Growing Your Own Banana Tree or Banana Plant

I've always loved tropical plants. I purchased my banana plant probably fifteen years ago from a nursery outside of Conroe, Texas on my way home from a business trip. I planted it next to the house just outside my bedroom window. I have a metal roof and there was nothing nicer than to hear the rain coming down and the droplets hitting the roof then running on to the big leaves of the banana plant.

A couple of years ago we were experiencing more spiders than usual and the pest control man suggested we move the banana plant further away from the house. We did so and the plant just hasn't been the same since. Where it used to grow to about 8 foot tall, now it does good to get 2 feet tall.

I decided to look online to learn more about them. I actually discovered some interesting information that I thought I'd share.

Banana Trees (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Banana Trees (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Banana Facts

Many people refer to the banana plant as a banana tree. Due to their large trunk (called a pseudo-stem) and tall size they are mistaken for trees. However, the banana plant is actually the largest of all flowering herbaceous plants. Bananas are native to Southeast Asia, but are grown in at least 107 countries.

I know you've noticed that bananas are sold in clusters at the store, but did you realize the cluster is called a hand? Each banana is then called a finger. These hand clusters grow in what is called a bunch or the banana stem.

In Asian cultures the banana is cooked and both the skin and inside are eaten. In Western cultures, we discard the skin and eat the inside raw. Then there's your mama's old fashioned banana bread made with over-ripened bananas someone forgot to eat. Bananas are also dehydrated whole or in slices called banana chips. Dried bananas can also be ground into banana flour.

The strings than run the length of the banana between the skin and inside are called phloem bundles. That's something I bet you didn't know. Impress your friends with that tidbit.

Have you ever dissected a banana? You can break it into three long pieces that are triangular with rounded outside edges. Try it. It's sometimes easier to try it with smaller sections of the banana.

Bananas are a valuable source of vitamin B6, vitamin C and potassium.

Banana plants can grow up to 25 feet tall with leaves as big as 9ft long by 2 ft wide. Each leaf sprouts from the center of the stem and unfolds. When the leaf first emerges from the center of the stalk it is whole, but the wind easily tears the leaves.

Did you realize that the bright yellow color we consider normal for a ripe banana is actually a side-effect of the artificial ripening that is done to them? If they had been allowed to ripen naturally they would have been a less visually appealing brownish yellow.

Nutrional Value of a Raw Banana

 

Banana, raw, edible parts

Calories: 100

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Carbohydrates 22.84 g

- Sugars 12.23 g

- Dietary fiber 2.6 g

Fat 0.33 g

Protein 1.09 g

Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.031 mg 2%

Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.073 mg 5%

Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.665 mg 4%

Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.334 mg 7%

Vitamin B6 0.367 mg 28%

Folate (Vit. B9) 20 μg 5%

Vitamin C 8.7 mg 15%

Calcium 5 mg 1%

Iron 0.26 mg 2%

Magnesium 27 mg 7%

Phosphorus 22 mg 3%

Potassium 358 mg 8%

Zinc 0.15 mg 1%

One banana is 100-150 g.

Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.

Source: USDA Nutrient database

What Did I Learn From All of This?

From all the research I did, I figured out that the location of my banana plant probably isn't the best. I don't think it gets enough water where it's at, nor enough fertilizer. I think I'll move it back next to the house or put it in a large pot.

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Comments 61 comments

Bail Up ! profile image

Bail Up ! 7 years ago

Only thing missing was the caloric value of a banana. I thinks its like 100 calories per small one. Good info hub!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

You're right! I went back up and fixed it. Thanks for pointing that out.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 7 years ago from Sunny Spain

When I was a child I use to love banana sandwiches and the banana was sprinkled with sugar very nice but way more calories I am afraid.lol


Jaspal profile image

Jaspal 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

We have lots of bananas in many parts of India, and the banana fruit from each part is quite different. Some are big and yellow, some small and green. Some have a very thick string of black (is it seeds?) running lengthwise in the center, and some have practically none. I've even had bananas with a reddish maroon skin, but they weren't sweet.

