How to Care for an Ice Cream Banana Tree

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Bananas come in many more varieties than you find in the grocery store. Ice cream bananas, also known as blue java bananas, can be a very hardy tree in the right conditions. Known and loved for its snow white flesh and delicious flavor reminiscent of vanilla custard, this variety of banana grows between 8 and 15 feet tall. From bare root to delicious fruit requires less than three years.

Things You'll Need

  • 8-10-8 fertilizer
  • Spray fungicide
  • Plant your ice cream banana tree in rich, well-drained soil. If you live in a coastal area, you must dig out a planting area for your tree and fill it with new soil. Ice cream bananas cannot tolerate salt in their soil. If drainage is a problem, plant your tree in a raised bed.

  • Make sure that your banana tree receives plenty of direct sunlight. Bananas grow best in tropical climates where heat, humidity and sunlight are plentiful. Consider placing your tree either near a water source to provide humidity and reflected light or near a blacktop driveway that will radiate heat.

  • Fertilize your tree with an acidic plant food once per month during warm weather. A properly balanced fertilizer for bananas contains equal amounts of nitrogen and potassium but slightly more phosphorous. The preferred blend used in commercial growing is 8-10-8.

  • Protect your ice cream banana tree from root rot and other fungal diseases with a sprayed fungicide.

  • Watch for flowers beginning to form when the ice cream banana approaches a year and a half old. Banana flowers form on a single stalk that grows from the center of the plant and bloom as a bunch. Full bloom typically occurs in midsummer.

  • Harvest the fruits six to eight months after flowering when the bananas have plumped. Immature fruit from ice cream bananas exhibit a bluish cast, but this disappears as they ripen. Bananas of all varieties die after fruiting, but send up new trees from the roots continuously once mature.

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References

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