Fruit Science

Banana Cultivation

Other Name – Adam’s Fig, Tree of Wisdom, Tree of Paradise, Kalpataru, Apple of Paradise, A plant of Virtues.

B.N. Musa paradisiaca

Family Musaceae     

Chromosome No 2n = 22,33,44

Origin – South East Asia (Burma- Indo China region)

  • Inflorescence type – Spadix.
  • Fruit type – Berry.
  • Pollination – Birds (Ornithophilous)
  • Edible part of Banana – Starchy Parenchyma (Mesocarp & Endocarp).
  • The aroma in Banana-
      • Green —– Hexanol
      • Ripe —–    Eugenol
      • Overripe —-Isopentanol
  • Flower bud differentiation – September – April.
  • Protogyny is found in banana.
  • Banana is climacteric fruit.
  • Vegetative parthenocarpy found in Banana
  • Most of the banana cultivars are triploid in nature.
  • The genetic classification is given by Simmond and Shephard.
  • Hybridization work- Central Banana Research Station, Adhuthurai (TN).
  • Banana improvement work started in 1949 in TN.
  • Banana Republic – Banana republic describes politically unstable countries with an economy that depends on the export of bananas.
  • Banana is a calcifuge crop with a calorific value of 67-137/100 grams.
  • Ripe bananas contain 27% sugar.
  • In the Monthan variety of banana, only glucose sugar is found
  • Musa acuminata is the source of today’s edible bananas.
  • Banana is a rich source of dietary potassium (K) which is used in nerve impulses and is a good source of energy.
  • India’s share in the world’s production of bananas is 6%.
  • Maximum area – Tamil Nadu, maximum production – Maharashtra.
  • India is the largest producer of bananas (23% of world production).
  • In Tamil Nadu, banana is grown especially for leaf production.
  • Banana is the staple food of South Africa.
  • Varieties are grown in large areas in India – Poovan, Mothan Karpuravalli.
  • Gross Michel variety of banana is highly susceptible to Panama wilt while Basarai is immune and Poovan is resistant to this disease.
  • Fingertip disease is severe in high-density planting.
  • The bunchy top is also called the Cabbage top
  • The bunchy top of a banana was first seen in Fiji in 1891
  • The banana male flower is resistant to Panama wilt disease but susceptible to bunchy top disease
  • All AAA clones are susceptible to the Sigatoka leaf spot.
  • ELISA test is done to check the virus in banana crops.
  • A tetrazolium test is done to detect the Bunchy top virus.
  • Sigatoka leaf spot disease was first observed in 1913.
  • Cut pieces of rhizome called ‘bits’ or ‘peepers’ are also used for propagation.
  • The weight of sword suckers should be 750 grams.
  • In Gujarat and Maharashtra: Planting is done by the furrow method and in Tamil Nadu by the trench method.
  • Suitable clone for irrigated areas-AAB, AAA.
  • Clones suitable for rainfed areas – ABB (Monthan, Kanthali, Kunnan).
  • The trench method is specially adopted in wetland systems of cultivation.
  • A minimum of 10-12 leaves are required on the plant to get maximum yield.
  • Banana is a moisture-loving plant.
  • Strong wind is injurious to the successful production of banana.
  • Seedlessness in banana is controlled by 2,4 -D @ 25
  • Salt water treatment reduces the shelf life of banana fruits.
  • The chemical calcium carbide is used for artificial ripening.
  • To increase the bunch weight, spray KH2PO4 at the stage of fruit development.
  • For long-distance transportation, harvesting is done at 75-80%
  • Skin coating with Waxol (12% wax emulsion) is helpful for delayed ripening of banana.


  1. Dwarf Cavendish (AAA):-
  • Basrai – Leading commercial variety contributing 58% to the total production.
  • Ganadevi selection (Hanuman or Pardase) from Basrai.
  1. Robusta (AAA):-
  • Bombay Green
  • Harichal – Dwarf Cavendish’s Medium Long Spot. Susceptible to Sigatoka leaf spot, resistant to Panama wilt.
  1. Grand Naine (AAA): – Tall mutant of dwarf cavendish. It requires propping.
  2. Poovan (AAB):
  • Rasthali, Amritpani, Mortman – susceptible to fruit cracking, suitable for table banana. Tolerant to biotic and abiotic stresses.
  1. Poovan Mysore (AAB) – Young fruit has pink pigmentation on the ventral side of the midrib.
  2. Nandran (AAB) French plantain, Rajeli- popular cooking variety in Kerala. Good for chips making.
  3. Hill Banana (AAB): – Virupakshi, Sirumalai, Laden- suitable for jam making, growing in hilly areas and fruit having unique aroma and flavour.
  4. Lal Velchi (AAA): – fruits have red skin.
  5. Monthan (ABB): – suitable for culinary purposes.
  6. Nay Poovan (AB): – Safed Velchi- diploid variety, Horizontal bunch orientation, it fetches double price than other cultivars.
  7. Pey Kunnan (ABB) Karpuravalli, Kanthali- suitable for infant (baby) food, Juice, and wine, popular in marginal soils.
  8. Lady finger (AB): – Diploid variety
  9. Amritsagar
  10. Dudhsagar
  11. Chakia
  12. Monohar


