S & J Nursery’s Guide to
Growing Blue Java / Ice Cream Banana Plants
in Northeast Florida Gardens
Blue Java / Ice Cream Banana Plants For Northeast Florida Gardens Origin:
Banana plants are an herbaceous plant and although most commonly referred to as a tree the “trunk” of the plant is a collection of the bases of the large banana leaf stalks.
They are native to Southeast Asia and have been cultivated and carried throughout the tropics and subtropical portions of the world for thousands of years.
Blue Java / Ice Cream banana is touted to be the best tasting banana cultivar yet. The name Blue Java banana is from the blue green color of the fruit before it ripens and Ice Cream Banana for it’s creamy vanilla flavored banana plants.
Sun Exposure for the Blue Java / Ice Cream Banana:
In Northeast Florida, bananas should be planted into a full sun or partial shade location preferably on the south side of the home and away from frost prone areas of the landscape and high winds that will damage the foliage.
Foliage of the Ice Cream Banana Tree / Plant:
Ice Cream banana plants are
Soil Preference for the Blue Java / Ice Cream Banana for Northeast Florida:
When it comes to planting banana’s in Northeast Florida I can not say this one thing enough, compost, compost and more compost! In fact the healthiest, best producing banana plants I have ever seen are growing right out of the compost pile on our tree farm in the Switzerland area of St. Johns county Florida.
Amend your soil generously with compost when planting banana plants. Dig your 3 ft by 3 ft hole or even bigger if you can, and back fill the area around your new banana plant with 50 percent compost and 50 percent native soil that you removed from the hole while digging.
Be sure to locate your banana in an area where it can receive supplemental irrigation and away from flood prone areas of your landscape. Banana’s need moist but well draining soils.
Size of the Blue Java / Ice Cream Banana Plant When Mature:
The mature size on a Blue Java / Ice Cream banana plant reaches 10-12 ft in height and 5-8 ft wide.
Pruning Blue Java / Ice Cream Banana Plants for the Northeast Florida Landscape:
Banana plants form clumps by sending up suckers off the rhizome that forms underground. The main stem will die after flowering and forming fruits and the side shoots will replace it.
Prune out the center stem that has died and leave one to three well spaced stems that are directly connected to the main stem to grow up and replace it. Leaving to many suckers to grow will result in poor fruit production.
IMPORTANT: (Be careful not to leave water shoots (a sucker close to, but only superficially attached to the main stem)that will emerge at a distance from the main stem, these are not productive shoots and should always be removed, only keep shoots that are directly connected to the flowering base.)
Blooms and Fruit of Blue Java / Ice Cream Banana Plant for Northeast Florida Landscape:
Blue Java / Ice Cream banana plants are named for their delicious clue skinned fruits with a creamy vanilla banana flavor! Fruits are small to medium size.
Water and Fertilizer Requirements of the Blue Java / Ice Cream Banana Plant:
Banana plants grow quickly and require allot of water and fertilizer to sustain that tremendous growth.
Water daily after planting your newly planted banana from and S & J Nursery container for the first two to three weeks being sure to supply your new plant all the water it can possibly need to get growing. Taper your water back to every other day then every third day then to once a week making sure to supply at least an inch to an inch and a half of water each week during the growing season.
The fertilizer recommendation varies depending on what professional you talk to, I guess we all have our opinions and what works best for us, we continue to use and recommend to others. Some recommend a fertilizer N-P-K ratio of 3-1-6 ( your fertilizer bag would say 6-2-12 or a similar ratio to 3-1-6) Others say to use a well balanced plant food keeping the N-P-K ratio at around 8-10-8. And then other garden authors say to use a 6-6-6 fertilizer.
One theme is constant among them all…fertilize frequently and heavily! Some recommend monthly some every other month, but all will tell you that bananas are heavy feeders and a mature banana plant may require as much as 1-2 lbs per application! Start with 1/4 of a lb on small plants and increase the amount applied monthly as the plant grows.
You may be able to locate a fertilizer formulated specifically for tropical plants or banana plants, I use Citrus fertilizer mixed with Milorganite on mine and get good results.
Harvesting your Banana Plants Fruits:
Banana fruits mature slowly on the tree, some taking months after forming before the first hand begins to show any yellowing. Be sure to leave the fruit on the tree until you see the first set of bananas start to show some color before removing them from the tree to allow them to finish ripening indoors.