Grow your own – Bananas

Bill O’Sullivan with some home grown bananas
Bill O’Sullivan with some home grown bananas

Those joining us here at Tullamore Farm will nearly always comment on how many clumps of bananas we have. 

They are the most commonly eaten fruit in Australia and for good reason.  I have previously written about bananas and this is the ideal time to discuss them again because most nurseries and garden centres are finally getting some stock of them. 

Ideally you want them planted as soon as possible so they can have six months of warm weather before needing to deal with their first winter.

Canungra Law

There are so many health benefits (with low calories) when including lots of your own home grown bananas in your diet. 

Once established they are very, very hardy and they just keep suckering.  Interestingly, although they do flower they don’t require pollination. 

If you are short on patience, they are great, in that you will normally have fruit within 18 months to two years of planting. We often have fruit sooner. 

When well-established, they grow and produce for an indefinite period of time.  Bananas fruit all year round, producing more during the warmer months.  An established banana clump should produce four bunches every two years.

It’s not hard to keep them tidy and minimise or even remove the pest issue.  We regularly cut off the older leaves leaving five of the youngest healthiest leaves per plant.  Chop the removed leaves up for the compost or leave around the base of other trees as fertilizer or mulch.  This keeps the plants very tidy and avoids the mass of moulding, rotting material found around most backyard bananas. 

One issue with bananas is frost.  If you are subject to frost, select a sheltered or warm spot near a metal shed, wall or similar.  They are an understory plant, so can be sheltered from frost by planting under other larger trees.  They will manage as long as they are receiving around 60% sun.  Some of our best producing bananas receive little sun after midday. 

If height is an issue there are many dwarf varieties which make harvesting and maintenance very easy. 

Why not grow your own bananas?