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Growing Your Own Banana Tree or Banana Plant

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I've always loved tropical plants. I purchased my banana plant probably fifteen years ago from a nursery outside of Conroe, Texas on my way home from a business trip. I planted it next to the house just outside my bedroom window. I have a metal roof and there was nothing nicer than to hear the rain coming down and the droplets hitting the roof then running on to the big leaves of the banana plant.

A couple of years ago we were experiencing more spiders than usual and the pest control man suggested we move the banana plant further away from the house. We did so and the plant just hasn't been the same since. Where it used to grow to about 8 foot tall, now it does good to get 2 feet tall.

I decided to look online to learn more about them. I actually discovered some interesting information that I thought I'd share.

Banana Trees (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Banana Trees (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Banana Facts

Many people refer to the banana plant as a banana tree. Due to their large trunk (called a pseudo-stem) and tall size they are mistaken for trees. However, the banana plant is actually the largest of all flowering herbaceous plants. Bananas are native to Southeast Asia, but are grown in at least 107 countries.

I know you've noticed that bananas are sold in clusters at the store, but did you realize the cluster is called a hand? Each banana is then called a finger. These hand clusters grow in what is called a bunch or the banana stem.

In Asian cultures the banana is cooked and both the skin and inside are eaten. In Western cultures, we discard the skin and eat the inside raw. Then there's your mama's old fashioned banana bread made with over-ripened bananas someone forgot to eat. Bananas are also dehydrated whole or in slices called banana chips. Dried bananas can also be ground into banana flour.

The strings than run the length of the banana between the skin and inside are called phloem bundles. That's something I bet you didn't know. Impress your friends with that tidbit.

Have you ever dissected a banana? You can break it into three long pieces that are triangular with rounded outside edges. Try it. It's sometimes easier to try it with smaller sections of the banana.

Bananas are a valuable source of vitamin B6, vitamin C and potassium.

Banana plants can grow up to 25 feet tall with leaves as big as 9ft long by 2 ft wide. Each leaf sprouts from the center of the stem and unfolds. When the leaf first emerges from the center of the stalk it is whole, but the wind easily tears the leaves.

Did you realize that the bright yellow color we consider normal for a ripe banana is actually a side-effect of the artificial ripening that is done to them? If they had been allowed to ripen naturally they would have been a less visually appealing brownish yellow.

Nutrional Value of a Raw Banana

Banana, raw, edible parts

Calories: 100

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Carbohydrates 22.84 g

- Sugars 12.23 g

- Dietary fiber 2.6 g

Fat 0.33 g

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Protein 1.09 g

Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.031 mg 2%

Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.073 mg 5%

Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.665 mg 4%

Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.334 mg 7%

Vitamin B6 0.367 mg 28%

Folate (Vit. B9) 20 μg 5%

Vitamin C 8.7 mg 15%

Calcium 5 mg 1%

Iron 0.26 mg 2%

Magnesium 27 mg 7%

Phosphorus 22 mg 3%

Potassium 358 mg 8%

Zinc 0.15 mg 1%

One banana is 100-150 g.

Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.

Source: USDA Nutrient database

What Did I Learn From All of This?

From all the research I did, I figured out that the location of my banana plant probably isn't the best. I don't think it gets enough water where it's at, nor enough fertilizer. I think I'll move it back next to the house or put it in a large pot.


JR Krishna from India on August 12, 2015:

Wow! So much about bananas. I didnt know banana could be grown in containers

Great article

Linda on September 15, 2014:

My banana plant produced a cluster of fruit. When I peeled one, the fruit wasn't sweet like youi'd buy in the store. how long before they taste like sweet. I put them in a paper bag thinking this would help them ripe. Am I right? Thanks!

louromano on March 24, 2012:

Super-Duper site! I am loving it!!

arusho from University Place, Wa. on November 01, 2011:

Great hub, I've used the Banana plant in some of my designs for landscape clients.

