How do you feed a rose a banana?

rjingaJuly 25, 2007

I had read on someones post here that roses love bananas...my local grocery store was pitching the extra ripe ones so I picked up several bunches....I'll probably first try to make some banana bread :) but I'll have a bunch of peels and probably some bananas left over....

Is there anyone out there with this knowledge? (I'd also be interested in knowing the frequency of feeding my roses bananas in case I want to do it again.

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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

At dusk, peel the banana and place it horizontally at the mulch surface against a rose cane, impaling it on a couple of thorns. Overnight the rose will absorb the banana completely. It's amazing!

Just kidding.

Banana peels and bananas have basically the same stuff in them as other fruits, veggies, and kitchen waste. I just put them on the compost. The idea that bananas are a super-special source of potassium was a scam by the Banana Institute 30 years ago. Potatoes, celery, cucumbers, etc have similar levels.

Wish I had some of that banana bread. Mmm.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 1:59PM
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bettym_grow

When you make the planting hole, and add compost/soil in the bottom w/ the bone meal, you take your old banana peal and throw it in there, then get your root ball in there and plant.
It's that easy! I planted 10 roses this way (we have lots of banana eaters at my house) so saving them was easy!

All the roses have done great except one that reverted into a banana tree! Just kidding.

Betty

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 2:13PM
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mike_rivers(z5 MI)

For what it's worth: The usual reason given for feeding roses bananas is the potassium and because they're organic. The average banana, peel and all, contains 500 mg of potassium. You can buy 5 pounds of Espoma brand potash (potassium sulfate) for less than 6 bucks. This stuff is a natural mineral, certified for organic farming, and 5 pounds of it contains the same amount of potassium as 2,500 bananas, peel and all.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 2:25PM
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karl_bapst_rosenut(5a, NW Indiana)

Toss the peels and whole bananas into a blender. Add a little water to make a slurry. Pour some of the resulting mixture around your bushes and water it in. I believe this would be the easiest way to utilize them in the garden.
Any organic will be beneficial to the soil.
Watering it in should eliminate an infestation of fruit flies.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 3:00PM
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jon_in_wessex(z8/9 UK)

I used to consider this just an example of 'sympathetic magic', but, in fact, recent research in (I think) Jamaica, proves that when bananas break down in the soil they exude an alcohol (limbocyanin) that acts as a plant growth stimulant, engorging the capillaries and thereby enhancing both the length and girth of new basal canes. It also has the added side-effect of completely curing weak necks in Tea Roses.

Simply adding the peel to the planting hole conditions the soil and helps the worms to relax - which all environmentally-conscious gardeners will applaud.

I'm surprised The Two Michaels haven't heard of this breakthrough.

Best wishes
Jon

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 3:08PM
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roseman(Z 8A GA)

Peel them, eat or bake with the fruit part, and throw the peels on the ground around the bush. Banana peels are a source of potassium, but you would be much better off to get some powdered potassium and sprinkle about a half cup around the drip line of the plant in the fall, then bother with the peels now wherein they can draw flies, etc. Potassium is not a fertilizer as such, but rather promotes feeder root growth underground over the winter months when there is nothing else going on.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 3:42PM
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windeaux

There's a grocery in an adjoinging town that often sells (practically gives away) bags of past-their-prime bananas. I grab them every chance I get to dig them into the garden year around. I cut the bananas in quarters (the first cut being lengthwise), make holes with a trowel around the plant (not only roses), drop the banana piece in & cover it. I think they break down relatively fast -- at any rate, I've never uncovered signs of one after 'planting' it. I'm convinced that it's a beneficial thing to do. Seems to me that my population of earthworms increased after I started doing this routinely.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 3:47PM
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diane_nj 6b/7a

Now, I put a half of a banana in each of the pots of the new bareroots I received this year. One didn't make it, but the rest are doing beautifully and one even sprouted a basal in its first season. I'll do it again with the new ones next year, and I may try the methond that windeaux describes on the old guard to see what happens.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 4:00PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Jon, then it sounds like the banana should be planted in a firmly upright position next to the rose. Also my suggestion about impaling the banana would be all wrong.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 4:02PM
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Lisa_H(7)

I usually dig a shallow trench in the root zone and lay in the whole banana and cover it back up.

