Monday, October 24, 2011

Germinating Velvet Pink Banana (Musa dasycarpa formerly Musa velutina)





    The lovely Musa dasycarpa really stands out for me.  There are other bananas with pink flowers, but this one also has bright pink fruit!  Better yet the fruit is very sweet and edible, although filled with seeds.  This species is also more cold tolerant that other bananas.  It's definitely not the hardiest but can survive temperatures down to -12C (USDA zone 8a).  It even stays relatively small and only grows to about 2m in height.

    This species was originally referred to as M. velutina.  It was thought to be discovered in 1875 but it turns out it was actually described 8 years earlier in 1867.  The first person to discover/describe the plant generally gets the naming rights, so the proper name is Musa dasycarpa.

    This is the second species that I've tried previously but couldn't get to germinate.  I think the issue was heat.  I have found a lot of conflicting information on germinating these bananas.  I'm going to try using moist compost and planting each seed about 1/2 cm deep.  Allegedly they like temperatures between 21C and 25C with a day/night fluctuation.  People keep recommending this but if they're not getting results I don't know why they still try it.

    There are other theories that seeds from bananas that ripen in warm weather germinate quickly (2 weeks) with heat. Those that ripen in cooler weather germinate more slowly (2 months) and heat doesn't help.  The seeds I ordered would have been collected in the summer.  I've always had luck germinating bananas with heat so that's what I'm going to try.  Wish me luck!

    The next species up is Pride of Madeira (Echium fastuosum).

16 comments:

  1. Beautiful! Now I feel like I need to buy a banana plant.

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  2. I just hope they sprout for me this time. I already sowed a few species and none of my seeds from this supplier have sprouted yet. I'm a little concerned...

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  3. Hey...if you can get them going, I will buy one from you!!!

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  4. Oh, the scientific name has changed. Growing this purple banana is rewarding as the fruits look like a bloom itself when they ripen and peel open automatically.

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  5. @Julie, I really hope I do, they're just so gorgeous. Hopefully I get a few. I'd send it to you free. I'm just worried about cross border shipping. Photosanitary certificate?

    @AutumnBelle,it might currently be my favourite banana. I love that it basically invites you to eat it when ripe.

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  6. They are very easy to grow here in Raleigh, NC. The seeds drop everywhere and come up the next spring with the plants blooming the second season.

    http://arthurinthegarden.blogspot.com/

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  7. I'm glad you have luck in NC. Once again none of my seeds sprouted! I'm not sure what to do. I'd love to have one of these plants. :(

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  8. I am currently trying to grow some (in the process of soaking them a few days), hopefully something comes of it.
    If you have had success since I'd love any more pointers.

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  9. I actually haven't sprouted them yet. I purchased the seeds then moved across the country. I need some lights and a heating mat and maybe I'll have sprouts within a few months.

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  10. John Gwilym EdwardsAugust 17, 2012 at 6:13 AM

    I like yourself have not yet had luck germinating the seed of the pink velvet. Mine have been on the window sill in full sun and day light with a room temperature that fluctuates from 20 - 25C. So far the seeds have been in for 4 weeks so perhaps that is early days yet. The Helen's Hybrid put in the same time has so far produced 3 seedlings from the 5 seeds planted. Hope that the luck continues with all the seeds planted for you and for myself.
    John Gwilym

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  11. Well I have now tried to sprout these twice with no luck. It seems that if they don't sprout within a few weeks, they probably won't. The main factor seems to be a necessity for fresh seed. I've heard many accounts of bananas dropping and seeds sprouting rapidly, as well as people have luck with recently harvested ones. If possible I'd recommend getting these seeds from other hobbyists to ensure they are fresh.

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  12. I tried leaving the pink velvet banana seed in water for about 24 hours. Then I planted the seed. Some say it will take two months. But yet, nothing. Thats right I waited two months. Now I will try to leave the seed in water for about a week to see if It will soften up. If nothing or semi soft I will leave in for another week before planting.
    I'll get back to you.

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    1. It seems to me they either sprout quickly, or barely any sprout and it takes months. Good luck! This has been a very frustrating plant for me. :)

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  13. Why can't you eat the fruit

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    1. Oh, you can eat the fruit. It's delicious just filled with a tonne of small black seeds, so it will never be cultivated commercially.

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  14. There is a Botanical Garden south of Miami. It is full of Spice plants, and fruit plants.
    There were signs everywhere that said, "Do not pick the Fruit. But if it is on the ground, it is free for the taking".
    I saw these pink banana plants and there were bananas on the ground, and obviously, I took some.
    I broke the banana apart to get the seeds, and basically, just put them in the ground about a 1/2" deep. In less than two weeks, I had 3 sprout. In about 4 weeks, I now have over 20 sprouts.
    So maybe there is something to the stories about planting them straight from the fruit.

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