Fruits usually have seeds simply because they need those seeds to reproduce. If you think about apples, mangoes, and other fruit, they all have pits or seeds in them, but bananas do not.
Bananas do not have seeds simply because they don’t need them. This is because modern bananas grow quite different from the way other fruits grow.
Below are a few interesting facts about bananas and why they do not have seeds.
1. Banana trees are actually herbs
Instead of a fruit tree, banana trees are actually very large herbaceous flowering plants, which is why they grow and reproduce differently than other types of fruit.
With fruit such as apples, the seeds fall to the ground and get buried, and a new tree grows from those seeds. Banana on the other hand can grow and divide by extending their underground rhizome.
New stems will grow from the rhizome and can be divided off into new plants.
2. Banana Trees stems die back after fruiting
At the end of the season and after the fruit is harvested, the banana tree plant dies.
Suckers, which are small bulbs growing underground, are replanted at this point, and new plants grow from these. Because of this, bananas just don’t need seeds as other fruits do.
3. SOME Bananas Do Have Seeds!
Though rare, some bananas do actually have seeds. You find these types of bananas mostly in Southeast Asia and East Africa, where you can find tiny black seeds once you open up the fruit.
It is said that the seeds taste somewhat like almonds or hazelnuts.
In most of the world, however, bananas do not have any seeds in them. Modern varieties have been selected to grow large delicious fruit without seeds.
4. Banana Seeds are the Result of Stress
Yet another reason most bananas have no seeds is that the seeds are the result of stress while the plant is growing.
Certain chemicals or conditions, most notably too much nitrogen, can cause stress on the plant as it grows and cause it to develop seeds on the inside.
How to Grow Bananas without seeds
Bananas can be grown either outdoors or indoors, but first, it’s good to know that there are two different types of bananas. They are:
- Dessert bananas: These are the bananas that are made for eating fresh and making desserts. These are the ones mostly found in supermarkets.
- Cooking bananas: These are edible as well, but they are larger and much starchier than dessert bananas. An example would be the plantain bananas.
As you can imagine, banana plants require lots of sunshine. They do best with at least 12 hours per day of sunshine, a temperature of 70–80 degrees Fahrenheit, and a constant humidity of at least 50%.
Banana plants need to be sheltered from the wind because their leaves are very long and therefore need to be protected.
As far as the soil is concerned, it needs to be mixed with compost and drain well. Aim for a soil with a pH level of 5.5 to 6.5.
Bananas use a lot of potassium, so your soil needs a lot of that mineral in it or the plants will need to be fertilized regularly.
Growing Banana Plants Outdoors
To grow bananas outdoors, use the block-planting method. To do this, plant the bananas using several plants that are clumped together, and space them about five feet apart.
Bananas are usually grown from either cuttings or root divisions. Root divisions that include leafy growth will be the best options.
When you plant the divisions, make sure the roots are covered at the same depth that you saw growing on the mother plant.
If the root division you use happens to have no leafy growths on it, simply plant it 1–2 inches below the ground.
You can also plant banana trees in containers outdoors, but the containers have to be a minimum of 15 gallons in size, preferably larger.
You may find that growing bananas this way requires more watering, simply because the containers tend to drain quickly.
Growing banana trees indoors
If you’re wondering if you can grow banana trees indoors, the answer is “maybe.” It is difficult to grow them indoors simply because they need so much sunshine.
If you’re intent on growing your banana trees indoors, it always works best if you have a greenhouse. Otherwise, it’s difficult for the plant to flower and develop fruit.
The plant may survive, but it might not develop any fruit that is a significant size.
How to divide your banana trees
When you’re growing your banana plants in containers, keep in mind that they grow rather quickly. Because of this, it’s recommended that you divide the plant and replant it into several containers regularly.
Make sure you do this every three years and make sure you replant them in high-quality potting soil and fertilize them regularly so they can grow properly.
Tips for Successfully Growing Banana Plants
If you want to grow banana trees yourself, here are a handful of tips that you should keep in mind:
- Banana trees need regular water, especially throughout the summer. Always keep the soil moist but never soggy.
- Fertilize the trees once a month, but don’t let the fertilizer touch the trunk. Use half of the suggested dose when the tree is planted outside, and switch to a fertilizer with lots of potassium once you see the flowers.
- If the temperature gets below 75 degrees Fahrenheit, cover the plant so that it doesn’t get too cold.
- To prune, wait until the tree fruits. Then, cut the tree down to the ground, chopping up the stem so you can use it as mulch.
- Your goal is to always have one tree growing and one sucker (the bulbs growing underground) to plant at the end of the season.
Growing banana trees isn’t difficult once you learn a few basic rules. Remember that most bananas have no seeds because they simply don’t need them.
Banana trees prefer a lot of heat and a lot of water, and while you can grow them inside, growing them outdoors works best. You still have to divide them and replant them every three years, though.
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.