Going Bananas

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Here in Baja the climate is great for growing many types of subtropical plants, including bananas. I have a small collection of banana cultivars, some of which do very well and others are marginal at best. One of my favorites is the Blue Java, or Ice Cream banana. Grown here in my garden has a slight vanilla taste and somewhat of a touch of acid, just enough to make it sprightly… much more interesting than store bought bananas! They are quite small when fully developed, maybe 3-4 inches long. Quite tasty!

I have discovered a lot about how bananas grow from my banana experiments here. Although, I understood that a banana tree, actually a giant stalk, will die after it produces fruit, I didn’t know that one cluster, or mat, of trees can actually have more than one bearing tree at a time. I have an extremely hard time bringing myself to thin my trees, so I usually just let them grow as they will (unless one comes up in my way). As a result, I have mats with sets of trees with various heights (usually three at each level, tall, mid-height, and small pups).

This year, it seems that most of my clusters have large trees with fruit on them that have bloomed about three or four months apart. We have an almost steady supply of bananas, instead of just one gigantic stalk with more fruit than we can se at one time. Although, my solution to that “problem” is just to freeze the excess as slices for smoothies.

I love the way banana trees lend a tropical look to my yard. One of the loveliest things I have discovered is the banana blossom.  I think they look sort of like orchids. What do you think?

Banana blossoms resemble orchids
Banana blossoms resemble orchids

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