How to grow
Bananas don’t produce seeds so to begin with you need to find a “sucker” you can purchase one of these but the easiest way to get your hands on one of them is to find a friend with a banana plant of their own.
Make sure you get a good chunk of corm and many roots with it. Chop the top off the sucker to reduce evaporation while you move it and while it settles into its new home. (Remember, the growing point is at the bottom of a banana plant. You can decapitate the sucker. It will grow back.)
- Cut the sucker off from a larger plant using a sharp knife or shovel. Chop the top off the sucker to reduce evaporation.
- Plant your sucker in a 50cm deep hole of moist, well-drained soil.
- They don’t require much maintenance so water every so often. You should start to see flowers within six months and grow fruit in approximately nine months time.
Types of bananas
The two most common varieties of bananas in Australia are Cavendish and Lady Finger.
Cavendish accounts for just over 90 per cent of all bananas in Australia and includes subcategories such as Hybrids, Mons and Dwarf Cavendish. They are generally available year-round but are their prices have been known to fluctuate Cavendish bananas account for over 90 per cent of Australian production and includes varieties such as Hybrids, Williams, Mons or Dwarf Cavendish.
Characterised by their small fruits, Lady Finger bananas are sweeter than Cavendish and are mostly grown outside of Brisbane.
Banana trees thrive in warm tropical climates with at least 50% humidity which is why they mostly grow in the northern half of Australia. These enjoy sunny positions and don’t like it when temperatures dip below 15C. You can grow bananas indoors they’ll just need around twelve hours of direct sunlight each day.
It will take around nine months for a banana tree to produce fruit. Each cluster of bananas is called a "hand" and each individual banana is called a "finger". The entire stem containing several hands (and many fingers) is called a bunch. If you choose to let your bananas ripen on the tree, they will be ready to be picked when the little flowers on the end are dry and rub off easily.
Watering and feeding
These plants can withstand a bit of water and generally like to be kept wet but not moist. To help them thrive make sure you fertilise them every two months with a potassium-rich fertiliser
Pests and diseases
Unfortunately bananas are extremely susceptible to pests and diseases which is why in some cases transporting and transplanting them is illegal. The most common pests include weevils, nematodes and thrips. Common banana diseases include banana leaf rust, rhizome soft rot and Panama disease which if poorly managed can wipe out whole farms.