There are many different kinds, or types, of bananas. Some produce tiny hands of fruit. These have different names but they are generally marketed as baby or finger bananas. You may occasionally see them in the grocery store but, mainly, these are sold in specialty markets.
*I'll tell you a secret: You don't have to pay high prices for baby bananas. You don't even have to send off for a special cultivar if you want to grow them yourself. Any banana cultivar will produce baby bananas if you neglect to feed and water it enough.
Outside of these baby bananas, there are many other types of bananas than the Cavendish variety which is found in every produce department in the U.S. Some of these produce larger fruit than others. If you want big bananas, make sure you plant a variety that makes 8-12 inch long fingers.
Types of bananas to plant if you want big bananas:
Bluefields - also called Gros Michel, Poyat, or Martinique: 7 to 9 inch fingers on a plant 15 to 25 feet tall. 8 to 12 hands per bunch. Susceptible to Panama wilt.
Largo - sometimes called Bluggoe: 7 to 9 inch fingers on an 8 to 10 foot plant. 4 to 7 hands per bunch. The mild pink flesh of this variety is usually cooked.
Orinoco - also known as Horse Burro or Better Select: 8 to 12 inch fingers on a plant 12 to 15 feet in height. 5 to 9 hands per bunch. Good cold tolerance. Usually cooked.
Valery - also called Taiwan or Tall Mons Mari: 7 to 10 inch fingers on a 10 to 15 foot plant. 8 to 10 hands per bunch. Good for fresh eating. Cold tolerant.
Williams - also sold as Giant Cavendish, Giant Chinese or Mons Mari: 7 to 9 inch fingers on a 9 to 12 foot plant. 9 to 12 hands per bunch. Good for fresh eating. Will not flower in cool weather.
Now let's talk about culture.
Feeding program for big bananas
Bananas are very big eaters. They need lots of food and steady water throughout the growing season in order to produce large hands of big fruit.
It is best to use both slow and quick release fertilizers. One of them should be high in potassium which is represented by the K in the N-P-K on the package. In a balanced food, no one element will appear in greater than twice the amount of either of the other two.
For example: 15-30-15 is a balanced formula. 20-20-60 is not. The first formula contains twice as much phosphate as nitrogen but is still balanced. The second contains three times as much potash or potassium as the other two elements. This is what bananas need.
This 10 foot tall banana plant is ready to make a big impact in your garden right now. Real Palm Trees will ship this healthy, mature banana palm to your door (in the U.S) for no extra charge.
You don't need to get hung up on this. It doesn't have to be exact because...
When you feed your banana plant is more important than what you feed it.
The development of the fruit depends largely on how much food and water the plant received at the beginning of the growing season. If, for some reason, you forget to feed and water your bananas before mid summer; go ahead and put them on the same schedule as the rest of your garden.
They might fruit. But you'll get baby bananas that year no matter what you do.
For big bananas you'll have to feed the plants every week. I know that sounds like a lot. It is.
Don't worry about overfeeding them. You can't.
You only need to apply the slow release in the spring and mid summer. Use the quick release for the weekly feedings.
The only other things that your plants need to produce big bananas are light and heat. Make sure they get plenty of sun. Protect them from frost and they'll reward you with many hands of large-fingered fruit.