Home grown treats: Delicious hands of fruit hang from these handsome plants with glossy, bright green foliage.
Bananas, everyone’s favorite fruit, are ideal backyard fruiting plants for the warmer regions of the country. These attractive and vigorous plants have an herbaceous growth habit, lacking the woody stem and branches of a typical fruit tree.
They grow quickly and with little fuss if grown in the right climate, and produce huge hands of delicious fruit which ripen through the summer and then into the cooler months of autumn.
Bananas look wonderful positioned near outdoor living areas or near a water feature.
There are many Banana varieties suitable for backyard cultivation, and they are generally divided into Cavendish types, which are large and tapered, and Sugar Bananas which are much smaller, with a sweeter taste.
There are also several rarer varieties available to the home gardener, including those introduced from Brazil and Malaysia.
Cavendish types include:
Dwarf Cavendish which is a handsome plant growing to 2 meters with large, glossy leaves. Bunches carry between 8 and 12 hands of bananas but can be susceptible to disease.
Williams Hybrid is a widely grown variety from Fiji. It is a vigorous grower with large bunches of very flavorful fruit. It is disease resistant.
Gran Nain is a shorter, stouter disease resistant variety with vigorous growth. It produces excellent bunches of sweet flavored fruits.
Chinese Cavendish is similar in appearance to Williams. It is a vigorous grower and attractively shaped plant.
Sugar varieties include:
Lady Finger which has robust growth and can reach 5 meters in height. It can tolerate cooler growing conditions and produces bunches with 5 to 8 hands of angular sweet-flavored fruit.
Sugar Banana is a compact plant that grows to 4 meter high. It has slender leaves and small bunches with 5 or 6 hands of fruit which a very sweet flavored and thin-skinned.
Ducasse is a robust variety and is easy to cultivate in poor conditions. It has a distinctive grey-blue bloom on the plant and fruit but must be fully ripe before eating.
Other varieties include:
Gold finger with is a relatively new variety bred for disease-resistance. Its fruit resembles a cross between Cavendish and Lady Finger and is easy to cultivate.
Red Dacca is a tall, handsome plant that produces a smaller yield per plant with unusual red-skinned fruits. The flesh has a pinkish