  • FHIA-1 Gold Finger (AAAB) – belong to pome group. Resistant to wilt and sigatoka leaf spot.
  • Bodles Altafort (AAAA) – Synthetic hybrid, Gross Michel (AAA) X Pisanglin (AA).
  • Klue Teparod (AABB) – Natural tetraploid.
  • CO-1 : – Kellar Laden X M. balbasiana X Kadali.
  • Poovan & Ney Poovan are preferred in multistory systems.


  • The tropical, hot, and humid climate
  • It can grow from 10 to 40°C temperature and the Optimum temperature is 28°C.
  • It is damaged by frost (except in Valha, Monthan Khasdia).


  • Deep, well-drained friable loam soil with sufficient organic matter.
  • The crop can be taken in light, alkaline soil, it is less prone to wilt disease.


Usually propagated by vegetative means – by suckers, rhizomes, and peepers.

Suckers – these are also of two types

  • Sword Suckers: – Having narrow, slender leaf blades up to a certain height, later the outline of the lamina becomes increasingly broad. Sword suckers are vigorous, producing large, heavy bunch in 11 months.
  • Water Suckers:- Water Suckers produce broad leaves at the initial stage and take 15 months to produce a bunch.


Selection of planting material

  • Suckers should be vigorous, 80-120 cm in height, and 1-2 kg in weight.
  • Suckers should have narrow sword-like leaves.
  • Suckers should have a thick base and taper towards the top.
  • Suckers should be free from any diseases and pests.

Method and time of planting

  • Pits are dug 60cm3.
  • The pits are filled with a mixture of topsoil and FYM or compost (50:50).
  • In areas with heavy and continuous rainfall, planting of bananas should be done after monsoon i.e. in September-October.
  • In areas that do not receive heavy rainfall, planting should be done in June-July (onset of the southwest monsoon).
  • Planting is done in April in hilly areas.

Distance of planting

Dwarf varieties – 1.2 X 1.2 m (R X P)

                          1.8 X 1.8 m

                           2.0 X 2.0 m

Tall & Semi Tall – 2.4 X 1.8 m

                           2.4 X 2.4 m

                           2.7 X 3.0 m

                           2.5 X 2.5 m

Manure and Fertilizers: –

  • Fertilizers are applied by six months after planting to induce quick growth and produce more leaves with large areas.
  • NPK 180: 90: 180 gm/plant and FYM 10 -15 kg/plant.


  • Banana is a moisture-loving plant, in other words, the water requirement for banana crop is very high.
  • If there is no rain, irrigation is done immediately after planting.
  • Banana requires irrigation throughout the year except during heavy rainfall.
  • Drip irrigation can reduce water content and increase yield and reduce the number of days to harvest and increase leaf production.


  • To control weeds, do shallow hoeing at the initial stage.
  • After planting and 30 days after planting, the application of Diuron 4 kg/ha and Simazine 6 kg/ha controls grassy and broad-leaved weeds.


  • The removal of suckers from the banana plant is known as desuckering.
  • Typically, two suckers are left for pre-planting while the others are removed from ground level.
  • Desuckering can also be done without removing the suckers, kerosene is poured inside the suckers and they die.


This is a method by which banana plants are supported with the help of bamboo poles (the upper end is made like a fork) and they are protected from bending or falling due to the weight of the heavy bunch and any damage caused by strong wind.


It is covering the bunches with polythene or jute cloth which protects the fruits from intense heat (sunburn), hot wind, etc. and improves the color of the fruits.


The removal of the male bud after the completion of the female stage is called denavelling. It inhibits the rate of photosynthesis in unwanted sinks and promotes fruit development.


After harvesting the fruits, the pseudostem should be cut leaving a stump of about 0.6 m in height. This practice is called mattocking.

Earthing up

It will protect the plants from water logging during the rainy season and at the same time it will also provide support to the base of the plants.


Mulching reduces the cost of cultivation by reducing the number of irrigations. Mulching should be done with banana or sugarcane trash..

