Each banana stem can produce 1 bunch of bananas before it dies back. Banana plants will produce a bunch of bananas per year. If the plant has multiple stems it can produce multiple bunches but they can take 8-18 months to mature.
Warm, sunny and tropical climates will produce banana bunches quicker than cooler climates. My banana bunch has been on the tree for around 3 months and is still green. It appeared in fall and is not likely to ripen until spring or summer.
Banana stems seem to flower at any time of the year. They can appear in spring, summer or fall. In tropical climates banana trees can even flower in winter.
How to encourage banana trees to bear fruit
Banana trees are unpredictable in that you never quite know when they will flower. I have been growing banana trees at home and I can share the tricks I used to get my bunch of bananas to appear within 9 months.
1. Mulch the banana tree with its own leaves
Banana trees thrive with mulch and the easiest mulch to use is old banana leaves. Will prune off banana leaves regularly and place them straight back around the tree. This keeps moisture in for longer and helps to prevent weeds.
2. Water the tree regularly in summer
Regular water is essential to encourage these tropical plants to grow bunches of bananas. We live in a sub-tropical climate and had huge rainfall over summer. This lead to rapid growth of my banana tree and multiple stems.
3. Feed the tree with liquid fertilizer and pelleted chicken manure
I would feed my banana tree with liquid fertilizer I would make myself. After weeding my garden I filled a bucket with water and would soak the weeds. After around 2 weeks the nutrients from the weeds would soak into the water. It would smell terrible but was great for my banana tree.
You can filter out the weeds or pour them straight on to the base of the tree. The old weeds will break down, just make sure you don’t use weeds with seeds as they can regrow.
Add a dash of seaweed solution to the mix to give the banana tree an extra boost.
4. Trim off excess stems
Trimming off excess stems is essential to get your banana tree to grow fruit. The rhizome can only support a certain amount of stems and flowers so it is best to get it to focus on 3-4 stems. Small rhizomes should be kept to 1-2 stems to encourage fruiting.
I find that the stems will continue to grow, just head back and trim them again. The largest stems are most likely to produce the first flowers.
5. Full sun is key
I have found that full sun is essential for banana trees to produce fruit. It is important to give them at least 6-8 hours of sunlight to get them to flower and set fruit.
The more sun they get the better. I find that my banana tree stems were reaching high and were towering over other trees and shrubs in my yard. This gave them almost all day sun over time and they were quick to produce flowers and fruit.
How long before a banana tree bears fruit?
Banana trees or stems can bear fruit as quickly as 9 months. Once the rhizome is strong enough to support the stem it can produce a flower and fruit. Each bunch of bananas can take up to 18 months to mature and ripen.
Bananas will start out skinny and straight and gradually over time will fill out. My bananas slowly moved from skinny fingers to fat bananas in 3 months. They have not turned yellow yet because they appeared in fall. It is likely that it won’t be until summer before they start to turn yellow.
This single stem will only produce one bunch of flowers. Once this has finished the rhizome (banana trees are technically a herb) will send up new stems. These new stems can produce one bunch of flowers each.
How often does a banana tree bear fruit?
Banana trees seem to send out flowers spontaneously. Once the stem has matured then it can send out a flower head which will self-pollinate and grow several hands of bananas. Each hand can hold 5-7 bananas or even more on large, cavendish varieties.
Large rhizomes can hold multiple stems each carrying a bunch of bananas. Bananas grown in pots or those that have limited space are less likely to be able to maintain multiple stems with multiple banana bunches.
Home banana trees will do best if they are kept to 3-4 stems. They can produce one or two bunches of bananas each year which can hold over 100 bananas each.
Grow them in well-draining soil and keep them moist throughout the warmer months. Surround the tree with thick mulch to protect the rhizomes.
How many times do banana trees bear fruit?
Each banana stem will only bear fruit once in their growing life. Once the bunch has ripened and been picked remove the stem as low down as possible. Banana stems are soft to cut through but can be heavy. They are filled with water so take care when you cut the stems down.
When we removed some of our larger banana stems we cut them into pieces and let them rest on the ground. This allowed them to dry out over 2-3 weeks making them lighter and easier to move. Banana leaves can be cut into small pieces and added to your compost bin.
Run the banana leaves through a mulcher to help them break down faster. They can even be applied straight back onto the ground around your banana tree as a great mulch.
Always wear gloves, glasses and long sleeve shirts when cutting banana stems back. The stick sap can irritate your skin and can stain clothes.
How many times a year does a banana tree bear fruit? | Summary
Banana trees will produce one bunch of bananas on each stem each year. Most banana rhizomes will only be able to sustain 1 or 2 bunches of bananas each year. Banana bunches can take from 6-18 months to fully ripen but you can pick the bunch when the first hand of bananas starts to turn yellow.
Banana bunches will continue to ripen once they have been picked. Cut them into hands and share them with friends.
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.