The Q&A Archives: Best fruit bearing banana for Palm Springs ?

Question: Which fruit producing banana plant,10 feet or less,would be the most successful in the Palm Springs area? I know freezes and high heat and the wind are a definite problem. Some banana plants I've read about are; Grand Nain, Raja Puri and Williams. Which banana plants would you most recommend? Thanks, Ron Zimmerman.

Answer: Banana plants grow well and do produce fruit in Palm Springs. In addition to those you've listed, here are a few more varieties to choose from:
Apple, Silk, or Manzana: Dessert type, pleasant sub-acid apple flavor when fully ripe. Fruit: 4 to 6 inches. Grows to 10 to 12 feet. The fruit is not ripe until some brownish specs appear on the skin. From planting until harvest is approximately 15 months.
Cavendish: Clones of this variety are distinguished by the size of the pseudostem. The largest is Lacatan (12 to 18 feet) followed by Robusta and Giant Cavendish (10 to 16 feet). The smallest is the Dwarf Cavendish (4 to 7 feet).
Cuban Red: Very tall (up to 25 feet), very tropical. Skin dark red, with generally reddish pseudostem. Fruit is especially aromatic with cream-orange pulp. 20 months from planting until harvest.
Gros Michel: Commercially, the most important and considered by many to be the most flavorful. Because of its susceptibility to Panama Wilt disease it is being replaced with resistant varieties. Although there is no Panama Wilt in California, it does poorly here as the plant seems to need more heat and it tends to grow more slowly than other varieties.
Ice Cream or Blue Java: Medium-tall (15 to 20 feet), bluish cast to the unripe fruit. Fruit: 7 to 9 inches, quite aromatic and is said to melt in the mouth like ice cream. Bunches are small with seven to nine hands. 18 to 24 months from planting until harvest.
Lady Finger: Tall (20 to 25 feet), excellent-quality fruit, tolerant of cool conditions. 15 to 18 months from planting to harvest.
Orinoco: Commonly grown in California for years as a landscape plant. Grows to 16 feet, more cold hardy than any other. 15 to 18 months from planting to harvest. Flavor is good, texture is less than perfect, but when properly grown and cultivated it can produce enormous stalks of fruit. Excellent in banana bread. Sometimes called horse, hog or burro banana, it can be purchased at most nurseries.
Popoulu: A Hawaiian variety with short, salmon-pink flesh, plump fruit that may be cooked or eaten fresh. A slender plant preferring a protected area with high humidity and filtered light. Grows to about 14 feet tall.

Best wishes with your banana plant!

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