Banana 'Grand Nain' (Musa)

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Despite the plant’s tropical origins, few fruits are as omnipresent as bananas. While Musa acuminata is native to Southeast Asia, it’s known as one of the first domesticated plants. 

Today, bananas are a staple in every aspect of life, from wholesome diets to pop culture. That holds true for ‘Grand Nain’ (also spelled Grande Naine), which is sold by the bunch as ‘Chiquita’ bananas. This variety makes up half of the 100 billion bananas eaten every year worldwide. 

'Chiquita Banana' was trademarked in 1947 and Carmen Miranda—the banana-crowned lady on the blue produce stickers—became a household name. This representation of Miranda prevails as a stereotype today, but at the time it undoubtedly introduced people around the world to Brazilian music and Latin culture. 

How to Grow Bananas

Plant Type: Perennial Fruiting Plant/Herb, Fruit Tree

Harvest Season: Summer

Mature Size: 6 ft.

Soil & Moisture: Rich, moist, well-draining soil. They prefer acidic, mounded soil.

Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade

Self-Fertile: Yes

Zone Hardiness: Outdoors 9-11; Patio/Greenhouse 4+

Growing Bananas, Indoors and Out!

As it turns out, that’s not the only aspect of bananas that became a common misconception: The banana plant is an evergreen perennial herb, not a tree. The large ‘trunk’ is actually a pseudostem, which is made of bulky, leafy layers that emerge and wither over time. Banana plants are fast-growing, and prone to reproducing new plants through mini clones known as suckers. With good care, bananas will fruit within the first 15-18 months of planting. Banana plants can be grown indoors as leafy houseplants, but may not produce fruit without sun exposure and nitrogen-rich soil, similar to native areas in tropical zones of Central America and Southeast Asia. In well-drained soil, bananas can almost never get enough water, sunlight, and nutrients. 

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