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Banana Trees

Willis Orchard Company has a nice selection of fourteen different varieties to choose from, though it has been reported that there are more than 500 cultivars available world wide. One of our most popular varieties, the Cavendish, was introduced to the US in the 1950's and has become the export industry standard for bananas. A banana plant grows the best under warm conditions but have been reported to be shade tolerant. The planting site should be chosen carefully for protection from wind and cold weather. Strong winds can play havoc on the banana leaf often tattering and tearing badly. Typically the warmest location in the home landscape is near the south or southeast side of the house.

The banana plant is widely used as an ornamental tree to create a tropical feel, with the fruit being an occasional benefit. The long slender yellow fruits are packed with energy giving sugars and has long been associated as a part of a healthy diet for its numerous nutritional benefits. Banana plants are popular across the southern part of the United States for outdoor growing. They are easy to grow and are also conducive for container growing in northern climates. Willis Orchard Company offers a wide variety of banana plants to ensure your beautiful tropical and edible landscape.

Banana plants do best on a flat, well drained, deep soil high in organic matter with a pH of 5.5-7.0. However, most cultivars perform satisfactorily on the sandy, loamy, mucky and rocky soils. The most important factor is soil drainage. In areas susceptible to wet or flooded soil conditions, sufficiently construct high beds or mounds to properly slope the land for water drainage should be done. The beds will place most of the root system above the saturated soil layer and proper sloping of the ditches between beds should allow for drainage of excessive water off the land.

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Fruiting Banana Plants

Ornamental Banana Plants

Banana Trees

Originating in the Indo-Malaysian region, the popularity of the banana has spread this plant across the globe to every continent except Antarctica. The banana tree plant is one of the largest fruit crops in the world and has been a part of the human diet since pre-recorded history. Banana trees thrive in every humid tropical region of the world but will also adapt to the temperate climates of North America. Some banana plant varieties will even survive temperatures in the single digits.

Bananas require large amounts of water and are very sensitive to drought. Drought results in increased time to flowering and fruiting, reduced fruit size, fruit number, and crop yields. Bananas need about 4 to 6 inches of water per month for normal growth and production or about 1 to 1.5 inches of water should be applied per week. This is especially important during prolonged dry weather conditions. Since an adequate soil moisture is essential for good production, particularly during the dry months of the year, provision should be made for irrigation. However, caution should be exercised against over-irrigation. Bananas are extremely susceptible to damage by flooding, continuously wet soils, and soil with inadequate drainage.

Mulching banana plants in the home landscape helps retain soil moisture, reduces weed problems adjacent to the tree trunk, and improves the soil near the surface. Mulch with about a 2 to 6 inch layer of bark, wood chips, or similar mulch material.

In colder areas where the banana plant is used mostly as an ornamental, new plants are obtained and planted each spring. Cold protection for the top is possible by use of coverings and heat sources, but often not practical. However, in colder locations, soil can be banked around the trunk just before a projected cold spell to better protect the underground buds, which will allow the plant to regenerate in the coming Spring. Some people dig the entire plant, rhizome and all, remove the leaves and store the plant, dry, in a heated area over winter. To assure survival, it is easier to dig small suckers, severed very close to the parent rhizome, and pot them for overwintering indoors.