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Banana – Fact Sheet & Care Guide for Ventura / Southern California

Overview, Description & Characteristics of Bananas

Although they look like trees, bananas are classified as herbaceous perennials because they do not form bark and come in different forms, from ornamental varieties to dwarfing cultivars to standard, large types.  Some have red and green leaves, most have just green leaves.  Some have red skin when fully ripe, some have blue skin while ripening.  Some have yellow flesh, some have pink flesh.

They are fast-growing and fast to fruit within their first or second year.  Bananas grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 11, depending on the species and variety/cultivar.  All types can grow in large pots, indoors and out, and dwarf varieties can grow in small containers.

Almost all modern cultivated varieties (cultivars) of edible bananas and plantains are hybrids and polyploids of two wild, seeded banana species, Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana.  Cultivated bananas are almost always seedless (parthenocarpic) and hence sterile, so they are propagated vegetatively.  They are classified into groups according to a genome-based system introduced by Ernest Cheesman, Norman Simmonds, and Ken Shepherd, which indicates the degree of genetic inheritance from the two wild parents and the number of chromosomes (ploidy).  Cultivars derived from Musa acuminata are more likely to be used as dessert bananas for fresh eating, while those derived from Musa balbisiana and hybrids of the two are usually plantains or cooking bananas.

Care & Requirements for Bananas in Southern California

Bananas are shallow rooted and need moist soil conditions in order to thrive and fruit.  So, water frequently and keep a 1-2” layer of mulch over the root zone.  They also need full sun, so pick a warm sunny spot but be careful of heat reflecting walls that could cause leaves to get sun scorched.

 

PLANTING: To prepare the ground for planting your banana, dig out a hole that is twice the width and depth of the container that your banana is currently living in.  Into the bottom of this hole add loose, well-draining soil rich in organic matter  (compost, worm castings, composted manure, greensand, etc.)  Mix these ingredients together with one shovelful of native dirt and then place the un-potted banana with its dangling root ball into the hole and bury it with the dirt that you have taken from the pit. As you are burying your banana, mix into the dirt, an additional four handfuls of compost, one pound each of landscape mix, worm castings and azomite and a half pound of green sand.  If you have gophers in your yard, it is advisable to plant your new banana in a cage.

PROPAGATION: Prune off any yellowed leaves. Once the main shoot has flowered and fruited, it can be
removed and the young shoots at the base can be allowed to grow. At this time, the plants
can be divided to create a more typical ‘Banana Tree’.

HARVEST: Your plants will bloom 15-24 months after being planted.   The flower stalk takes 3-4 months to mature.  Harvest the entire banana stalk from the main plant once the first fruit turns yellow. Hang the harvested bunch in a well-ventilated, shady area and pick-off and eat the fruit as they ripen. After a plant has fruited, it will produce 1-3 pups, and then die back.  If allowed to grow and prosper, these new pups will produce fruit in another 15-24 months.

More information about bananas: Uses, functions, nutrition, tips, tricks, cooking, recipes, etc.

Nutrition:  Bananas are rich in potassium and an excellent source of healthy simple carbs, soluble fiber, vitamin B-6, vitamin C, and anti-oxidants;  they are an adequate source of copper, magnesium, and manganese.    COMPREHENSIVE NUTRITIONAL ANALYSIS: https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1846/2

Medicinal Benefits:  Bananas are great probitiocs or more specifically pre-biotics; they feed the good bacteria in your gut with plenty of soluble fiber.  Supports bone, teeth & brain health (provides neurochemicals & their precursors [melatonin, seratonin, dopamine]) Good for potassium deficieny, normalizing bowel movements & providing soluble fiber for healthy gut.

Uses:  Leaves can be used for wrapping & grilling meats.

Our Hand Selected Varieties for Ventura County / Southern California

DWARF Musa “Red” Banana Tree Musa Hybrid Dwarf Red

Sunset colored fruit all the way to dark red skin when ripe 2-4 in. Robust Flavor.  Thick leaves work well for wrapping and grilling meat.  They bloom around 15 to 24 months after planting and can be harvested after 115 to 150 days. N/A. Longer than average to fruit, worth the wait Keep moist & water whenever surface of ground becomes dry (heavy mulch) Well drained, rich in organic matter, 6.5 ph 5-8 ft. 4 ft. (grows in expanding clusters) 2x diameter of seed Full / Partial OK 8-11, wind resistant Min. Temp (Cold Tolerance) N/A 10-24 months Bananas are shallow rooted and need moist soil conditions in order to thrive and fruit. So, water frequently and keep a 1-2” layer of mulch over the root zone. Your plants will bloom15-24 months after being planted. The flower stalk takes 3-4 months to mature, and once the fruit bunches have developed, remove the red flower head, 6” past the last banana that has formed. Harvest the entire banana stalk from the main plant once the first fruit turns yellow. Hang the harvested bunch in a well-ventilated, shady area and pick-off and eat the fruit as they ripen. After a plant has fruited, it will produce 1-3 pups, and then die back. If allowed to grow and prosper, these new pups will produce fruit in another 15-24 months.

