S & J Nursery’s Guide to
Growing Grand Nain Banana Plants
in Northeast Florida Gardens
Grand Nain Banana Plants For Northeast Florida Origins:
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.
Grand Nain Banana is a cultivar of Cavendish bananas, Musa acuminata AAA ‘Grand Nain’ like other Cavendish banana selections produce seedless fruits and can only be reproduced vegetatively.
Sun Exposure for the Grand Nain Banana:
In Northeast Florida, plant Banana plants in 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 Grand Nain Banana Tree / Plant:
Our tissue cultured Grand Nain banana plants here at S & J Nursery show hints of purple striping as juvenile plants but will mature to large solid green leaves. The trunks (or more correctly pseudostem)on the Grand Nain banana plant are known for their breadth growing up to a foot in diameter.
Soil Preference for the Grand Nain 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 Grand Nain Banana Plant When Mature:
The mature size on a Grand Nain banana plant is 8-10 ft in height and the foliage will form a clump 6-8 ft wide.
Pruning Grand Nain 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 Grand Nain Banana Plant for Northeast Florida Landscape:
Grand Nain banana plants are the most common commercially grown banana sold in grocery stores. That chiquita banana at your local fruit stand… that is a Grand Nain banana! So if your looking for what you are used to this is it.
Grand Nain banana plants produce hands of large up to 12 inch long bananas that are very sweet and seedless.
Water and Fertilizer Requirements of the Grand Nain 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.