Another interesting fact: Banana plants are designated male and female. The male one has larger leaves and looks better, but it is only the female plant which bears fruit.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Maggs, I had forgotten about banana sandwiches until you said that. My mother used to mash one up with honey and peanut butter and make a sandwich. I didn't care for it.

I did run across a lot of that information, Jaspal when I was researching for this hub, but I felt it may make the hub a tad too long and technical to include all of it. We have some tiny bananas at the store that you can eat in two bites (one if you're aggressive enough!).


alekhouse profile image

alekhouse 7 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

Really interesting. I love bananas. I know they are super nutritious. I like banana sandwiches too; only we always added peanut butter.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

I don't care for peanut butter sandwiches, but I do like a cold banana with peanut butter and crackers. :) Thanks for stopping by alekhouse!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York

KCC! Another hub! You know, my sister and I both bought miniature indoor banana plants that grow tiny bananas. What we didn't know is they take a while before they actually produce bananas. The leaves look healthy enough, but we have yet to see a banana.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

In the 15 years I've had mine, I've never had bananas. From my research yesterday, they say it takes 9-14 months, but I think winter comes before it gets mature enough each time. I really need to fertilize mine more.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

Wow. Reading this hub just reinforced me to create a hub on my country's distinctive desserts that are wrapped in banana leaves and then steamed! I need some help from my mom to do so, however :) They sure do look nice! Thanks KCC Big Country.


lisa in texas 7 years ago

however it is made i go bananas for it every time!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Awesome, Dohn! I'd love to read about that! I did find when I was researching this hub that they can be used to wrap things. Makes sense. When you write it, holler at me and I'll link it here.

Thanks Lisa! We all go bananas for bananas I guess. LOL


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

Love bananas and custard, and banana sandwiches. Yummy to both. Wish I could grow a banana plant sucessfully


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

I'm really going to work on trying to get my banana plant to produce this year. I may even go buy me a new one. Thanks for stopping by, Ethel. Banana custard sounds good. There's nothing better than good old fashioned Southern banana pudding. Yum!


DEb 7 years ago

Once I was at this little city or county park outside Deland Florida. I think we stopped there to let the dogs out. Anyway I was poking around and discovered bananas (little ones) growing on a tree. I picked one and ate it and it was the sweetest banana I ever had eaten. I wonder if the fruit is better left to ripen right on the tree? Not practical for the industry of course but if you get the chance to eat a ripe one off the tree go for it!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

I actually think it's the way we gas them to ripen them that kills the flavor. If you eat an organic banana it tastes so much better than a 'regular' banana. I'm sure naturally ripened will always be better. Thanks for sharing, Deb!


DEb 7 years ago

Here is a recipe with bananas to spoon over ice cream. I cannot remember the name of it but it is very elegant and outrageously delectable!

Melt butter in skillet till bubbling, add brown sugar and vanilla. Let the sugar get to bubbling and then throw in sliced bananas and then a flourish of brandy. Step back it may flame! Toss this all together and remove from heat. Spoon over vanilla ice cream. Out of this world! You may try other liquors as well. I might try some good bourbon or even a cognac.


DEb 7 years ago

I googled that recipe it is called "Bananas Foster" I found Alton Brown's version of it and it is more complex and has better details than mine.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Oh wow, that's sounds good, Deb! Thanks for sharing! I may have to devote a whole other hub just to banana recipes!


aoiffe379 profile image

aoiffe379 7 years ago

I go bananas for bananas! Do you know that they elevate your mood and balance your body's sodium by providing potassium? Remember the banana split? Have you heard about hog bananas? We grow them in our backyard.Yesterday I had hog bananas.Today someone gave me a gift of sugar bananas. Growing the banana shrub or plant is economical for those who like fruits and have the space.there are so many varieties, even dwarf ones.Do you know about banana suckers and eyes? The bananas we eat are sunkist- kissed by the tropical sun not chemically ripened.They are delectable, scrumptious and free so I can eat as many as I want. Yes, I like peanut butter- banana sandwiches!They are simply delicious!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Hey, aoiffe379, you need to write a banana hub, SERIOUSLY! Write it and I'll link it here! You know more about bananas than I do! Yes, I love banana splits!


