Banana trees are a staple of many hot weather landscapes. While they’re very decorative and are often grown for their tropical leaves and bright flowers, most varieties also produce fruit. Keep reading to learn more about how to get banana trees to produce fruit.
Banana Tree Fruit
Can a banana plant grow fruit? Of course, it can – they’re called bananas! That being said, not all banana plants produce fruit that you can eat. Some varieties like the red banana, the dwarf banana, and the pink velvet banana are grown for their flowers. They do make fruit, but it’s not edible. When you’re choosing a banana plant, make sure to pick one that’s bred to make tasty fruit.
Bananas should flower in spring to early summer, and banana tree fruit should set in early summer. The fruit grows in clusters, called hands, along a single stalk. A stalk full of hands is called a bunch.
It takes between 3 and 6 months for the banana tree fruit to mature. You’ll know the bananas are mature when they take on a fuller, rounder appearance. Don’t let them turn yellow on the plant, as they’re likely to split open and spoil. When most of the fruits in the bunch are mature, cut the whole stalk off and hang it in a dark place to allow the fruits to ripen.
Banana tree fruit will be ruined by below freezing temperatures. If frost is in your forecast, cut the stalk and bring it inside whether it’s mature or not. The fruits, though small, should still ripen. Once you’ve harvested your fruit, you should cut down the stem it grew on. Each stem will produce only one bunch of bananas, and cutting it down makes room for new stems to come up.
How to Get Banana Trees to Produce Fruit
Maybe there’s no fruit on a banana plant in your garden. What gives? The problem could be one of a number of things. Getting banana trees to fruit takes certain conditions.
If your soil is poor, your tree may grow fine but not produce fruit. Your soil should be rich, non-saline, and have a pH between 5.5 and 7.0.
Getting banana plants to fruit also requires continuous warmth. A banana plant can survive down to freezing, but it won’t grow or set fruit below 50 F. (10 C.). The ideal temperature for banana fruit set is in the mid 80’s.
Be very careful about pruning your banana plants. The stalks that produce the fruit grow up slowly inside the stems. Cutting back a stem in the fall may mean no banana fruit the following summer. Only cut stems that have already fruited.