August 27th is National Banana Lovers Day!
Happy Banana Lovers Day! Did you know the scientific name for bananas is “musa sapientum”? This means the fruit of the wise men! Bananas used to be grown commercially in Florida, but today all of our bananas come from Hawaii! That doesn’t mean that you can’t grow your own delicious Florida bananas in your own backyard! Read on to check out our tips and tricks on how to grow the best and most delicious Florida bananas!
Benefits of Banana Plants
Having banana plants in your backyard can actually offer many benefits you may not initially think of! A row of banana plants can act as a screen with their large leaves to block the wind and sun from your backyard. They can also use the water found in waste drains, especially if you have an outdoor shower near your pool!
Make sure to choose a recommended strain of bananas and one that is least resistant to fungi. Recommended types include “Goldfinger”, “Mona Lisa” and “Sweet Heart”, and “Platano Burro” is the recommended type of plantains.
Bananas do best when they are planted in moist and fertile soil in a spot that is protected from wind and in direct sunlight. Since most Florida soil contains a lot of sand, the banana plants need to be fertilized frequently (about 4 to 6 times a year). Banana plants also need to be watered quite frequently, however, it’s important that the soil is not constantly wet since the plant will then be overwatered.
Bananas have a root system known as “rhizomatous” which means it puts up new stalks on the same plant every year. This is why it may seem like a banana plant is multiplying like crazy! For optimal growth, it’s recommended that you limit your plant to three or four stalks that are from different years to get as much fruit as possible! The tallest stalk should be the oldest and should be flowering and/or fruiting. The middle stalk should be one half to one third the size of the tallest, and then there should be one or two short stalks that are six inches to three feet tall.
Recipes and Uses
Now that you have your own delicious bananas, you can make a number of recipes!
- Banana Bread
- Bananas Foster
- A delicious smoothie, like this one featuring mangoes!
- Banana Ice Cream
- Banana Nut Muffins
- Frozen Bananas dipped in chocolate for a cold and sweet treat!
- Banana Split
- Banana Pancakes
Learn more by checking out the University of Florida’s tips for banana planting here!
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