Commercially grown bananas that are cultivated specifically for consumption don’t have seeds. Over time, they have been modified to have three sets of genes instead of two (triploid) and produce no seeds. In nature, however, one encounters many banana types with seeds; in fact, some seeds are so large it is difficult to get to the pulp. That said, can you grow bananas from seed? Read on to find out about growing banana trees from seeds.
Can You Grow Bananas from Seed?
Prepare an outdoor bed in a sunny area or use a seed tray or other container and fill with potting soil enriched with plenty of organic compost in the amount of 60% sand or airy loam to 40% organic matter. Sow the banana seeds 1/4 inch (6 mm.) deep and backfill with compost. Water the seeds until the soil is moist, not drenched, and maintain damp conditions while growing banana trees from seeds.
Propagating Banana Plants
When germinating banana seeds, even hardy bananas, keep the temperature at least 60 degrees F. (15 C.). Different varieties respond to temperature fluxes differently, however. Some do well with 19 hours of cool and five hours of warm temps. Using a heated propagator and turning it on during the day and off at night may be the easiest way to monitor temperature fluctuations.
Unfortunately, you can’t save seeds from your breakfast banana and grow a banana plant. Banana seeds are contained inside the flesh — the edible part of the fruit. But because the Cavendish subgroup is a hybrid plant, its minuscule seeds are not fertile. So, that’s why our bananas don’t have seeds.
So how do banana trees reproduce? Do they have seeds at all, or are they grown through some other method? Can you grow them at home, or do you have to be content with getting bunches of bananas from a grocery store? We’re going to break down everything you need to know about banana reproduction and answer all your questions!
So, if bananas don’t have mature seeds, how are they grown? Banana trees mainly reproduce through suckers, also called pups. These pups appear to be separate, smaller trees growing next to the adult tree, but they are an offshoot from the roots of that tree. This means they are the same plant attached at the roots. Banana trees produce pups as part of reproduction but also to increase the general surface area of the plant so they can absorb more light and water.
You can get banana pups at some nurseries or specialty stores, although, depending on your location, you may have better luck online. There are even some dwarf varieties that can be grown in containers for an extended length of time and more cold tolerant varieties in case you don’t live in a tropical location.
Where to find banana pups
Once these pups are three to four feet tall, they can be separated from the adult plant. After separation, the pups can be planted on their own. They’ll continue to grow into mature plants, producing fruit and, eventually, pups of their own.
Eventually, your banana plant will put out pups, which you can either leave attached or separate them when the pup grows to at least three feet tall. Some banana trees will produce pups when distressed to help the plant take in more water and light, so check that your plant is getting everything it needs when you first begin seeing pups.
Of course, most fruit trees don’t naturally produce fruit with seeds that won’t mature. Wild banana trees still exist, and they have plenty of seeds. So many seeds, in fact, that they’re nearly completely inedible. Wild bananas are also much smaller than the fruit we enjoy today. Over the course of centuries, bananas were domesticated and bred to have bigger fruit with smaller seeds until we eventually reached the varieties grown today.
Do bananas have seeds?
Most of the bananas that produce edible fruit are cold-hardy up to USDA zone 9. In colder regions, they thrive indoors during the cold seasons. The Dwarf Cavendish banana was developed in English greenhouses in the mid-1800s. But they need six or more hours of sunlight daily and a long, warm growing season to set and ripen their fruit.
Banana plants need full sun and do best when planted in rich, well-draining soil. Most varieties prefer slightly acidic soil and are susceptible to wind damage, so consider that when choosing a planting location. Bananas also need lots of water and thrive in humid conditions.