» Growing and Feeding Bananas

Growing and Feeding Bananas

The question was asked by a grower in the South Pacific if the Mittleider Method works on banana trees. Following is my answer:

Yes, the Mittleider Method and the Mittleider natural mineral nutrient fertilizers work well with bananas. Let’s first learn a bit about growing them:

Banana plants are perennials which grow from underground rhizomes. The stalks are not real tree trunks, but are pseudostems, or tightly packed concentric layers of leaf sheaths, which support the leaves, and the flower and fruit bearing stalk.

One pseudostem may produce as many as 40 leaves. The plant also has an underground rhizome or corm, and a large fibrous root system. The entire plant is called a mat

The banana inflorescence (flowering stalk) emerges from the center of the pseudostem 10 to 15 months after planting, and 3-4 more months are required to produce mature fruit.

When the fruit reaches full size, and before it turns yellow the entire stalk is cut down, leaving only a stump, and the process begins again.

This entire cycle traditionally requires 15 to 18 months, but it can
be shortened when properly using the Mittleider nutrients.

Bananas are typically grown by propagating the larger “sword” or “maidenhead” pseudostems (including roots and some rhizome) from a mature rhizome, and then reducing the growing time for the following crop by allowing a second stalk to begin growing from the main rhizome of each of those propagated plants about 6 months after the first stalk emerges.

Recommended feeding times and amounts of the Mittleider fertilizers are as follows:

Mix 8 ounces (240 grams) Pre-Plant (PP) and 4 ounces (120 grams) Weekly Feed (WF) with the soil under and around the rhizome before planting.

Immediately after planting apply 2 ounces of nitrate or urea nitrogen to the soil around the plant, keeping at least 4″ (10 cm) away from the stem.

After one week apply WF, and continue monthly, starting with 4 ounces and increasing by 4 ounces each month to 32 ounces after 8 months, applying fertilizer to the root zone and watering thoroughly each time.

Continue feeding monthly until one month before the fruit is mature, increasing the amount by 4 ounces each time.

Loosen the soil at the surface and apply Pre-Plant mix again at the
end of every 6 months, using twice as much as the amount of WF you are currently feeding.