Is it possible to grow bananas in the desert?

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Answered by: Jacqueline, An Expert in the Warm Climate Gardens Category
So, you want to grow bananas in the desert?

Is it even possible to grow a tropical fruit like bananas in the desert? Well, with some luck from Mother Nature and a bit of skill, it really is possible enjoy the majestic and mighty banana tree right in your own desert backyard. It's actually quite easy, once you understand the needs of a banana tree.



While technically an herb, bananas grow in many parts of the world and can handle severe weather conditions. You might be under the impression that the blazing temperatures of summer would be the end of a banana tree, but it's actually temperatures at, or below freezing that will hurt or kill your trees. Fear not though, there are ways to ensure that your newly acquired banana machine can grow, flourish and give you fruit for years to come.

To start your banana tree adventure, you'll want to select a tree from a nursery or purchase a plant online. There are usually a handful of sizes available, but the prices can get steep quickly. Since bananas grow quite rapidly, selecting a 1 or 2 gallon sized plant is just fine. There are many varieties of bananas, and while almost all bear fruit, there are a few ornamental varieties. Be sure to check to make sure that your banana is of the fruit producing variety before hitting that checkout button.



Now that you've got your banana tree, it's almost time to plant! Before planting your banana, you will need to test the soil’s ability to drain. if the soil doesn't drain rapidly enough, your tree won't make it. First, dig a post-size hole a couple of feet deep then fill it with water. If the hole empties within two hours, you've got the drainage you need to plant your banana tree.

It's finally time to get your banana plant in the ground. Remove the tree from the pot and place it in the hole, making sure that all roots are covered and sit loosely in the hole. Pack the area around the tree with the soil that was removed and make sure that you reach ground level. Pack the dirt firm enough that the soil level does not reduce when you're watering the tree. If that happens, just make sure to grab some additional soil to cover.

You're done with the hard part now, and the only care left for your banana tree is watering and feeding. Bananas like to be watered slow and deep to the root level, so a good soaking once a week in temperatures under 90 degrees is perfect. Once the temperatures rise, you'll need to double your efforts. Your banana will thrive with a balanced fertilizer (20-20-20 is just fine) administered every 3-4 weeks during the warmer months.

After about 8-9 months, you should start to see banana fruits from your labor. There's a specific method to harvesting - you'll need to wait until your fruit has the appearance of an unripe banana, then cut it from the stalk it's growing from. Bananas can turn yellow on the "vine", but you can also hang your bounty in in a dark spot at a time. The fan of bananas that grow on the tree are called a "hand", and you should only pick one at a time to make sure that you don't over-ripen too many fruit.

Now, you've got the know-how to grow bananas in the desert. It's actually an easy tree to grow and even if you don't get any fruit, the tree itself is a beautiful plant that will give your yard a more tropical feel.

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