A gardener from Stockport, near Manchester, has grown ripe bananas in her back yard. Kate Burke, 53, said she couldn’t believe her eyes when the 10-year- old tree began flowering and then producing fruit earlier this summer.
Growing Bananas in the UK
The fruits are about 5cm long - much smaller than they would be in their native countries like the Caribbean, where temperatures average 27°C – considerably warmer than the 9.4°C average in Manchester.
Kate has been growing tropical plants in her garden for 23 years and grows palm trees, exotic flowers and cacti. She puts her success down to wrapping up the trees in duvets over winter, as well as providing the plants with lots of water and fertiliser. Unfortunately, the bananas weren’t quite as tasty as they looked: after sampling one of her fruits, Kate said it was like ‘eating cardboard’.
UK Banana Plants
Getting banana plants to flower and fruit in the UK is becoming increasingly common as summers heat up and winters become milder, especially early-maturing varieties like ‘Dwarf Cavendish’, ‘Orinoco’ and ‘Rajapuri’. Bananas need a constant temperature above 15°C for between nine and 15 months to fruit, plus a further two to four months for the fruit to ripen – though it’s unlikely they’ll be edible.