DWARF Musa Acuminata ‘Poquito’ Banana Tree Musa Acuminata Dwarf Poquito Perrenial. Red spots on new leaf growth, emerald green leaves, ? fruit 2-4 in. ? Tropics Rich in potassium; great probiotic and source of simple carbs, soluble fiber, vitamin B-6, vitamin C, and anti-oxidants; adequate source of copper, magnesium, and manganese Supports bone, teeth & brain health (provides neurochemicals & their precursors [melatonin, seratonin, dopamine]) Good for potassium deficieny, normalizing bowel movements & providing soluble fiber for healthy gut. Leaves can be used for wrapping & grilling meats. They bloom around 15 to 24 months after planting and can be harvested after 115 to 150 days. N/A. Keep moist & water whenever surface of ground becomes dry (heavy mulch) Well drained, rich in organic matter, 6.5 ph 3-5 ft. 4 ft. (grows in expanding clusters) 2x diameter of seed Full / Partial OK 9-12 N/A 10-24 months To prepare the ground for planting your banana, dig out a hole that is twice the width and depth of the container that your banana is currently living in. Into the bottom of this hole add two heaping handfuls of compost, and one pound each of landscape mix, worm castings and a half-pound of greensand. Mix these ingredients together with one shovelful of dirt and then place the un-potted banana with its dangling root ball into the hole and bury it with the dirt that you have taken from the pit. As you are burying your banana, mix into the dirt, an additional four handfuls of compost, one pound each of landscape mix, worm castings and azomite and a half pound of green sand. If you have gophers in your yard, it is advisable to plant your new banana in a cage.

DWARF “Iholena” Pink Banana Tree Musa Hybrid Dwarf Iholena Perrenial. Yellow skin, peach/pink colored flesh 3-4 in. Amazing Hawaii Rich in potassium; great probiotic and source of simple carbs, soluble fiber, vitamin B-6, vitamin C, and anti-oxidants; adequate source of copper, magnesium, and manganese Supports bone, teeth & brain health (provides neurochemicals & their precursors [melatonin, seratonin, dopamine]) Good for potassium deficieny, normalizing bowel movements & providing soluble fiber for healthy gut. Leaves can be used for wrapping & grilling meats. They bloom around 15 to 24 months after planting and can be harvested after 115 to 150 days. N/A. Cooking or Fresh, Quick Growing Supposedly Keep moist & water whenever surface of ground becomes dry (heavy mulch) Well drained, rich in organic matter, 6.5 ph 5-8 ft. 4 ft. (grows in expanding clusters) 2x diameter of seed Full / Partial OK 9-11 N/A 10-24 months Bananas are shallow rooted and need moist soil conditions in order to thrive and fruit. So, water frequently and keep a 1-2” layer of mulch over the root zone. Your plants will bloom15-24 months after being planted. The flower stalk takes 3-4 months to mature, and once the fruit bunches have developed, remove the red flower head, 6” past the last banana that has formed. Harvest the entire banana stalk from the main plant once the first fruit turns yellow. Hang the harvested bunch in a well-ventilated, shady area and pick-off and eat the fruit as they ripen. After a plant has fruited, it will produce 1-3 pups, and then die back. If allowed to grow and prosper, these new pups will produce fruit in another 15-24 months.

DWARF Namwah / PIsang Awak Banana Tree Musa Hybrid Namwah, Pslang Awak Perrenial. Underside of young leaf red/brown turning green when mature, 3-5 in. Very sweet, hint of vanilla, excellent cooked, great raw Tropics Rich in potassium; great probiotic and source of simple carbs, soluble fiber, vitamin B-6, vitamin C, and anti-oxidants; adequate source of copper, magnesium, and manganese Supports bone, teeth & brain health (provides neurochemicals & their precursors [melatonin, seratonin, dopamine]) Good for potassium deficieny, normalizing bowel movements & providing soluble fiber for healthy gut. Leaves can be used for wrapping & grilling meats. They bloom around 15 to 24 months after planting and can be harvested after 115 to 150 days. N/A. Lady finger banana prised in Indonesia, high market demand in So-Cal/Florida Keep moist & water whenever surface of ground becomes dry (heavy mulch) Well drained, rich in organic matter, 6.5 ph 6-7 ft. 4 ft. (grows in expanding clusters) 2x diameter of seed Full / Partial OK Cold hardy down to 10 F, Zones 8-10 N/A 10-24 months “PROPAGATION: Prune off any yellowed leaves. Once the main shoot has flowered and fruited, it can be
removed and the young shoots at the base can be allowed to grow. At this time, the plants
can be divided to create a more typical ‘Banana Tree’.