I have a relative who told me she always just buried the peels, but accidentally found a better way. During her hip replacement convalescence, apparently the banana peel bucket never got emptied. When she was up and about again, she found it had completely turned to liquid. She poured the goo around the base of her roses and she swore it made her roses sit up and take notice :) Anyway, she highly recommended both methods!

Lisa

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 4:22PM
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karl_bapst_rosenut(5a, NW Indiana)

"when bananas break down in the soil they exude an alcohol (limbocyanin) that acts as a plant growth stimulant, engorging the capillaries and thereby enhancing both the length and girth of new basal canes. It also has the added side-effect of completely curing weak necks in Tea Roses."
Sounds like this would make a great Erectile Disfunction drug.

On another note, powdered potassium is fine but adds nothing organic to the soil to help worm or soil organism activity. If obtained free, bananas would be considerable less expensive.
Banana peels tossed on the surface will dry up into a hard insoluble thing and take a long time to disintigrate. If dug into the soil they will breakdown quickly.
IMHO, having a choice, I think adding organics (bananas) would be the better choice.
Besides new basal canes would stand up tall and erect with no weak necks.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 4:32PM
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Susan Serra

I always toss the peels near the center of the bush...I usually split the peel by hand into threes and some lucky roses get the peels. It's random for me.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 5:12PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

What is the dry weight of a banana? Two ounces? Then two ounces of bark mulch or two ounces of dry grass clippings add about the same amount of organic matter as a banana.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 5:17PM
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bellarose(9)

I make banana smoothies for the roses along the lines of what Karl said. Super easy.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 6:14PM
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roseleaf(7SE)

What Karl and Jon said about the organic value of banana, much more benefit for soil organisms than the potassium itÂs known for. Because they disintegrate in the soil so quickly, the roses just seem to perk up overnight like magic.

I always draw more wildlife to the garden even with buried bananas so I donÂt do it any more. The liquefied option is one that woks here.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 6:22PM
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pete41(9ab FL.)

and don't forget the coffee.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 6:33PM
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rjinga

thanks for all the clever responses and great ideas...and Pete, I was thinking exactly that...I can make my roses a coffee banana smoothy/frapachino? (might be a new flavor for starbucks!!!)....what a better breakfast than coffee and banana....

I"m going to experiment with some tomatoes that I planted recently for a fall harvest....let's see how they like the coffee/banana smoothy too.

this is a fun site :) thanks again

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 6:43PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

Just a note, butterflies love overripe to rotten bananas. So you could put those out too for the butterflies.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 8:52PM
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mike_rivers(z5 MI)

I just don't know when to shut up on this, but concerning the value of bananas as organic compost to improve the soil: Cellulose is the carbohydrate in plant material that endures in the soil and improves soil structure. Cellulose makes up only about 1% of the weight of a banana. The most abundant carbohydrate in a banana is sugar. In fact, a banana is roughly 90% sugar and water. Sugar does not persist in the soil and, to my knowledge, sugar will do nothing to improve soil structure. Sugar will feed butterflies, it will also feed soil microorganisms - that could be a good thing.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 9:45PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

I don't know how to shut up either, Mike :)

Transporting fruit 3000 miles and grinding it up with electricity in order to put it on the dirt seems to me about the most un-"organic" and environmentally bad gardening practice I can think of. Again, there is absolutely nothing special about the nutrient content of bananas. It's the same as other kitchen waste. Garbage is good for the garden, but I prefer to put it on the compost and do without the ritual practices.

Mike, isn't it the case that sugar causes temporary withdrawal of nitrogen from the soil? I'm pretty sure that potato peels and cucumber peels would contribute more OM and more potassium than bananas.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 2:01PM
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bettym_grow

But Michaelg it is fun to pitch the banana peel in the rose hole, or around it or on top of it! I got such a kick from throwing those black peels during planting time!

