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Kathy
What are the best bananas for Mt Gambier?

I've heard that there are cool climate 'nanas. Is it true that bananas only fruit once then die off?

Submitted: 11:22PM, 08 Mar 2010
Answer: Dear Kathy,

The banana is considered to be native to South-East Asia but has spread through the wet tropics and even beyond, being cultivated from 20 degrees north to 29 degrees south. They can grow well outside their tropical environment if they are planted in a sunny spot in a sheltered garden. In Australia we grow the Cavendish, Lady Finger, Williams (which is more tolerant to cool weather) ‘Sugar’ and ‘Grand Michel’.

Bananas are seedless fruit, so the plant is propagated by suckers which grow from the underground tuberous stem of the parent plant.
Start the banana tree from a vigorous sucker with a large, round base. Trim off roots (these will not grow again) and reduce the top by one-quarter. Plant the sucker in spring with its base 25-25cm deep. It will produce fruit in fifteen to eighteen months but may take longer under cooler conditions. Many new suckers will develop, so gouge these out but keep the strongest to replace the parent plant. Strip off any dead or wind-shredded leaves. A banana bunch is right for cutting when fruits have lost their angular shape. Still green, you can ripen them by hanging the bunch upside down in a warm place indoors.

Answered: 01:22PM, 18 Mar 2010

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