Which banana trees produce fruit?
All banana plants grow fruit, but not all are grown for their fruit. The edible varieties of bananas include Cavendish bananas, red bananas, sweet and pinkish apple bananas, Indonesian Raja bananas, small and sweet Lady Fingers bananas, and cooking bananas, such as plantains. Some ornamental banana species don't produce edible fruit. Luckily, the bananas from the Dwarf Cavendish banana tree are ornamental, with pretty pink flowers and huge glossy leaves, and they produce edible fruit — the best of both worlds!
Cavendish bananas are the most commonly-grown types of bananas in the world — most supermarket bananas are of the Cavendish variety. The Giant Cavendish, or Williams banana, is another type of Cavendish banana sometimes available at grocery stores or farmers markets. Dwarf Cavendish bananas grow the same size fruit as regular Cavendish bananas, and they have the same sweet flavor and pleasing texture. You can think of the fruit of this dwarf banana tree as the quintessential banana: perfect for snacking, cooking, smoothies, and, of course, banana bread.
Can you eat Dwarf Cavendish bananas?
One question our growers receive: does a dwarf banana tree really produce fruit?
The answer is a resounding yes! Cavendish bananas are actually a variety of bananas sold in many grocery stores, and these pretty Dwarf Cavendish banana trees bear edible fruit, too. Dwarf Cavendish banana fruit can be eaten raw or used in recipes, and has a smooth texture and sweet flavor. The bananas produced by these plants grow to a length of four or so inches — nearly the same size as regular Cavendish bananas.
Cavendishes are known for their phases: underripe and green, to perfectly ripe with a mellow flavor, to sweetened and slightly brown. Cavendish bananas continue to ripen after being picked. The perfect ripeness depends upon your personal taste and your desired use!
How do you grow a banana tree at home?
The best spot for a banana tree will be in an area with direct sunlight: choose a full-sun location in your yard or place it near a sunny window. Banana trees do require moist air — the leaves will scorch in dry conditions — so consider keeping a humidifier near your plant or misting it often. Water your dwarf banana tree often, but don't let it stand in water.
How do you get a banana tree to produce fruit?
Unlike some fruit trees, Dwarf Cavendish banana trees are self-pollinating. That means that you only need one banana tree to produce fruit. However, banana trees are sometimes more productive in groups, as placing banana trees near each other allows them to share heat and humidity.
Placing your Musa acuminata in hospitable conditions is key to gleaning fruit from this tropical plant. Make sure to water it frequently, but don't let it get soggy feet or sit in standing water. You'll also want to keep the leaves of the plant hydrated; dry air can scorch them. Misting the leaves of your banana tree helps keep them moist. Dwarf Cavendish banana trees like well-drained, loamy soil: try a mixture of sand, silt, and little clay. Test the pH of your soil and try to keep it between 5.5 and 6.5, a little acidity is great for this plant. Adding coffee grounds to the soil can also add acidity and nitrogen to this plant.
Fertilization will also help with fruit production: try a "bloom booster" type of fertilizer. More blooms will equal more bananas! Fertilize your Banana tree all year, but more heavily in the summer. Try a 6-2-12 fertilizer: the high percentages of nitrogen and potassium will help to increase fruit production.
How long does it take for a banana tree to bear fruit?
Banana trees are actually an herb, distantly related to ginger, growing succulent tree stems, instead of woody ones like a true tree. In optimal growing conditions, it will take your Banana Tree 9 to 15 months before it begins to flower and another 2 to 6 months for the fruit to be ready to be picked.
Your Dwarf Cavendish Banana Tree grows from a rhizome, similar to any other rhizomatous plant in your garden, but may be shipped to you already in a small pot. After the rhizome is planted it will sprout an aerial stem, or psuedostem, which is very fleshy and composed of water and tightly compacted, overlapping leaf sheaths. As the stem grows in height the leaves emerge one after another. The flower head of the Banana tree will emerge at the very top of the stem, where it will eventually produce fruit.
Your Dwarf Cavendish Banana Tree can produce fruit in as little as two years when grown under the proper conditions!
What states can grow bananas?
Where does a banana tree grow best? In tropical climates, of course — these are tropical plants! Bananas grow best in Zones 9 and 10, parts of Florida, California, and the southern United States. However, dwarf banana trees are bred for their flexibility: grow these beautiful plants in a tub or container, and you can find a spot for them to thrive wherever you live!
Can you really grow bananas anywhere?
With a willingness to care for your banana tree over winter, you can. Your banana tree's location at your home will definitely need to depend on your growing zone. If you live in Zones 9 or 10, you'll be able to grow the dwarf banana plant outdoors. If you're in another zone, you'll have the most success with growing your Dwarf Cavendish Banana tree in a large tub, then overwintering it in a greenhouse or enclosed patio.
Should you cut dead leaves off banana trees?
Banana trees do not need trimming or pruning, but cutting off leaves that rub against the banana bunch helps to stimulate growth. Luckily, these dwarf banana trees put their leaves within easy reach! Look for discoloration that indicates disease or leaf death. If you find a leaf that needs trimmed, cut the leaf directly where the stem meets the stalk of the plant. Because banana leaf stalks can be a bit thick, be patient and never tear the leaf off of the tree. To prevent tearing, try notching the leaf from both the top and the bottom before cutting it.
What is the lifespan of a dwarf banana tree?
While the underground rhizomes of a dwarf banana tree can live for much longer, the pseudo-stem of the tree — the succulent, stem-like group of leaves that comprises its trunk — dies off after the banana bunch is picked. Once the stem has died back, the rhizome of the banana plant will create new shoots. Remember, banana plants are not actually trees, so they don't live and die like deciduous trees!