As far as being the most un-"organic" and environmentally bad gardening practice that you can think of I don't understand your reasoning. I guess if you consider grinding things up in your blender w/ electricity too much of a waste then you should try one of my margaritas, that will change your mind:)

Also, why is it environmentally bad? I think by planting it we are preventing the next "wasteful" step of having the garbage man pick up that banana peel, convey it miles away using a shameless amount of gasoline, while polluting the environment with foul fumes, and then processing that banana peel at the dump. BTW, my neighborhood associated prohibits composting.

Come on, is it really the most un-organinc and evironmentally bad gardening practice you can think of?
Do you not use a lawn mower? do you not drive a car? do you not get on planes? Do you not use electricity in your house?
I just don't understand such extreme thinking about a banana peel! LOL! If anything, the other way is indeed friendlier to the environment.

Betty

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 2:27PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

No, if people enjoy planting bananas, they should keep on planting bananas, by all means. I just don't think people should tell others to do it or feel they are being organically virtuous if they buy bananas for gardening purposes. Of course it's not a big deal if people waste a few bananas.

I don't put my kitchen waste in the trash or down the disposer, but on the compost pile.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 2:38PM
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bettym_grow

I'd love to have a compost heap. My neighborhood assoc. can be a pain. I've thought about secretly constructing one but it will be too much work, especially if I get caught. I have the "black gold" delivered to me from the land fill.

Are you serious that people buy bananas specifically for fertilization purposes? If that is the case than I agree 100% with you! That is truly wasting food.

Betty

I thought we were talking about the occasional banana peel here or there.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 2:57PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Some of those HOA rules are just nuts. I could see a rule against compost with noxious odors from using animal parts, but what on earth could be the objection to normal composting? There must be some correlation between being active in the HOA and being a control freak.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 3:08PM
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bettym_grow

Major control freaks. I once was airing out my pop-up camper. It had been in my driveway for only 1 day, when that evening an HOA representative, came over to complain about how unsightly it looked. It was a shiny clean, relatively new pop-up.

Wind chimes are a no-no in my neighborhood also. I agree to this rule to an extent since some of those high pitch ones can be obnoxious. The strange part is that there is plenty of room between houses so the sound doesn't carry over to anyone else's house.

Busy bodies I call them, lol!

Betty

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 3:26PM
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pete41(9ab FL.)

Speaking of noxious-I kayaked past Sea-bird island this morning.Man does that stink.Anyone want to go back to guano days.
Funny thing is they are building Multi-million dollar condos on the one next to it.Bet your tax dollars will pay to clean that up.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 3:29PM
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bettym_grow

A little too much wildlife maybe? Of the avian kind? or something more sinister?

Betty

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 3:35PM
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pete41(9ab FL.)

They roost there and fly out every morning.You can drive over a nearby bridge and see thousands and thousands of sea birds.They fertilize but its killed off the foliage.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 3:41PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Shorebirds often nest and sleep in huge colonies on rookery islands to get away from predators. Naturally there's a great deal of fish-fed bird poop.

Down in the southwestern Florida mangrove wilderness, I used to see islands covered with ibis, spoonbill, pelicans, and even man o' war birds. Really a grand sight at sunrise or sunset with great lines and drifts of big birds leaving for the office or coming home.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 3:46PM
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triple_b(BC 5b)

Our housing doesn't have a compost heap either, and I believe it is for aesthetic purposes. Yah whatever. We have a community plot but can't have a compost heap. They keep things neat and tidy here and that is a plus but there is a limit. And those black plastic things or whatever similar man made unit just don't work that great.
I had to trench compost my kitchen waste in my plot. Dig a trench, put in the smelly ripe kitchen waste and bury it. Tamp 'er down good. Now that the tomatoes have taken over I can't move in there anymore and so cannot dig anymore trenches :o)
I have a container on the counter just for coffee grounds and banana peels. The peels get cut width-wise into ribbons and mixed in with the coffee grounds. Shaken, not stirred. When the bucket is full the roses get a little snack.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 9:06PM
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rosybunny

This is the funnest post ever :-D

I don't mean to work up Michael and Mike, but seriously, has anyone found banana/banana peel effective in correcting weak necks on roses? Does that mean ALL the Austins can have straight stems for cutting now???

    Bookmark   September 16, 2014 at 12:50AM
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