Bananas come in many more varieties than you find in the grocery store. Ice cream bananas, also known as blue java bananas, can be a very hardy tree in the right conditions. Known and loved for its snow white flesh and delicious flavor reminiscent of vanilla custard, this variety of banana grows between 8 and 15 feet tall. From bare root to delicious fruit requires less than three years.
Plant your ice cream banana tree in rich, well-drained soil. If you live in a coastal area, you must dig out a planting area for your tree and fill it with new soil. Ice cream bananas cannot tolerate salt in their soil. If drainage is a problem, plant your tree in a raised bed.
Make sure that your banana tree receives plenty of direct sunlight. Bananas grow best in tropical climates where heat, humidity and sunlight are plentiful. Consider placing your tree either near a water source to provide humidity and reflected light or near a blacktop driveway that will radiate heat.
Fertilize your tree with an acidic plant food once per month during warm weather. A properly balanced fertilizer for bananas contains equal amounts of nitrogen and potassium but slightly more phosphorous. The preferred blend used in commercial growing is 8-10-8.
Protect your ice cream banana tree from root rot and other fungal diseases with a sprayed fungicide.
Watch for flowers beginning to form when the ice cream banana approaches a year and a half old. Banana flowers form on a single stalk that grows from the center of the plant and bloom as a bunch. Full bloom typically occurs in midsummer.
Harvest the fruits six to eight months after flowering when the bananas have plumped. Immature fruit from ice cream bananas exhibit a bluish cast, but this disappears as they ripen. Bananas of all varieties die after fruiting, but send up new trees from the roots continuously once mature.