Watching Bananas Grow

I had no idea how bananas grew before I moved to more tropical areas. I knew what a banana plant looked like, but had never seen the flowers and fruit. There are some huge banana trees in the woods near our house, and a couple years ago we took some pups and transplanted them in our yard. We now have the second bunch of bananas in our own yard.

These bananas are really tall!

Here's Joel, a full size man to give you some perspective

Here’s Joel, a full size man, to give you some perspective

The bananas are always making new leaves, long slim green buds that unfurl into beautiful leaves.

A new banana leaf emerges - look for that long slim green part coming straight up from the plant

A new banana leaf emerges – look for that long slim green part coming straight up from the plant

Then, one day I noticed this

This bud does not look like a regular leaf

This bud does not look like a regular leaf (Monday, 8/10)

So, I decided to watch what this bud does and take a picture every morning.

Once the bananas started to appear they grew very rapidly!

Now, the bananas are starting to look fairly full size, and I don’t think the buds are going to result in any more bananas. From here it can take quite a while before they are actually ripe and ready to eat. I am not good at judging when to harvest time. I was just told they are ready when they are fat. I think we harvested the last bunch a bit early because they sat on the back terrace for quite some time but they eventually ripened just fine and were very yummy.

Another interesting thing I didn’t know – when a banana tree has fruit it will die. But, by that time it has probably grown a least a couple pups. This particular tree is a pup of the last one that produced fruit. It now has a very large pup, a medium size pup, and a very little one that is just emerging from the ground. You can see the two larger ones in the photo with Joel at the top of the post, to his left (your right).

You will notice that these bananas are red. They are a different variety which my neighbors call “manzana” (apple). I cannot find any information on the internet using this name, but a search for “red banana” brings up bananas that look like these. They have a slightly different flavor and texture but they are really good, maybe even better than the yellow ones, in my opinion. Maybe we just like them better because something you grow yourself is always special.

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About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
This entry was posted in food, fruit, Panama and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Watching Bananas Grow

    • Oh my, that doesn’t look good. Why do they have to grow only one variety?? That sounds like it’s part of the problem. All the more reason for us to take care of our red bananas here. Cedo has some marvelous yellow bananas on her farm. Maybe I should get a pup from them too. In a few more years our yard is going to look like a fruit farm! LOL

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  1. Carole says:

    We have banana trees, they are called fig bananas, because they are really small bananas. Once the bananas are growing it is usually good to cut off the flower. It is taking nutrients from the fruit. After the fruits change color a little, ours starts to turn yellow, then they are ready to be cut down to finish ripening inside. If you leave it too long, usually the birds start eating the fruit. (We cut one bunch too early and it never ripened). At least thats what happens to us. After you cut off the banana stalk, cut the banana tree itself at that time. This way the babies will grow better. We have had a drought here and our banana trees were dying because of lack of water. I put two in a pot to save them when they fell down. One has 4 banana trees growing in it, which I will separate and put back in the ground. It is so good to grow your own bananas.

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    • Thanks for the tip on cutting off the flower. We will cut the tree down when we harvest the bananas too because it’s so tall, that’s the only way we can get to the bananas! I understand about birds too. That’s how we realized our last bunch was ready, when the birds pecked a hole in one of them.

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  2. Awwww…we noticed the other day that we had two banana plants producing bananas. It has been so dry and windy here lately and when Ron went outside this morning to check the bananas, BOTH of the tall plants had fallen over. We lost our banana crop. Geez. I’m coming to your house for some bananas.

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    • Wow, what is up with the weather?? We aren’t getting the usual amount of rain here for the season but at least we are getting some and everything is nice and green. You are welcome anytime for bananas and anything else that’s interesting around here 🙂 I hope more rain comes your way!

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  3. Sunni Morris says:

    Something you grow yourself is always special. I rented a house years ago in south TX and there were banana trees in back. I’d never seen them before that growing someplace. They were so tall that you could see the leaves from the front yard towering over thr roof. The bananas were the yellow variety and yummy. I didn’t have a camera then, or I would have taken a picture.

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  4. This is such a cool post, Kris, with all the photos depicting the growing process. I’d heard too that the banana tree dies after it produces a crop and more grow from the base. It is interesting that they have multiple bunches they produce from a single flower bud.

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