Banana trees can produce over 200 bananas per bunch in a year. Bananas are technically herbs and each stem can produce a bunch of bananas made up of ‘hands’ of bananas. Each hand contains around 10-20 bananas. Each bunch can grow 10 or more hands each. Each individual banana is called a finger and can be separated from the bunch once picked.
Banana bunches are usually picked when the bananas are green, they are hung and then separated into hands. The hands will naturally ripen themselves as the bananas naturally release ethylene, a gas that ripens the bananas and any other fruit around it.
You can put your unripe pear in a bag with a ripe banana and it will usually ripen within a day due to the ethylene.
Here are some fun facts about how many bananas are produced by each tree or plant per year
1. Banana stems produce 1 bunch each
Banana plants are usually made up of multiple stems as they mature. They grow from an underground rhizome like a potato which will continue to send up new stems as long as the plant has water, warmth and free draining soil and organic matter to grow in.
Each stem is actually a modified leaf stem which has grouped together to form the long trunk and leaves out of the top. Each banana stem can produce 1 bunch of bananas.
It is difficult to know when the banana plant will grow a bunch of bananas but they usually look tall, thick and heavy. The banana stems can even start to bend or fall over as they develop a heavy bunch of bananas.
Banana stems can be propped or tied up to keep them from falling and breaking off. For more on this check out my previous article here: Why Banana Trees Fall Over | 5 Ways to Prevent It
Once the stem has produce the bunch of bananas it will gradually die back. The stem can be left on until it turns yellow or brown. This allows the rhizome to reabsorb the nutrients before the stems is removed.
2. Bananas produce multiple flower groups which turn into hands
Each banana bunch will be made up of hands of bananas which come from multiple flower groups. These flowers produce both male and female flowers. The flowers will form into the bananas and the male flowers are within the red bud at the end of the plant.
The flowers on most edible banana plants are not fertilized but wild forms of bananas are, usually by bats or birds.
3. Each bunch of bananas is made up of 10 or more hands
Large bunches of bananas are usually only seen in markets or on tropical islands where huge banana plantations are growing. If you are lucky enough to be able to grow bananas at home, then you will get to experience a whole bunch growing at the same time, giving you 10 or more hands of bananas with over 200 individual bananas.
These will ripen gradually so a hungry family could probably get through them if they tried. Share them with your neighbors if you get too many and you will be very popular.
4. The banana stem will reproduce when the old stem is finished
Once a banana stem has grown its bunch of bananas it will die back. Banana trees will naturally reproduce and grow new stems from their underground rhizome. These usually grow to the side of the stem where there is room.
This means that healthy banana trees will keep producing and growing as long as they have the space, water and soil to support them. My banana tree started off in a small pot and has gradually busted its way out. It has pushed its roots into the ground soil and is solidly growing now.
I like to trim the excess stems from my banana plant to keep it under control and fitting in the space it has. Leaving 3-4 mature stems gives you the best chance of getting bananas in the next year. Each stem can take 18 months or more before they grow a bunch of bananas.
5. Banana plants are easy to care for
One of the biggest surprises for me after getting my first banana plant is how easy it is to grow. If you are living in an area that is tropical or sub-tropical then bananas seem to just grow on their own. They love warm, humid weather and plenty of rainfall over summer.
Planting them in good quality, well-draining soil is essential and they can grow well in pots. They will enjoy some organic fertilizer over summer, pelleted chicken manure, aged cow manure and compost will all help.
I have hardly fertilized my banana tree this year and it is thriving. There has been high rainfall which will carry nitrogen from the atmosphere, giving the tree free fertilizer.
How many bananas does a tree produce in a year? | Summary
Bananas are an incredibly rewarding plant, technically a herb and not a tree it will grow huge bunches of bananas if it is grown in the right conditions. It looks great in a tropical backyard and will grow easily on its own. Plant it in well-draining soil and keep it well watered over summer.
You will be rewarded over time as the banana stems produce 100 or more bananas each year.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.