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Bananas Bloom Outdoors in Wales

2 October 2007
Bananas in Wales normally have to be shielded in winter

 The Welsh banana trees are normally kept
under wraps in winter

Image courtesy Clare Llewellyn

Plant experts at the National Botanic Garden of Wales are claiming a first for the Garden, the county and, they believe, west Wales.

Horticulturists are celebrating after three of their banana plants flowered and fruited – a very rare occurrence for a banana plant grown outdoors.

Martin Knowles, a horticulturist at the Carmarthenshire visitor attraction, said: “Plenty of people have had success getting bananas to flower and fruit indoors but it is very rare to manage such a feat with a plant grown outside.”

He thinks it might have a lot to do with the very heavy rain we have “enjoyed” this summer: “Just maybe the conditions in June and July mimicked more closely than usual the sort of climate bananas are used to and that may have helped.

“It would be nice to think that west Wales could become the new West Indies – but, I for one, think it is highly unlikely. In fact, we’re rather hoping this year’s poor summer is really a once-in-a-lifetime blip and we’ll get back to hot and dry next year.”

The species flowering in the Double-Walled Garden are Musa basjoo. It is an ornamental banana and, if the fruit ripen, they tend to be full of seed with little flesh. The edible species of bananas found in the shops is the Cavendish banana.

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