Mazlan A from Malaysia on October 17, 2011:

I planted my banana tree about 10years ago and it still produces great fruit..BUT a banana tree will bear fruits only once. After this it's useless, unless you want the foliage. So you cut the tree that has already bore fruit to allow young seedlings to sprout. I usually cut/chop off the tree and further chop it into smaller chuck and spreads it out over the other banana trees..this serves as a fertilizer..but the place will look messy.Pls note that I live in Malaysia and banana tree grows easily over here...but I think what i just described will work for any other countries where you can plant a banana tree. For your info, banana skins are good for roses and it also brighten the colours (also good for other flowers). So after you have peeled the skin, soak it in water and squeeze every juice out of the banana skin. Then use this water to water your rose plant or any other flowering plant

Rehana Stormme on September 23, 2011:

Great hub! I actually have 3 banana plants in my garden and this article was quite helpful! Bananas are very nutritious and growing your own banana plant means you'll be able to control how it's grown...without adding pesticides or artificial fertiliser.

mabmiles on August 09, 2011:

Nice one.

Mini Greenhouse on April 13, 2011:

What a great hub, obviously a lot of effort and love has gone into this! thanks for your info and time! A rated!

annaw from North Texas on April 11, 2011:

Loved the Hub. It makes me want to move onto my land in Brazos county even more than I can have the space to plant wonderful fruits and vegetables. I love Bananas! I would love to have a tree that yielded Bananas. I would be in Heaven.

Mini Greenhouse Guy on December 19, 2010:

Kcc, great work here, really interesting info! Thanks for the work you've put into this, i never realised bananna trees could be so much fun

KRC (author) from Central Texas on September 04, 2010:

Thanks Peggy! The banana plants this year didn't do so well at all. Way too dry and hot I guess. I look forward to having tall pretty ones again. I really need to put forth a bit more effort on them.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 04, 2010:

In the number of years of having banana plants in the yard, we have only had 3 or 4 occasions when they produced bananas and then the banana plant always died. But they continue to send up new shoots which means that unless they are purposely thinned, the banana plants increase in numbers each year.

Our Realtor that helped us find the house we are now living in gave us some from her yard and I have already given some away to a friend in Dallas.

After all danger of freezing weather is over, I cut them down to about 18 inches from the ground each year and can almost watch them grow. Pretty hearty plant in Houston!

Great job on this hub. Rating it useful. Thanks!

KRC (author) from Central Texas on July 20, 2010:

Hmmmm.....feed them? LOL Guess that's where I'm going wrong, huh? When they were next to the house, they grew tall without any food other than the rain off the roof. I should look into this more. Thanks!

Nellie's people on July 20, 2010:

but what!!!! do you feed them? i live in texas and in the last 10 years i've had bananas twice. i chop them down after the first freeze of winter every year. it's july now and they are over the roof

KRC (author) from Central Texas on March 25, 2010:

I know, paxwill, but I call that a bargain! LOL You can split them up and plant them in other places.

frogyfish from Central United States of America on December 28, 2009:

Great hub! I have 'tricked' kids about the three long pieces of a banana - few know about that. And I luv bananas with peanut butter! Best wishes to you and your banana tree!

KRC (author) from Central Texas on November 13, 2009:

Guess they wouldn't do too well in IL uh? I'm getting ready to dig mine up I think and bring it for the winter. See if that helps. Glad you were redirected here Tim-tim!

Priscilla Chan from Normal, Illinois on November 13, 2009:

I stumbled upon one of your comment which you left for the hubber about redirecting. I was just thinkg about the same thing. Ha ha! I was redirected by my curiosity to your Hub. Good thing to get redirected, hah. I love banana plant, only if I live in CA. I live in IL:( Thanks for the interesting information!

KRC (author) from Central Texas on November 07, 2009:

I'm jealous, Elayne! That's awesome.

Elayne from Rocky Mountains on November 07, 2009:

My husband grows bananas for us. We love bananas in all kinds of ways. Thanks for a great hub.

KRC (author) from Central Texas on October 21, 2009:

Thanks Pink Mingos. My husband regrets moving the banana plants obviously. We're going to try to dig them up and plant them a pot and bring them in for the winter and see if we can keep them going so they don't have to start from scratch this spring.

Pink Mingos from Mars on October 21, 2009:

Really interesting article.

I like banana sandwhiches made with Kings Hawaiian bread and mayonaise.

I'm also a HUGE fan of Bananas Foster!

So you chose spiders over the shorter Banana Plants? :)

KRC (author) from Central Texas on October 05, 2009:

Now that's strict! I wonder why.

