Think you can’t grow bananas in San Diego? Turns out there are varieties of banana trees that grow well in our climate such as the Brazilian banana tree that we have! When my husband and I went fruit tree shopping at our favorite nursery, California Tropical Fruit Trees, we passed by the banana trees and thought of how fun it would be to grow bananas, especially since we love and eat them daily. We didn’t think it was possible to grow in a non- tropical climate but we were proven wrong!
Growing bananas has been a unique experience because they grow a little differently than other fruits. Banana trees are actually not really trees, even though they look like a bunch of palm trees they are actually perennial herbs. The banana trunks consist of all the leaf stalks wrapped around each other. New leaves start growing in the ground and then push up through the middle and emerge out of the center. A big flower appears which rolls back and finally turns into a bunch of bananas. It’s always a surprise to see the flower because banana trees can flower any time of year. After the plant gives, it then dies but around it are many little plants that have grown called suckers. The suckers can be taken off and transplanted leaving a few in its place to replace the mother plant. (I know I’m confused too) Our gardener is definitely required for help with this one.
When the bananas first appear they look like little hands (I think they look like fingers). Doesn’t sound appetizing right? The first three years the finger looking bananas didn’t taste very good. We tried picking them while still green as suggested to see if they would ripen. Didn’t happen! At the point we still appreciated the tree for its beauty but didn’t expect to grow any tasty bananas. Turns out all we needed is a little patience! Today the tree has grown a bunch of yellow, good looking bananas that taste good!