How to Grow Banana Plant Pups

Overview

Bananas grow multiple stalks from offshoots at ground level, forming an interconnected mat of plants and roots. You can remove suckers or "pups" from the mat to start new plants. Allow four or five stalks to grow per mat, removing others for transplanting or adding them to the mulch pile. Too many stalks compete for nutrients, producing a lower quality of banana. For transplanting, look for "sword" suckers that have the beginnings of leaves that are mostly midribs with small blades. Suckers that produce large leaves immediately after emerging are not suitable for transplanting.

Step 1

Remove a large pup containing several eyes. Dig up the pups just before the larger leaves appear or after they have had time to develop into large stems, at approximately three to four months old.

Step 2

Check the roots for damage, and trim away any discolored or damaged sections. Soak the trimmed roots in a bucket of hot water, between 122 to 126 degrees F, for 15 to 20 minutes. This soaking kills nematodes and other insects that may be present.

Step 3

Select a location with full sun and protection from the wind. Perform a soil test and adjust the soil pH to between 5.5 and 6.5. Plant the pups 8 to 10 feet apart.

Step 4

Dig a hole at least 18 inches wide and 15 inches deep. Mix organic compost into the soil. Plant the sucker in the hole at the same level it was originally growing. Firm the soil around the pup.

Step 5

Hand pull or hoe weeds around the plants, keeping a weed-free zone around the mat. Banana plants are heavy feeders and weeds compete for nutrients in the soil.

Step 6

Water the banana pups immediately after planting. Irrigate every two to three days to keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Bananas need about 1 1/2 inches of water every week during dry weather.

Step 7

Fertilize every four to eight weeks during the first year with a dry fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphate, potash and magnesium. Apply a micronutrient spray once or twice a year. Apply iron to the soil if indicated by your soil test.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Bucket
  • Fertilizer
  • Hoe
  • Organic compost
  • Soil test kit

References

  • Purdue Agricultural Extension: Banana
  • Hawaii Cooperative Extension: Banana
Keywords: plant banana pups, grow banana pups, propagate bananas, grow banana suckers, plant banana suckers

About this Author

Diane Watkins has been writing since 1984, with experience in newspaper, newsletter and web content. She writes two electronic newsletters and content around the web. Watkins has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Clemson University. She has taken graduate courses in biochemistry and education.