Banana Growing Essentials
- Bananas require moisture, but will rot in waterlogged soil. So it is a fine balancing act to get the right soil mix with adequate drainage to ensure your bananas thrive. In clay soils, crease a mound 15-30cm above the surrounding soil and plant to assist with drainage.
- Sprinkle over some chicken manure every six weeks during the spring, summer and autumn. Apply one handful of dolomite per plant annually.
- Bananas spread by suckering, so it is best to focus their energy by retaining one large, one medium and one small sucker per plant. In spring, carefully dig up young suckers with narrow, sword shaped leaves and use them to propagate new plants. Unwanted suckers should be culled by cutting them down to ground level, slice a well in the centre and pour in a small amount of kerosene.
- Once a stem has produced flowers and fruit , it will die. In order to discourage banana weevil, promptly remove any dead stems.
- Another pesky pest that may infest young suckers is banana aphid. Control by spraying the plant with soapy water.
- It is also good practice to regularly remove any dead leaves – this will reduce the risk of fungal infection.
- To protect the fruit from animals, covers the bunches with an open-weaved bag, tied above the bunch but with the bottom left open.
- You can tell it’s time to pick the fruit when it looks fully formed and has stopped swelling. Remove individual hands of green fruit, and store in a warm room until yellow.
Did You Know?
Bananas are best suited to frost-free, humid, coastal gardens where daytime temperatures exceed 13 degrees Celsius in winter!