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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Taking care of the pups

If you have a banana plant for very long, you're gonna have pups! My Pink Velvet Banana (Musa velutina ) has been in the ground for just two months, and has gone from two to 16 leaves and produced two pups!

Bananas naturally form clumps of stems, with the new shoots (pups) coming up around the main stem and quickly growing to rival it in size.

When you purchase a banana plant, it's most likely a pup that has recently been "weaned" from the main plant. Separating pups is a great way to share musas with your gardening friends or start another tropical area in your yard!

The process of separating the pup is a simple, but delicate, procedure. It is best to wait until the pup is at lest 12 inches tall, that way the pup should have started to create roots of its own and have enough separation between the pup and main stem to cut. If possible, gently brush aside any mulch or dirt to expose the rhizome. Then take a sharp knife and cut the rhizome close to the main stem. Keep the separated pup's roots moist and plant it as soon as you can.

Even if you want several banana plants of the same type, I recommend purchasing only one plant. Since bananas have such a fast growth rate you'll soon have all the plants you want!

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