Update: Bananas growing in Lancashire
This week we counted 7 bracts with a total of around 140 fruit and the bananas will be ripe from July - October 2014.
This spectacular flower belongs to the Dwarf Cavendish banana tree (musa cavendishii) that we are growing in our visitor greenhouse in Lancashire. This variety will produce edible fruit after 3 years, by which time it will be 2 metres tall. Our Dwarf Cavendish is grown in a Rain & Drain Exotics Planter.
The flower spike is made up of bracts that open to reveal individual flowers. The first bracts to open contain female flowers which are formed at the end of an unripe banana. The Cavendish varieties are sterile, so no pollination is needed for fruit to develop. The individual flowers wither quickly, leaving the bananas to grow and ripen. The bananas will be fully ripe around 12 months after the flowers opened.
The flower spike will continue to develop and extend towards the ground, but it will only reveal male flowers which won’t produce fruit. We cut these non-productive male flowers off, leaving the bananas to ripen. Once the bananas have been harvested, the stem will die back allowing the younger ‘pups’ (suckers) to grow and flower.
We grow bananas in our Rain & Drain Exotics Planter because it mimics the conditions of an exotic environment – simply set the timer to water for short periods, several times each day. Our bananas are currently watered 4 x per day for 12 minutes each time. The roots are contained in clay pebbles, so have superb access to air and water, and are never constrained by wet soil.
If you have any questions about growing your own bananas, please call one of our Gardening Angels on 0845 602 3774 or pop over an email firstname.lastname@example.org – we like to keep our Gardening Angels busy!