Monday, October 11, 2010
Growing Bananas in Southern California
It's apparently not that difficult. This family has it completely figured out: Sunset zone 23, warmer and sunnier than 24 with its overwhelming ocean influence, but mostly lacking the winter frosts of Sunset zones 22 and lower. In addition, this is a slightly hilly area that stays a few degrees warmer than the nearby flats. Bees to pollinate the flowers.
This flower was swarming with happy bees:
Concrete block wall behind, reflecting sun and heat onto the banana plants, concrete driveway and sidewalks around, also keeping the ground warmer, and wide asphalt streets, also keeping the ground warmer and radiating heat back into the air at night, keeping the bananas just that little bit warmer.
Full sun all day long. Plenty of water--the small surrounding Bermuda grass lawn grows thick and lush, as it will only with plenty of wet.
Many new pups ready to take the place of the old ones as they die off And the plants are long-established; look at their bases:
I know the banana plants have been there since I started driving this road more than ten years ago. I saw no mulch and no elaborate care. Just the exact right spot for banana success.
These plants look tired and ratty in January and February, but otherwise it appears to be bananas year-round for this lucky family--there were 6 or 7 large bunches ripening on the day I took pictures. Each bunch looked to contain at least four dozen bananas, so there were about three hundred bananas soon to be ripe and ready to eat. Each fruit was about the size of a smallish grocery-store banana, decent-sized, not small by any means. I imagine the flavor of home-grown is far superior.
Growing bananas in Southern California can be done very successfully. Just find the right spot. And really, really love bananas, because you may end up with, yes--bunches.