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How to Germinate Banana Seeds

bunch of bananas growing on banana tree image by L. Shat from

Banana plants (Musa species) are tropical fruit-producing trees that love heat. Although bananas are typically propagated via rhizomes (fleshy underground roots) with careful preparation you can start bananas from seed. Instrumental to success in germinating banana seeds is to ensure that you begin with fresh banana seeds, sterilized growing medium, and a sterilized container in which to hold the banana seeds while they germinate.

Germinating Banana Seeds

Place the banana seeds into a bowl of water and allow them to soak for 48 hours. Change the water once a day. If there is any banana pulp left on the seeds, scrub them off until you are sure they are clean.

Rinse the lidded plastic container in a solution of 1 part bleach mixed with 10 parts water for approximately two to three minutes. Rinse the lidded plastic container in hot water to remove any residue and turn it upside down on a paper towel to dry.

Sterilize the banana seeds prior to planting. To do this, pour in 1 tsp. of household bleach into 1 cup of tap water. Drop the banana seeds into the bleach and water solution and let them soak for two to three minutes.

Remove the banana seeds from the bleach and water solution and place them into wire basket or colander. Rinse them with cool water until you are sure they are well rinsed off.

Place sterilized seed-starting compost into the lidded plastic container until it's 3/4 full. Mist it with water until it is very well moistened. The idea is to have it moist to the touch, but not soggy wet.

Set the banana seeds on the surface of the soil in the lidded plastic container about 1/2 inch apart from each other. Sprinkle approximately 1/8 inch of the compost over the banana seeds.

Set the lid on the container. Transfer the container to a location in your home that will remain consistently between 70 and 80 degrees F. A good place to set the container is on top of a hot water heater. Germination of banana seeds at the above temperature range typically begins in two to three weeks. Once you see banana seedlings sprout, immediately pot them up.

Planting Banana Seedlings

Fill up 4-inch wide plastic pots with sterilized potting mix. Pack the growing medium down until it is compressed.

Use a teaspoon to dig out a banana seedling very carefully and gently, so as not to disturb its roots.

Dig a hole in the center of a 4-inch plastic pot that will accommodate the roots of the banana seedling.

Set the banana seedling gently into the 4-inch pot. Use the teaspoon to push the potting soil in and around the seedling.

Water each of the banana seedlings carefully. Transplant the banana seedlings into larger containers when they are about 3 or 4 inches tall.

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