StrictlyQuotes from Australia on October 05, 2009:

I was searching here at the local Nurseries (NSW Australia) for a Banana plant, and was told we can't plant them here without a Licence! I can't believe you actually have to have a licence to grow them at home here!

KRC (author) from Central Texas on October 03, 2009:

Do they get very tall outside there in Maryland, Dolores?

We're thinking about digging ours up this year and bringing it into the house for the winter.

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on October 03, 2009:

Up here in Maryland, I have several banana plants, started with one given to me by a friend that shot out shoots. I have to bring them in during the winter. You can stick them in the basement and ignore them but they come back just fine.

KRC (author) from Central Texas on October 03, 2009:

Thanks for that, Gilo! It's funny you should mention grilling bananas. I wrote a hub last night with Banana Recipes and one of them I included was Grilled Chocolate Bananas. It is very similar to what you're talking about. Check it out if you get a chance.

Gilo on October 03, 2009:

Bananas. What's not to like. Now here's something from my homeland... South Africa.

When you have a barbecue (or braai in South Africa) wait until the food's all cooked and the fire's dying down. Then chuck some bananas on - leave them until the skins are black and starting to burst.

Then open them up, sprinkle lots of demerara sugar over them (the thick brown sugar), put a tot of Van Der Hum liquor (or any rich brandy based liquor) over them. Then swamp them in ice cream, or fresh cream.


KRC (author) from Central Texas on October 02, 2009:

I'm glad you enjoyed it and found it educational, Mith_moral!

mith_moral on October 02, 2009:

Quite an interesting hub! I love bananas, and now I have a little more knowledge of them aside from it being yellow and tasty! Thank you. This was great!

KRC (author) from Central Texas on October 02, 2009:

Thank you, articleposter!

articleposter on October 02, 2009:

Wow, didn't know there is this much stuffs that you can write about banana.

Good banana post :D

KRC (author) from Central Texas on October 02, 2009:

Thanks Home Gardening Tips and Kyon!

KyonSOS23 from Nabon on October 02, 2009:

Hub interesting.Monkeys and banana is dual.

This while researching found Human not evolution of monkeys.

Home Gardening Tips on October 01, 2009:

really nice,thanks

KRC (author) from Central Texas on October 01, 2009:

Might be something to check into, Terrylee!

Terrylee5151 from Pennsylvania on October 01, 2009:

I eat bananas daily and could use a producing banana plant in my backyard.

KRC (author) from Central Texas on October 01, 2009:

In the research that I did, I didn't come across that. I guess I'll have to go back and do some more research. I've had my plants for longer than that, but they haven't ever produced fruit either.

Deborah-Lynn from Los Angeles, California on September 30, 2009:

Hi KCC I have three banana trees in my back yard, just little newbies, about 1 1/2 years old. I got a paper with them when I received them in the mail that said they only live 7 years produce fruit (bananas) then die. Do all species of banana plants die off after bearing fruit or did I just get lucky, ha ha? I have to say it looks beautiful, I'll be sorry when they are gone.

KRC (author) from Central Texas on September 30, 2009:

Hey, aoiffe379, you need to write a banana hub, SERIOUSLY! Write it and I'll link it here! You know more about bananas than I do! Yes, I love banana splits!

aoiffe379 on September 30, 2009:

I go bananas for bananas! Do you know that they elevate your mood and balance your body's sodium by providing potassium? Remember the banana split? Have you heard about hog bananas? We grow them in our backyard.Yesterday I had hog bananas.Today someone gave me a gift of sugar bananas. Growing the banana shrub or plant is economical for those who like fruits and have the space.there are so many varieties, even dwarf ones.Do you know about banana suckers and eyes? The bananas we eat are sunkist- kissed by the tropical sun not chemically ripened.They are delectable, scrumptious and free so I can eat as many as I want. Yes, I like peanut butter- banana sandwiches!They are simply delicious!

KRC (author) from Central Texas on September 30, 2009:

Oh wow, that's sounds good, Deb! Thanks for sharing! I may have to devote a whole other hub just to banana recipes!

DEb on September 30, 2009:

I googled that recipe it is called "Bananas Foster" I found Alton Brown's version of it and it is more complex and has better details than mine.

DEb on September 30, 2009:

Here is a recipe with bananas to spoon over ice cream. I cannot remember the name of it but it is very elegant and outrageously delectable!

