Have you ever wanted to try and accomplish the feat of growing a banana tree? With the right preparation and knowledge, you can turn that dream into a reality. If you’re pondering the idea of including the fruit tree in your garden, you might be wondering, how long does it take to grow a banana tree?
In this post, we’ll be breaking down the different banana tree varieties, the best climate to grow the yellow fruit, and how long it takes a banana tree to produce fruit.
Different Types of Banana Trees
When pondering the question of how long to grow a banana tree, it’s helpful to learn about the different varieties. You might be surprised to learn that there are over a thousand banana varieties grown all over the world.
Don’t let that number intimidate you, there are only a handful of varieties that are actually grown on a widespread scale. Before we discuss how long it takes for a banana tree to mature, let’s take a look at the best banana varieties.
Dwarf Cavendish Banana
This is your typical banana found in most grocery stores. Or you can even grow your own by buying a Dwarf Cavendish Banana! If you take a bite out of a Cavendish banana, you’ll taste a sweet and creamy texture. The ripening Cavendish banana will go from green to yellow to brown, (if you’ve ever held onto a store-bought bunch for too long, you’ll know this struggle very well).
Blue Havana Banana
Also known as Blue Java, these bananas are renowned for their creamy sweetness, often likened to vanilla ice cream. The first thing you’ll notice about these bananas is the striking blue peel. This is arguable the prettiest banana that will add an azure brilliance to your garden.
Red Cuban Banana
This banana will impress you with its reddish-purple skin and slight raspberry flavor. The Red Cuban banana is sweeter and smaller than its Cavendish counterpart, plus it peels more easily.
This variety looks similar to Cavendish but smaller and chubbier. The striking thing about the Manzano banana is that it turns fully black when ripe. You can eat it while it’s still yellow, but you’ll find a sweeter, tropical pineapple flavor once the banana has reached its prime.
How Long Does it Take to Grow a Banana Tree?
Each variety has its own age when banana trees produce fruit, but if you’re looking for the fastest-growing banana, it’s a close tie between these four contenders.
The Dwarf Cavendish takes the lead, requiring only 9-15 months to produce fruit. Blue Havana and Manzano tie for second place, with a 15-24 month growing time. The Red Cuban variety takes the longest to produce fruit, with an average growing time of 20-24 months.
Selecting the Right Variety
If you’re looking for a banana variety that will produce fruit in the least amount of time, then Dwarf Cavendish is for you. It’s a classic banana that will give you a good harvest of sweet, yellow fruit.
Sometimes, it’s more rewarding to grow an exotic variety at the expense of time. If you find yourself wanting to branch out into new banana species, then give Red Cuban or Blue Havana a try. The striking color will add beauty to your garden and you’ll look forward to the unique flavors during each harvest.
Can I Make My Grow Bananas Faster?
Now that we’ve answered the question, at what age do banana trees produce fruit, let’s provide some tips on helping your plants grow healthy.
While you can’t fast-track the growing process to the age banana trees produce fruit, you can prevent forces that delay banana growth. There are plenty of ways to create the most ideal banana-growing environment.
Provide Lots of TLC (Tender Love and Care!)
Banana plants require a decent amount of work to stay healthy. Be sure to check regularly for any dead or diseased leaves and pull them off as needed. Panama disease is a fungal disease that banana trees are susceptible to.
To help aid growth, you can sprinkle some fertilizer on top of the soil every week or so. Make sure to choose a potassium-rich fertilizer to compliment the potassium-dense fruit. When distributing the fertilizer overtop, keep it closer to the trunk since banana trees don’t have lengthy roots.
While you can’t speed up how long it takes a banana tree to mature, you can control the size of your harvest. One way to do this is to cut off the smaller suckers and keep the best ones for larger fruit production.
Shield from the Wind
Banana trees don’t get along well with wind, so make sure you’re shielding your plants from any big gusts. Planting them beside each other can help shield them from the wind, plus banana trees love being beside like-minded plants for numerous reasons. It increases humidity, shade, and other aspects that will benefit banana growth.
If you’re 15 months in and you’re still wondering when banana trees produce fruit, you might need to reevaluate the wind levels on your crop. Make sure you keep this in mind when planting so you don’t have to worry about this when it’s too late.
Nutrient-Rich Soil Equals Faster Growth
Another way to ensure there’s no delay to the age banana trees produce fruit is to start from the ground up. The quality of the soil can make or break your fledgling fruit tree, so make sure that the ground quality is in tip-top shape.
Banana trees thrive in more acidic soil with a 5.5-6.5 pH level, so make sure the soil is well-drained and rocky. Any soil with volcanic rock or sand is perfect for banana plant growth. If you don’t live in a climate with natural volcanic soil, you can pick up cactus plant soil from your local gardening depot.
A compost-rich soil will also help banana tree growth. You’ll want to make sure there’s lots of nutrient-rich organic matter in the ground. You can add peat, compost, coco fiber, or manure to achieve this biodiverse heaven for your banana plants.
The Right Amount of Sunshine for a Happier Tree
Banana trees thrive between 54 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything below this will delay the time it takes for your banana tree to grow fruit, or eliminate the possibility altogether. If you live in a climate that’s prone to night-time frost, then your banana trees won’t likely flourish.
The same goes for too hot a climate; banana plant growth stops at 100 degrees Fahrenheit, so keep this in mind if your location is susceptible to prolonged heat waves.
Make sure your beloved banana tree receives 8-12 hours of sunlight each day. While these plants need a lot of direct sunshine, the fruit can get burned by the intense rays. You can combat this by covering the west side of the trees with a shade cloth to protect against the afternoon sun.
Humidity is Key for Banana Tree Growth
Banana trees love humidity, so try to aim for 50% humidity levels or more. That’s why it’s so important to water your plant regularly and thoroughly. Watering your tree every 2-3 days during the hottest months should do the trick.
Like any plant, overwatering can be detrimental to growth. This is why it’s so important to have well-drained soil to prevent root rot on your banana tree. A good rule of thumb is to water your plants when the soil is dry down to a ½ inch below the soil’s surface.
A Long and Rewarding Process
Growing banana trees can be a rewarding experience if you have the patience. So, how long does it take to grow a banana tree? The technical answer is 9-20 months, but it also depends on how much time and effort you’re willing to commit to the process. If all this talk has made you want to grab a banana for your next snack, you should read about the amazing health benefits of bananas!
If you go bananas for gardening, be sure to read more about best gardening practices, from growing fruit trees, the best garden tools to use, and recipes to create with nature’s bounty.