Like other plants, growing bananas requires plenty of preparation. Prior to planting the rhizomes (the stems), careful consideration of the soil is necessary.
Soil and Sun Requirements
The banana needs a lot of sun. The soil draining system is also important. This point can’t be emphasized too much.
If the roots get soaked, they can die in less than 60 minutes. Air flow is necessary but too much wind can damage the foliage.
The soil needs to be a little acidic. Avoid utilizing yard soil as it’s too heavy. Make sure there’s enough soil to cover half the rhizome.
Water and Fertilizers
After the first water, don’t repeat it until the soil has dried half an inch deep. Water and fertilize simultaneously.
Watering weekly won’t help in growing bananas. Only add water when the soil has dried to the specified level.
The ideal sun exposure is 12 hours. It’s also best if you grow them during warm weather. The daytime temperature should be in the 80s.
At night, it should be around 67 F. Humidity of 50% or more is also recommended. Don’t confuse the warmth with aridity. A very dry atmosphere will kill the plant.
Note: if you’re going to plant in a container, choose a 6” or 8” pot. It needs to have a drain opening. You’ll also need to transplant the contents when they mature.
Planting the Rhizome
The first step to growing bananas is planting their stems. Create a hole a foot wide and a foot deep. The union of the sucker and the stem must be six inches.
Cover it completely; air pockets mustn’t be allowed through. The plants need to be ten feet away from one another.
Managing the Plant’s Growth
The plant will produce suckers when it reaches ¾ of growth. Slice all of them except for one. The remaining one is the follower and will turn into the primary stem.
The fruit stem emerges when about 30 leaves have appeared. It will take four months for it to reach maturity.
Those growing bananas can slice the bunch when the fruit has turned plump. There shouldn’t be any ribs either.
Cut the stalk over the top hand (or row) of the bananas. These fruits ripen by themselves, so getting the green hands is okay.
Store the bananas in a plastic bag. The fridge is too cold. The bag should be stored in a cool, dark area. The fruits should ripen in 24 to 48 hours.
After harvesting, chop the mother plant down to the surface level. The follower will be producing the fruits next season.
There are 300 species of the fruit, but less than 22 are commercially nurtured. Properly cultivated, each plant yields about 15 rows.
Each row usually has 20 bananas. The typical bunch can weigh from 80 to 130 pounds. Some of the poor-quality bananas produced in plantations are used as animal food.
Most of the fruit species are easy to plant. If you have the patience, you’ll discover that growing bananas can be enjoyable.