Banana flower on a plate

Bountiful Bananas

I’m excited my Dwarf Ducasse banana plant has arrived. We already have Blue Java and Gold finger but have been waiting 12 months for this special dwarf growing banana sucker.

Up there with pineapples, pawpaws and coconuts, bananas are definitely part of that quintessential group of ultimate tropical fruits, but did you know that they are actually classed as a herb? Interesting!

In subtropical and tropical Queensland they are grown with ease and anyone with a bit of space and a tendency for growing their own produce will undoubtedly have a banana clump or two squeezed in somewhere.

Banana plant
Removal of old dead foliage will assist in the prevention of insect pest build up and possible harbouring and outbreak of diseases.

And you guessed it, I’m one those that fit into that category. For me bananas are not only an easy care highly productive fruiting plant but also very aesthetic. Yes, their beautiful soft green luscious foliage is attractive but can also be used in many practical ways, such as wrapping and cooking various food dishes, as placemats, mulch and shredded up as fibre to add to the pulp when making your own paper and the list goes on.

Besides all that, they are so good for you as well. Super high in potassium and vitamins B6 and C, they have a low GI, antioxidant qualities, are classed as cancer fighting food, high in fibre and are a fantastic self-wrapped snack for big and little people alike.

Banana wisdom!

Growing bananas is reasonably easy, as long as you live in a frost free subtropical/tropical climate zone and if not maybe you can create a microclimate within your climate zone, through careful positioning when planting and protection from the cold.

A sunny position, good drainage, ample water and fertiliser are a must. Fertilisers such as an organic manure pellet are ideal, but whatever you have access to in the way of composts and animal manures will do. Plus a good dose of potassium in form of sulphate of potash, several times per year throughout the growing season. Which, is acceptable under organic certification guidelines.

Ripening bunch of bananas
This bunch will need a banana bag placed over it very soon to stop the marauding wildlife such flying foxes, possums and parrots taking their share.

When growing bananas allow only three suckers to remain, one large, one medium and one small. Anymore than this will reduce the number and size of bunches produced. Remove any spent old leaves to prevent disease or pest build up, plus it can also look rather unsightly having all those dead leaves just hanging around the trunk.

When your banana bunches have formed and are getting to a reasonable size it is advisable to cover them with banana bags. These protect the fruit from possums, flying foxes and parrots. They are an opened ended bag and a tied onto the stem just above the bunch and hang down over the fruit.

Banana varieties: The two main types of bananas grown in Australia are Cavendish and Ladyfinger. Popular forms of these are; Williams, Ducasse and Dwarf Ducasse, Java blue, Goldfinger and Red Dacca. Red Dacca is actually more of a plantain. Lady finger varieties are the only ones the home gardener can grow in Queensland.

Banana law: If living in Queensland, obtaining banana plants from reputable disease free government approved suppliers are the law and a permit will be needed. Having just gone through this process it is a free and a relatively simple task to complete. The reason behind having to do this is to protect the large commercial banana industry from possible disease outbreaks and so forth. Banana plants including ornamental ones cannot be brought in from interstate. Check with you local government bio-security for details.

Watch out for my next Banana blog on how to deal the banana glut ☺

Link: Blue Sky Backyard Bananas

This blog is related to the article I wrote in Earth Garden magazine’s 
publication Backyard Farmer number 9.

2 thoughts on “Bountiful Bananas”

  1. Yum! We’ve only recently got our order for Dwarf Ducasse and Goldfinger as well. After nearly 18 months waiting the chooks nearly destroyed both plants! With some more protection (I planted them in boxes in the pen but it wasn’t enough) and the recent rain, they’re finally bouncing back with a vengeance. Can’t wait for the first bunches of creamy bananas.

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