DWARF ‘FHIA-01’ Goldfinger Banana Tree Goldfinger FHIA-01 Perrenial. Standard banana colors 4-5 in. Sweet acid, apple flavor. Cut fruit doesn’t brown, good for salads. Also great sliced and fried when green. Tropics Rich in potassium; great probiotic and source of simple carbs, soluble fiber, vitamin B-6, vitamin C, and anti-oxidants; adequate source of copper, magnesium, and manganese Supports bone, teeth & brain health (provides neurochemicals & their precursors [melatonin, seratonin, dopamine]) Good for potassium deficieny, normalizing bowel movements & providing soluble fiber for healthy gut. Leaves can be used for wrapping & grilling meats. They bloom around 15 to 24 months after planting and can be harvested after 115 to 150 days. N/A. Commercial dessert banana hybrid developed by FHIA in 1988, female parent was Dwarf Brazilian/Dwarf Apple. Keep moist & water whenever surface of ground becomes dry (heavy mulch) Well drained, rich in organic matter, 6.5 ph 8 ft. 4 ft. (grows in expanding clusters) 2x diameter of seed Full / Partial OK Cold tolerant, wind tolerant Min. Temp (Cold Tolerance) N/A 10-24 months

Monzano “Apple” Banana Tree Apple Banana Monzano Perrenial. Green to yellow when ripe then blackens 4 in. Apple, creamy, raw or cooked Tropics Rich in potassium; great probiotic and source of simple carbs, soluble fiber, vitamin B-6, vitamin C, and anti-oxidants; adequate source of copper, magnesium, and manganese Supports bone, teeth & brain health (provides neurochemicals & their precursors [melatonin, seratonin, dopamine]) Good for potassium deficieny, normalizing bowel movements & providing soluble fiber for healthy gut. Leaves can be used for wrapping & grilling meats. They bloom around 15 to 24 months after planting and can be harvested after 115 to 150 days. N/A. delicious as a hand fruit, tossed in fruit salads, baked in breads, custards and puddings, fried as fritters or blended in shakes and daiquiris. Keep moist & water whenever surface of ground becomes dry (heavy mulch) Well drained, rich in organic matter, 6.5 ph 10-15 ft. 4 ft. (grows in expanding clusters) 2x diameter of seed Full / Partial NO 8-11 N/A 10-24 months

Blue Java Ice Cream Banana Tree” Musa acuminata × balbisiana (ABB Group) Blue Java, Ice Cream Banana Perrenial. Silvery blue color when unripe. The fruit turn a pale yellow when ripe, with white creamy flesh. Smaller bunches, fruit size 7-9 in. Ice Cream, Vanilla Tropics Rich in potassium; great probiotic and source of simple carbs, soluble fiber, vitamin B-6, vitamin C, and anti-oxidants; adequate source of copper, magnesium, and manganese Supports bone, teeth & brain health (provides neurochemicals & their precursors [melatonin, seratonin, dopamine]) Good for potassium deficieny, normalizing bowel movements & providing soluble fiber for healthy gut. Leaves can be used for wrapping & grilling meats. They bloom around 15 to 24 months after planting and can be harvested after 115 to 150 days. N/A. Keep moist & water whenever surface of ground becomes dry (heavy mulch) Well drained, rich in organic matter, 6.5 ph 10-15 ft. 4 ft. (grows in expanding clusters) 2x diameter of seed Full / Partial NO 9-11, cold & wind tolerant Min. Temp (Cold Tolerance) N/A 10-24 months

Gros Michel Banana “Gros Michel, Guineo Giganet, Banano, and Platano Roatan in Spanish

USDA Cultivated Gros Michel Perrenial. Yellow skin, peach/pink colored flesh 4 in. Golden fragrant banana, candy banana, unlike chiquitas/cavendish-type bananas.  N/A. Known in Thailand as ‘the golden fragrant banana/candy of all bananas’, was market banana of the world prior to 1960’s when the Panama Disease nearly made this type of banana extinct Water when soil dries out, mulch well Well drained, rich in organic matter, 6.5 ph 10-15 ft. 4 ft. (grows in expanding clusters) 2x diameter of seed Full / Partial NO Drought resistant, hardy after established N/A 10-24 months

Grand Nain “Naine” Banana – Musa Acuminata
White flesh, yellow skin, bright green leaves.  4-in. fruit.  Creamy taste & texture.  Fastest producing.  8 ft. tall, 4 ft. wide (grows in expanding clusters)  USDA Zones 9-11.  Wind resistant, drought tolerant.  Fruits in 10-24 months depending on fertility and sunlight.

2 thoughts on “Banana – Fact Sheet & Care Guide for Ventura / Southern California

    1. Hey thank you! This is just the beginning – this page needs to be organized and I have so much more data that I have compiled that just needs to be organized and polished for here, check back soon and stay tuned! Much love!

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