Backyard Aquaponics

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Author:  musamaniac [ Oct 7th, '17, 10:11 ]
Post subject:  Bananas

Has anyone here tried growing bananas aquaponically before? I used to grow them in the ground in the Bay Area with a lot of success, and I'm curious. :D

Author:  Gunagulla [ Oct 7th, '17, 10:34 ]
Post subject:  Re: Bananas

I've had a banana tree in my small system for a few years. It grows very well, but has never produced any fruit, possibly because it is a bit cold here in winter.
We recently split it into 2 main stems and put one in a different GB, hopefully they will survive the transplant shock.

Author:  Kiara98 [ Oct 7th, '17, 21:39 ]
Post subject:  Re: Bananas

If it's too cold you should consider building a greenhouse to grow in, or running some kind of heating to keep the roots warm. Run poly pipe through a spa or something.
Best fruits are tropical like mangos and the like, just hard to grow for a lot of us.


Author:  Gunagulla [ Oct 8th, '17, 11:47 ]
Post subject:  Re: Bananas

They are in a greenhouse...

Author:  musamaniac [ Oct 10th, '17, 03:45 ]
Post subject:  Re: Bananas

Each sucker/shoot of a banana plant usually produces a certain number of leaves before developing a flower bud. In my experience, the most significant determinant of time from planting to flowering is growth rate, which in turn is determined mainly by temperature and available nutrients (they are very heavy feeders!). Being tropical herbaceous plants, they don't care much about what season it is as long as conditions are warm when it comes to growing and flowering. The female flowers you see in my profile picture emerged a few years ago during the month of November, but I've also had plants flower in the spring and summer.

Outside in California (zone 9b) they take about 1.5 years from planting a sucker in the spring to flowering, and another 4-6 months for the fruit to mature and ripen, depending on the size and health of the sucker you're planting. Healthy, actively growing plants generally produce a leaf every 6-9 days weeks during the growing season, which typically lasts 8-9 months here. Tissue cultured plants will take longer. I tell you this because I'm not sure what you mean by "grows very well," as banana plants grow EXTREMELY quickly under the right conditions and will become monstrous in size before you even realize it! :crazy:

Gunagulla, have your plants at the very least produced flower buds? If there aren't enough available nutrients (especially potassium and phosphorous), or if there is a sudden cold spell, the fruit will not set and the fruiting stem will die without producing fruit, only to be replaced by more suckers. As I'm not familiar with growing bananas aquaponically, however, I'm sure there are a number of other variables in an aquaponic system that can affect flower and fruit development.

Author:  Gunagulla [ Oct 10th, '17, 05:45 ]
Post subject:  Re: Bananas

My plant is a dwarf Red Dacca, and has produced plenty of leaves over the past few years, but we have never seen any flower buds. The climate here is colder in winter and hotter in summer than LA, which has a very mild climate. Even in the greenhouse it does get exposed to cold air, and the water goes as low as 5C in winter, but it survives that. There is no shortage of nutrients, and we have removed large mature stems to make way for suckers a number of times. I've posted a few photos of it in my small system thread.

There is one photo here:

and another of it busting the pot further down the page, and I'm sure search will turn up other photos

Author:  musamaniac [ Oct 11th, '17, 01:02 ]
Post subject:  Re: Bananas

Red Dacca varieties are not particularly cold hardy. I'm looking at your graphs and temp could definitely be an issue. I don't have experience with cold-sensitive varities so I'm not sure exactly how they recover from cold-related stress. Most people in my area don't bother growing them outside.

My best guess is that the pot isn't large enough. I'd say the roots bursting out of the pot is a pretty good indication of that :shock: The root systems of banana plants are shallow but tend to spread far. I've heard of dwarf varieties flowering in 25gal containers, but getting them to flower in a container can be very challenging, and it's next to impossible to do so in smaller containers. I've had similar issues with root confinement in an area with heavy clay soil, it ultimately stunts the plants.

If I were to try growing one aquaponically I'd probably plop it into a large grow bed or Dutch bucket in the 50gal+ range depending on what variety I'm growing.

Author:  Gunagulla [ Oct 11th, '17, 04:36 ]
Post subject:  Re: Bananas

It's now split into 2 plants directly in GBs with no pot, so we'll see how they go, if they survive the transplant shock.

Author:  musamaniac [ Oct 12th, '17, 03:44 ]
Post subject:  Re: Bananas

Good luck! Please keep me posted!

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