Melt butter in skillet till bubbling, add brown sugar and vanilla. Let the sugar get to bubbling and then throw in sliced bananas and then a flourish of brandy. Step back it may flame! Toss this all together and remove from heat. Spoon over vanilla ice cream. Out of this world! You may try other liquors as well. I might try some good bourbon or even a cognac.

KRC (author) from Central Texas on September 30, 2009:

I actually think it's the way we gas them to ripen them that kills the flavor. If you eat an organic banana it tastes so much better than a 'regular' banana. I'm sure naturally ripened will always be better. Thanks for sharing, Deb!

DEb on September 30, 2009:

Once I was at this little city or county park outside Deland Florida. I think we stopped there to let the dogs out. Anyway I was poking around and discovered bananas (little ones) growing on a tree. I picked one and ate it and it was the sweetest banana I ever had eaten. I wonder if the fruit is better left to ripen right on the tree? Not practical for the industry of course but if you get the chance to eat a ripe one off the tree go for it!

KRC (author) from Central Texas on September 29, 2009:

I'm really going to work on trying to get my banana plant to produce this year. I may even go buy me a new one. Thanks for stopping by, Ethel. Banana custard sounds good. There's nothing better than good old fashioned Southern banana pudding. Yum!

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on September 29, 2009:

Love bananas and custard, and banana sandwiches. Yummy to both. Wish I could grow a banana plant sucessfully

KRC (author) from Central Texas on September 28, 2009:

Awesome, Dohn! I'd love to read about that! I did find when I was researching this hub that they can be used to wrap things. Makes sense. When you write it, holler at me and I'll link it here.

Thanks Lisa! We all go bananas for bananas I guess. LOL

lisa in texas on September 28, 2009:

however it is made i go bananas for it every time!

dohn121 from Hudson Valley, New York on September 28, 2009:

Wow. Reading this hub just reinforced me to create a hub on my country's distinctive desserts that are wrapped in banana leaves and then steamed! I need some help from my mom to do so, however :) They sure do look nice! Thanks KCC Big Country.

KRC (author) from Central Texas on September 28, 2009:

In the 15 years I've had mine, I've never had bananas. From my research yesterday, they say it takes 9-14 months, but I think winter comes before it gets mature enough each time. I really need to fertilize mine more.

Paradise7 from Upstate New York on September 28, 2009:

KCC! Another hub! You know, my sister and I both bought miniature indoor banana plants that grow tiny bananas. What we didn't know is they take a while before they actually produce bananas. The leaves look healthy enough, but we have yet to see a banana.

KRC (author) from Central Texas on September 28, 2009:

I don't care for peanut butter sandwiches, but I do like a cold banana with peanut butter and crackers. :) Thanks for stopping by alekhouse!

Nancy Hinchliff from Essex Junction, Vermont on September 28, 2009:

Really interesting. I love bananas. I know they are super nutritious. I like banana sandwiches too; only we always added peanut butter.

KRC (author) from Central Texas on September 28, 2009:

Maggs, I had forgotten about banana sandwiches until you said that. My mother used to mash one up with honey and peanut butter and make a sandwich. I didn't care for it.

I did run across a lot of that information, Jaspal when I was researching for this hub, but I felt it may make the hub a tad too long and technical to include all of it. We have some tiny bananas at the store that you can eat in two bites (one if you're aggressive enough!).

Jaspal from New Delhi, India on September 28, 2009:

We have lots of bananas in many parts of India, and the banana fruit from each part is quite different. Some are big and yellow, some small and green. Some have a very thick string of black (is it seeds?) running lengthwise in the center, and some have practically none. I've even had bananas with a reddish maroon skin, but they weren't sweet.

Another interesting fact: Banana plants are designated male and female. The male one has larger leaves and looks better, but it is only the female plant which bears fruit.

maggs224 from Sunny Spain on September 28, 2009:

When I was a child I use to love banana sandwiches and the banana was sprinkled with sugar very nice but way more calories I am

KRC (author) from Central Texas on September 27, 2009:

You're right! I went back up and fixed it. Thanks for pointing that out.

Bail Up ! on September 27, 2009:

Only thing missing was the caloric value of a banana. I thinks its like 100 calories per small one. Good info hub!

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