Bananas?

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This postcard from Southern Pines in 1910 shows “Mr. and Mrs. J.N. Powell among their bananas.” Bananas? I realize that there has been significant climate change over the past century, but I don’t believe that it was ever possible to cultivate tropical fruit in North Carolina. Even when I zoom in I can’t see anything that I would recognize as a banana. Perhaps this was an older nickname for some other kind of plant common to the region. I’d like for this to be possible though. Just imagine how good the banana pudding at local barbecue restaurants would be if they made it with fruit fresh from the garden.

20 thoughts on “Bananas?”

  1. Well, those are definitely banana trees, but I have no idea how they survive the winters here. However, there is at least one farm in the Triangle that grows bananas: Blue Sky Farms in Wendell.

  2. A while ago at Duke I saw a pamphlet published by the Seaboard Air Line, called ‘The Carolina Fruit Hills’, recruiting investors to plant fruit orchards in the Sandhills of North Carolina. We have it in our Special Collections, but it looks like you have it in the NCC too. Anyway, it may provide some background for the Southern Pines bananas postcard. Also, there’s a banana tree in Duke Gardens, but I’ve never seen any fruit on it.

  3. I have banana plants growing in my home in Burlington, NC as do a few neighbors.

    Some types of bananas are “root hardy” here, dying down to the ground in the winter. Others can be protected without much diffculty or stored for the Winter when they go dormant … or just moved inside.

  4. Dwarf orinoco, Blue Java, Gold finger, and several others are cold hardy to zone 7b-8 which includes the Sandhills of North Carolina I know several people in NC who get bananas to fruit as well as in SC for more info http://www.bananas.org

  5. Bill I would love to get hold of some Carolina king pups if you have some or if you know anyone who has any. I grow many varieties in Carthage which is close to Southern Pines

  6. I live in Durham NC, and I have successfully grown banana trees. They have grown over 14 to 15 feet and have just sprouted out 4 bunches of bananas. Can anyone tell me if this is supposed to be possible.

  7. Yes, much to our surprise it is possible to have banana’s in NC. We have had this one for about 3 or 4 years, and surprisingly it has 2 bunches of bananas this year!!! We were actually shocked! It is only in a very large pot on the deck, I have brought it inside for the past several years into our living room that has a catheral ceiling. It just loved the light in there in the winter…..grew a lot last year. We actually had a very difficult time even getting it outside this spring because it was so tall, about 14 – 15 feet. I’ve seen the plants in NC grow bananas as my ex-father in-law had them by his pool, but I believe they were planted in the ground. We were so exited about the beautiful flower that opened up into a bunch of bananas, then another and now another in October. So yes it possible, didn’t do anything special, I suppose the tremendous amount of rain helped them thrive this year, as we have many now…….this large plant was re-potted and separated the babies and then it sprouted more again that are now about 2 feet tall. Banana Trees for sale……anyone?

  8. Does anyone know when to cut them or at what time of year so they will fruit the next year and when to transplant I ‘m thinking November or oct

  9. All these bananas that you’re growing here are bad bananas. Stop growing them. If God wanted bananas, he would have created bananas.

  10. planted a 3 foot banana plant in the spring of 2017. In Nov. 2018 at 10 feet tall two storks fruited, too late to expect anything that year. This year, 2019, I have a 15 foot plant that I noticed was bearing fruit early in Oct.. There are 7 rows of bananas on it now and I am gonna cut the ball to stop more and try to cover with a clear plastic. I don’t expect to harvest them ,I just enjoy the idea of growing them in Charlotte NC .

  11. Banana trees are not “tropical” in nature, per se. They originate in areas of southern China, a region which has a near exact climate to that of the southern US, including North Carolina. Most types of banana trees should be able to grow relatively well in most of the state, aside from the mountains in the west.

    North Americans, particularly Americans, seem to be unique in the world, in that they don’t really understand their climate at all, relative to residents of other regions. The way North Carolinians talk about the climate and the “winter” of North Carolina, you’d think it was Minnesota, or even Manitoba.

    Your state is entirely Humid Subtropical under the Koppen classification and falls under 35 degrees north. You should have no problem growing many types of Banana trees.

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