Are Banana Trees Self-Fruitful?

For a plant to be self-fruitful, it sets fruit from its own pollen rather than wanting to be pollinated by a separate plant or distinct selection. For instance, many apples can’t set fruit unless another harmonious variety is nearby to pollinate it. Edible bananas (Musa spp.) Do produce fruit without external pollination, but here’s the catch: The flowers don’t require any pollination. The fruits develop without pollination at all (known as parthenocarpy) in female blossoms, and as a result, there are no seeds. So edible bananas are self-fruitful, they simply don’t need to be pollinated.

Banana Plants

The sweet creamy bananas we buy are nearly all of the goods of this “Cavendish” banana (M. acuminata “Cavendish”, also known as M. x paradisiaca). Although the plant that they come from looks like a tree, it’s really a giant fast-growing succulent-stemmed herb with no woody trunk. There’s more to bananas compared to only the edible amount you realize from the shop. There are many varieties of edible bananas, including plantains that are usually cooked before eating. In addition, there are a range of wild species, and these do have seeds and need to be pollinated to set fruit. Sometimes, edible varieties like “Gros Michel” (M. acuminata “Gros Michel”) growing near wild species become pollinated and develop some seeds, however “Cavendish” has seeds. The small brown specks within the banana are all that remains of this ovules that might have formed seeds.

Banana Flowers

If the banana plant has perfect conditions, it will grow a flower stalk 10 to 15 months after planting. It requires a additional 75 to 80 days for fruits to mature. The flower stalk is derived in the center of the plant, demonstrating as a elongate, oval, purple bud. It opens to show white, waxy flowers that are covered with green to purple hood-like bracts that fall away as flowers mature. As the blossom stalk rises, it bends downward. The female flowers emerge first, and these are those that produce bananas. Sterile and then male blossoms form below the female flowers, but these don’t develop fruit and usually fall off. Because they don’t require pollination, a lone “Cavendish” plant will produce fruit. Following the plant is finished flowering and fruiting, it shouted.

Banana Propagation

Because the plant dies after flowering, and there are no seeds from the fruits, “Cavendish” bananas are propagated from the offshoots that develop in the base of the mother plant. These rhizomes, known as suckers or pups, are cut off from that which remains of the mother plant when they’re 3 feet tall, taking some of the main system together with them. After removing the larger leaves, suckers enter containers to develop a good root system of their own.

Fruit Production

Bananas require U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 10 through 12 in order to reliably produce fruit, since they require 11 to 19 weeks of warm temperatures to blossom. The perfect temperature range is 78 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Shoots grow best between 78 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit, and fruit grows best between 84 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Growth falls under 60 degrees Fahrenheit and plants stop growing below 57 degrees Fahrenheit. Bananas also require high humidity, bright light for 12 hours every day, and protection from wind. If you’re able to provide greenhouse or indoor conditions that give banana plants what they require, bananas will blossom and, as they’re self-fruitful, bear fruit in containers at any hardiness zone. “Dwarf Cavendish” and “Super Dwarf Cavendish” are good cultivars for container growing.

Foliage Plants

If you want to grow a banana plant for its foliage and don’t care about fruit production, it is possible to grow plants in USDA zones 9 through 8, but with winter protection. Short frosts with temperatures below 28 degrees Fahrenheit may kill plants to the ground, but rhizomes can regrow. If the origins encounter temperatures below 22 degrees Fahrenheit, then they will die. In USDA zones 6 and below, it is possible to overwinter outdoor bananas by forcing them to dormancy. After the first frost, dig the plant up, taking care not to harm the origins, and shake off most of the soil. Set the origins into a plastic trash bag, tie it loosely, and put the plant in a dark spot that won’t go below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Plant it back out when temperatures are reliably above 57 degrees Fahrenheit.

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