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Have you ever wondered why bananas do not have seeds? So how does a banana tree reproduce? Because we also love this puzzling, yet tasty fruit, we researched how to propagate a banana tree to learn if you can grow a banana tree from a banana.
You cannot grow a banana tree from a commercially cultivated banana fruit. But, you can procure the seeds from a supplier to propagate a banana tree.
- Soak the seed for 24-48 hours.
- Plant each seed approximately 1-inch deep in permeable soil.
- Maintain soil temperature at 60-68°F.
- Keep soil moist.
- Be patient; germination can occur within 3-weeks, or up to 6-months, depending on the variety.
Growing bananas at home can be extremely rewarding. Not only are banana trees lovely, but the fruit is healthy and delicious. Keep reading, and we’ll explain in detail how to propagate a banana tree from seed.
Where is the Seed in a Banana?
If you are inspecting a commercially cultivated banana in search of seed, you won’t find one. That is because the bananas that we typically eat (Cavendish variety) have been genetically altered not to contain seeds. Commercially grown bananas are propagated by separating and re-planting offshoots called suckers, or pups.
Wild bananas do produce seeds contained inside of the fruit. Often seeds are so large that they take up most of the banana, making it difficult to eat the surrounding pulp. Both seeds and suckers propagate wild bananas.
Procure banana seeds from exotic plant/seed suppliers that can be found online, such as Amazon.
How to Grow a Banana Tree from a Seed?
Growing a banana tree from seed is no easy task. In nature, wild banana seeds germinate only under specific circumstances. You will need to provide ideal conditions and be patient.
1. Soak the Seed for 24-48 Hours
Soaking the banana seed is an important step because wild seeds can only germinate when water reaches the internal embryo. Banana seeds have a durable outer shell, but it is leaky. Soaking the seed allows water to permeate the shell slowly, and the internal sexual organs of the seed absorb water to begin the germination process.
2. Plant Each Seed in Permeable Soil (1-inch deep)
Use a permeable soil to allow drainage. Otherwise, the seed will be prone to rot. We recommend trying potting soil for the best results.
3. Maintain Soil Temperature at 60-68°F
In the wild, non-dormant banana seeds can lie for several years, waiting for ideal soil temperatures as a cue that it is time for germination. It is not yet understood how seeds sense temperature, but the fluctuation in soil temperature is necessary for successful germination.
Use a heating mat or a heat lamp to increase the temperature of the soil for several hours daily. Let the soil cool no less than 60°F.
4. Keep Soil Moist
Keep the soil moist to promote germination. If you are planting in a seed tray or pot, cover it with plastic to maintain a humid environment.
5. Be Patient
It takes between 3-weeks and 6-months for banana seeds to germinate. So, be patient and closely monitor the soil’s moisture level and temperature while you wait.
Even if you provide optimal conditions for germination, your banana seed might be dormant. A scientific study found that only 68-75% of freshly harvested, wild seeds germinated when given the right conditions.
Interested in learning other types of seed propagation? Check out our blog post, “How to Propagate Pachira Aquatica (Money Tree).”
How Big do Banana Trees Get?
Did you know that banana trees are not trees? Bananas are perennial, herbaceous flowering plants. They are more closely related to ginger plants and bird-of-paradise flowers than trees. The rhizome of a banana plant produces a robust pseudostem made from dense, overlapping leaves that can reach heights between 10-feet and 25-feet tall depending on the variety.
Banana trees have broad, fanning leaves that can grow up to 9-feet long and 2-feet wide depending on the variety. The leaves are delicate and prone to wind damage, so trees should be planted in a somewhat sheltered location.
Fruits of bananas grow similarity to berries, protruding from the center of the plant’s heart-shaped flower. Individual fruits are called fingers. A mature banana finger weighs approximately 4-ounces.
Banana fruits grow in tiers of 10-20 fingers, forming massive clusters called hands. A hand of bananas might contain between 3 and 20 tiers depending on the variety. When harvested, each hand of bananas can weigh up to 100-pounds.
Best Containers for Growing a Banana Tree?
Typically, potted bananas are dwarf varieties that grow between 5-feet and 15-feet tall, depending on the variety. Because the size of the container can inhibit the banana’s growth, you will want to select a container large enough to provide a roughly 3-inch gap between the container’s sides and the centered pseudostem of the plant. As your banana tree grows, transplant it into a larger container.
Here are a few things to consider when selecting a container for your banana tree:
- Drainage; equipped with a bottom hole(s) and (for smaller, indoor/outdoor pots) coordinating saucer.
- Lightweight material; to easily relocate larger, heavy trees.
- Durable material; for indoor/outdoor use so the container will not become discolored or break easily.
- Reusable; to repurpose the container after banana trees have been transplanted.
- Style; to coordinate with indoor/outdoor decor.
Sow banana seeds in a reusable tray with a humidity lid. Heavy-duty plastic with grip handles is easy to locate into a sunny location after planting.
Transplant banana seedlings into 3-inch pots. Multipurpose terra cotta pots with drainage and saucer prove versatile planters throughout your home and yard.
The perfect size to nourish an emerging banana corm or sucker, this set of ceramic, 5-inch pots will give plants a great start. Modern style compliments home decor, with drainage and coordinating saucer for healthy plants.
Boldly display your growing banana tree planted in this sleek, ceramic pot. Available in 8-inch and 10-inch sizes to accommodate hearty plants, with drainage hole and stopper.
Add a burst of color to your tropical landscape by planting bananas in this 15-inch pot. Durable, high-density resin withstands outdoor elements, with a gleaming ceramic-like finish.
Accentuate your banana tree by planting in this stylish 20-inch pot. Lightweight, wood resin material makes it easy to locate your banana either indoors or outside. Puncture drainage holes for adequate moisture.
Check out our blog, “10 Best Walmart Large Flower Pots and Planters,” for even more container ideas.
Now that you know how to propagate a banana tree from seed, you can get started so that you will soon have a flourishing, young plant to produce wholesome fruit.