Can bananas be grown in San Diego County? Which varieties grow best and what kind of care do they need?

Bananas can be grown successfully in San Diego County near the coast and in some inland areas where winter temperatures usually remain above freezing. Bananas need 10 to 15 months of frost-free conditions to produce a flower stalk. Freezing temperatures will kill the foliage. Plants grow best where they are sheltered from strong winds and where summer temperatures do not rise much above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They should be planted in a sunny location in well-drained soil, enriched with composted organic matter. Bananas require frequent irrigation and monthly application of fertilizer during warm weather.

For more information on growing bananas visit California Rare Fruit Growers (CRFG) and read their Fruit-Fact Sheet on bananas. Hybrid varieties of banana that have performed well in the San Diego area include "Ice cream" which is also known as "Blue Java", "Orinoco" and "Cardaba". Information on these varieties and where to purchase them can be obtained by calling the CRFG 'Banana Lady' at 760.753.6757 (best evenings).

By V. Lazaneo, Urban Horticulture Advisor, Emeritus, UC Cooperative Extension, September 2012

 

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