Banana varieties to consider for your garden

There are more than 1,000 banana cultivars. Here are several varieties that can grow in home gardens:

Cavendish: These are dessert banana; stout plant that fruit heavily. They are commonly sold in markets; several named clones include Lacatan (12 to 18 feet tall), Robusta and Giant Cavendish (10 to 16 feet tall), Dwarf Cavendish (4 to 7 feet tall); resistant to Panama Wilt disease.

Cuban Red banana: These are for cooking, they have a dark red skin, cream-orange flesh, 20 months from planting until harvest.

Gros Michel banana: They are dessert bananas; considered by many to be the most flavorful; it needs a lot of heat and susceptible to Panama Wilt disease.

Ice Cream or Blue Java: Are dessert bananas; flavorful fruit melts in the mouth; their fruit is 7 to 9 inches long with a bluish cast; the plant grows 15 to 20 feet tall; 18 to 24 months from planting until harvest.

Lady Finger: dessert banana; excellent quality; fruit tolerant cool temperatures; the tree grows 20 to 25 feet tall; 15 to 18 months from planting to harvest.

Manzano also called Apple or Silk: dessert banana; pleasant apple flavor when ripe; fruit is 4 to 6 inches long; the plant grows 10 to 15 feet tall; about 15 months from planting to harvest.

Orinoco: cooking banana; good flavor; the plant grows to 16 feet tall; 15 to 18 months from planting to harvest.
Plantains (cooking bananas): are a type of banana used for cooking; dry and starchy flesh.

Popoulu: cooking banana; plump fruit for fresh eating or cooking; salmon-pink flesh; grow best with high humidity and filtered light; the plant grows to about 14 feet tall.

Red Iholena: (dessert or cooking): very good flavor; pink flesh; yellow-skinned; rapid growth to 10 feet tall.

Valery: dessert banana; similar to ‘Robusta Cavendish’; maybe the same.

Williams banana: dessert banana; same as ‘Giant Cavendish’; the plant grows 10 to 16 feet tall.

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