Deborah-Lynn profile image

Deborah-Lynn 7 years ago from Los Angeles, California

Hi KCC I have three banana trees in my back yard, just little newbies, about 1 1/2 years old. I got a paper with them when I received them in the mail that said they only live 7 years produce fruit (bananas) then die. Do all species of banana plants die off after bearing fruit or did I just get lucky, ha ha? I have to say it looks beautiful, I'll be sorry when they are gone.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

In the research that I did, I didn't come across that. I guess I'll have to go back and do some more research. I've had my plants for longer than that, but they haven't ever produced fruit either.


Terrylee5151 profile image

Terrylee5151 7 years ago from Pennsylvania

I eat bananas daily and could use a producing banana plant in my backyard.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Might be something to check into, Terrylee!


Home Gardening Tips 7 years ago

really nice,thanks


KyonSOS23 profile image

KyonSOS23 7 years ago from Nabon

Hub interesting.Monkeys and banana is dual.

This while researching found Human not evolution of monkeys.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks Home Gardening Tips and Kyon!


articleposter profile image

articleposter 7 years ago

Wow, didn't know there is this much stuffs that you can write about banana.

Good banana post :D


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you, articleposter!


mith_moral 7 years ago

Quite an interesting hub! I love bananas, and now I have a little more knowledge of them aside from it being yellow and tasty! Thank you. This was great!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

I'm glad you enjoyed it and found it educational, Mith_moral!


Gilo profile image

Gilo 7 years ago

Bananas. What's not to like. Now here's something from my homeland... South Africa.

When you have a barbecue (or braai in South Africa) wait until the food's all cooked and the fire's dying down. Then chuck some bananas on - leave them until the skins are black and starting to burst.

Then open them up, sprinkle lots of demerara sugar over them (the thick brown sugar), put a tot of Van Der Hum liquor (or any rich brandy based liquor) over them. Then swamp them in ice cream, or fresh cream.

Yum.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks for that, Gilo! It's funny you should mention grilling bananas. I wrote a hub last night with Banana Recipes and one of them I included was Grilled Chocolate Bananas. It is very similar to what you're talking about. Check it out if you get a chance.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

Up here in Maryland, I have several banana plants, started with one given to me by a friend that shot out shoots. I have to bring them in during the winter. You can stick them in the basement and ignore them but they come back just fine.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Do they get very tall outside there in Maryland, Dolores?

We're thinking about digging ours up this year and bringing it into the house for the winter.


stricktlydating profile image

stricktlydating 7 years ago from Australia

I was searching here at the local Nurseries (NSW Australia) for a Banana plant, and was told we can't plant them here without a Licence! I can't believe you actually have to have a licence to grow them at home here!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Now that's strict! I wonder why.


Pink Mingos profile image

Pink Mingos 7 years ago from Mars

Really interesting article.

I like banana sandwhiches made with Kings Hawaiian bread and mayonaise.

I'm also a HUGE fan of Bananas Foster!

So you chose spiders over the shorter Banana Plants? :)


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks Pink Mingos. My husband regrets moving the banana plants obviously. We're going to try to dig them up and plant them a pot and bring them in for the winter and see if we can keep them going so they don't have to start from scratch this spring.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

My husband grows bananas for us. We love bananas in all kinds of ways. Thanks for a great hub.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

I'm jealous, Elayne! That's awesome.


tim-tim profile image

tim-tim 7 years ago from Normal, Illinois

I stumbled upon one of your comment which you left for the hubber about redirecting. I was just thinkg about the same thing. Ha ha! I was redirected by my curiosity to your Hub. Good thing to get redirected, hah. I love banana plant, only if I live in CA. I live in IL:( Thanks for the interesting information!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Guess they wouldn't do too well in IL uh? I'm getting ready to dig mine up I think and bring it for the winter. See if that helps. Glad you were redirected here Tim-tim!


frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 6 years ago from Central United States of America

Great hub! I have 'tricked' kids about the three long pieces of a banana - few know about that. And I luv bananas with peanut butter! Best wishes to you and your banana tree!


paxwill profile image

paxwill 6 years ago from France

I love banana and plantain trees, but they can grow like weeds in the southern latitudes. One year you've got a single plant, the next year it starts to look like a grove.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

I know, paxwill, but I call that a bargain! LOL You can split them up and plant them in other places.


Nellie's people 6 years ago

but what!!!! do you feed them? i live in texas and in the last 10 years i've had bananas twice. i chop them down after the first freeze of winter every year. it's july now and they are over the roof


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

Hmmmm.....feed them? LOL Guess that's where I'm going wrong, huh? When they were next to the house, they grew tall without any food other than the rain off the roof. I should look into this more. Thanks!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

In the number of years of having banana plants in the yard, we have only had 3 or 4 occasions when they produced bananas and then the banana plant always died. But they continue to send up new shoots which means that unless they are purposely thinned, the banana plants increase in numbers each year.

Our Realtor that helped us find the house we are now living in gave us some from her yard and I have already given some away to a friend in Dallas.

After all danger of freezing weather is over, I cut them down to about 18 inches from the ground each year and can almost watch them grow. Pretty hearty plant in Houston!

Great job on this hub. Rating it useful. Thanks!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks Peggy! The banana plants this year didn't do so well at all. Way too dry and hot I guess. I look forward to having tall pretty ones again. I really need to put forth a bit more effort on them.


Mini Greenhouse Guy 5 years ago

Kcc, great work here, really interesting info! Thanks for the work you've put into this, i never realised bananna trees could be so much fun


annaw profile image

annaw 5 years ago from North Texas

Loved the Hub. It makes me want to move onto my land in Brazos county even more than I can have the space to plant wonderful fruits and vegetables. I love Bananas! I would love to have a tree that yielded Bananas. I would be in Heaven.


Mini Greenhouse 5 years ago

What a great hub, obviously a lot of effort and love has gone into this! thanks for your info and time! A rated!


mabmiles profile image

mabmiles 5 years ago

Nice one.


Rehana Stormme profile image

Rehana Stormme 5 years ago

Great hub! I actually have 3 banana plants in my garden and this article was quite helpful! Bananas are very nutritious and growing your own banana plant means you'll be able to control how it's grown...without adding pesticides or artificial fertiliser.


greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 5 years ago from Malaysia

I planted my banana tree about 10years ago and it still produces great fruit..BUT a banana tree will bear fruits only once. After this it's useless, unless you want the foliage. So you cut the tree that has already bore fruit to allow young seedlings to sprout. I usually cut/chop off the tree and further chop it into smaller chuck and spreads it out over the other banana trees..this serves as a fertilizer..but the place will look messy.Pls note that I live in Malaysia and banana tree grows easily over here...but I think what i just described will work for any other countries where you can plant a banana tree. For your info, banana skins are good for roses and it also brighten the colours (also good for other flowers). So after you have peeled the skin, soak it in water and squeeze every juice out of the banana skin. Then use this water to water your rose plant or any other flowering plant


arusho profile image

arusho 5 years ago from University Place, Wa.

Great hub, I've used the Banana plant in some of my designs for landscape clients.


louromano profile image

louromano 4 years ago

Super-Duper site! I am loving it!!


Linda 2 years ago

My banana plant produced a cluster of fruit. When I peeled one, the fruit wasn't sweet like youi'd buy in the store. how long before they taste like sweet. I put them in a paper bag thinking this would help them ripe. Am I right? Thanks!


thumbi7 profile image

thumbi7 15 months ago from India

Wow! So much about bananas. I didnt know banana could be grown in containers

Great article

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