 . diam., subglobose or angled by pressure, testa hard, indented at the base and apex, albumen mealy, embryo subtruncate.—Sixty-seven species and over 200 cult. varieties are known, native of Trop. Asia, Afr., Austral, and adjacent islands. The fruit of the banana is of great importance in the tropics for food. It is imported in large quantities into the U. S. from W. Indies and Cent. Amer. and grown in the Gulf States (see Banana). Several ornamental species are grown extensively in the N. and are hardy from 38° north to 35° south latitude. Latest publications: Baker, Species and Principal Varieties of Musa, K.B. 229-314 (1894). Schumann, Das Pflanzenreich 45:13-28 (1900). Fawcett, The Banana, Its Cultivation, Distribution and Commercial Uses, 1913. Popenoe, Origin of the Banana, Journal of Heredity 5:273-280 (1914).

When plants of a most gorgeous tropical effect are wanted, they will always be found among the musas. To grow these plants to perfection, a large greenhouse will be required. The musas can be increased from suckers, which are found around old plants, and which can readily be separated from the parent plant with a piece of root. These suckers may be potted up into 4-, 5- or 6-inch pots, using a compost of fibrous loam three parts, well-decayed cow-manure one part, enough sand to keep it open and porous, and a good dash of bone-meal. Pot each sucker firmly. These young plants should be placed in a very close and humid atmosphere so as to encourage quick growth. They prefer a night temperature of not less than 20° C (68° F) with about 5° C-10° C (10° F-20° F) more during the day. These young plants may be started anywhere from the middle of February up to the first of April. When they have filled their pots with roots, they can be shifted into pots two sizes larger. These shifts can be kept up until they are in tubs 60cm (2') square. As the shifts become larger make the compost richer, as they are rank feeders. When musas are grown for decorative purposes, it will be found convenient to have them in tubs as they are more easily moved. When they are wanted to show the production of fine fruit, they should be planted out in the middle of a roomy house where the night temperature does not fall below 65°. During the spring and summer months, let the temperature increase in proportion to the outside conditions, as musas delight in a high temperature. They will stand much feeding and should be given liquid manure once or twice a week during the spring and summer months. By giving care to watering, syringing and ventilation, they will grow rapidly. While musas like plenty of sunshine, they are sometimes better for a slight shading during the middle of the day, but only enough to prevent scorching of the foliage. During the winter the night temperature may be lowered to 60°. They will also require less water and syringing. The musas used for subtropical beds and gardens are grown from seed, such as M. Ensete, M. Basjoo, M. superba, and the like. These seeds may be planted in pans or flats in a compost of loam, leaf-mold and sand in equal parts. The seeds should be covered about four times their size in depth and pressed firmly. These pans should be placed where they can have plenty of bottom-heat. When the seedlings appear, pot them off and grow on the same as above. These plants can be lifted in the fall and the soil shaken off and placed in some house or cellar where the temperature does not go below 45°.

M.assamica, Hort. Bull. Trunk about 1 ½ ft. high: lvs. about 1 ft. long, crowded, running out into a slender tendril-like point, green with a narrow purple border. Assam. This elegant dwarf plant allied to M. sanguinea is well suited for table decoration.—M. imperialis, Sprenger. A magnificent species with perennial root-stock and enormous somewhat lanceolate lvs. Related to M. Ensete. Kamerun. Eu. Fla. and fr. not described.—M. Rhodochlamys, Hort. A subgenus of Musa improperly used in some trade catalogues as a species. See species 16-21.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.

See also


Science, June 2003 issue.

  • Lessard, William O. Complete Book of Bananas. William O. Lessard, Publisher. 1992
  • Morton, Julia F. Fruits of Warm Climates. Creative Resources Systems, Inc. 1987. pp. 29-46
  • Ortho Books. All About Citrus and Subtropical Fruits. Chevron Chemical Co. 1985. pp. 20-23

External links

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