Flowering and Fruiting

  • In banana plants, inflorescence emerges after 9-12 months of planting and fruits are ready for harvesting after 3-4 months.
  • Male flowers are usually found at the end of the inflorescence.
  • Two types of stimuli act in the formation of inflorescence, one for the initiation of flower parts and the other for the extension of the flower pedicel. Substances such as gibberellins act on the growth and elongation of the main stem and anthesin acts as flowering hormones to produce flowers, this is known as the ‘dual factor hypothesis’ of flowering in banana.


  • The fruits are harvested when they are green and fully ripe.
  • The fruits are harvested when the upper leaves start drying up.
  • The color of the fruit changes from dark green to light green.
  • Falling off of florets of fruits from the slightest hardness of the hand.
  • The angles or ridges of the fruit become less prominent or they become rounded.


  • Dwarf varieties – 300-400 q /ha
  • Tall varieties – 150-200 q / ha

Ripening of Banana fruits

Banana bunches are stored in dry and clean air-tight rooms and covered with leaves. Fruits get ready in 4 days. Also, the ripening time can be halved by smoking in the room. Smoke can be produced from straw, leaves, and cow dung in one corner of the room. After that, the bunches are kept in a well-ventilated room for the development of colour.

2,4-D @ 1000ppm dip for 10 seconds is also used for ripening bananas.

Insect Pest

  1. Stem Borer (Odioiporus logicollis)
  • Stem borer bores into the pseudostem, leaves turn yellow, wither, and finally die.


  • Follow clean farming practices.
  • Spray 0.04% endosulfan or 0.1% carbaryl.
  1. Rootstock Weevil (Cosmopolites sordidus)
  • The grub bores into the rhizomes.


  • Remove and destroy the affected rhizomes.
  • Spray 0.03% Phosphamidone or 0.05% Fenitrothion carefully around the base of affected as well as healthy plants.
  1. Banana Aphid (Pentalonia nigronervosa)
  • Nymphs and adults suck the sap from young and tender leaves. Aphids transmit the virus that causes bunchy top disease which is very dangerous.


  • Spray 0.03% rogar 30EC (Dimethoate) or phosphamidom or monocrotophos.


  1. Panama Wilt (Fusarium oxysporum F. cubense)
  • The disease was first recorded in Panama in the early 1900s.
  • Soil-borne fungus, serious in banana planting year after year in poorly drained soil
  • The leaves of affected plants turn yellow and later droop around the pseudostem.


  • Uproot and destroy all affected plants.
  • Use only disease-free suckers and rhizomes for planting.
  • Bavistin (Carbendazim) 1 gram per litre.
  • Use disease-resistant varieties like Basrai Dwarf, Poovan Champa, and Raja Vazhai.
  1. Bunchy Top (Bunchy Top virus, Banana Virus-I, Musa Virus-I)
  • First reported in Fiji in 1891.
  • The plant remains unproductive. Infected suckers carry the disease to healthy plants.
  • Dwarf varieties of banana are more susceptible to this disease.
  • Vector – Banana Aphid
  • A bunch of small and narrow leaves appear together at the top of the pseudostem of the infected plant, hence the disease is known as Bunchy Top.
  • In advanced stages of infection, the edges of the leaves become wavy and roll upwards.
  • There is a drastic reduction in the size of the leaves resulting in stunted growth of the whole plant.
  • Dark green streaks are sometimes seen on the leaves, sometimes in spots, in contrast to the lighter color along the midrib or secondary veins.


  • Remove all affected plants with complete rhizomes.
  • Control banana aphids by spraying 0.3% Rogor.
  • Always get virus-free suckers from a trusted source.
  1. Sigatoka Leaf Spot (Mycosphaerella musicola)
  • The disease caused an epidemic in Fiji’s Sigatoka Valley in 1913.
  • It is a fungal disease. Bunch and fruit size are reduced due to a reduction in leaf area available for photosynthesis.
  • Fruits may ripen prematurely.
  • High humidity, close planting, excessive weed or grass cover, and failure to remove suckers favor disease spread.


  • There should be provision for drainage.
  • Remove suckers regularly.
  • Remove and destroy infested leaves.
  • Spray Bordeaux mixture + 2% linseed oil.
  • Spray Dithane-M45 0.2%


  1. Choke Throat of Banana
  • Low temperature causes yellowing of the leaves and in severe condition leaves die.
  • In normal conditions, bunches emerge from the pseudostem, but when the temperature is low, it does not come out properly from the pseudostem.
  • The maturity time of the bunch is increased to 5-6 months instead of 3.5-4 months.
  • This reaction is called choke throat at low temperatures.


  • Use of low-temperature tolerant varieties.
  • Use Eucalyptus as a shelter belt to block the effect of cold wind.
  1. Kottai Vazhai
  • In Poovan varieties of banana, the disease is severe and the yield is reduced by 10-25%.
  • Presence of pungent, thin, and poorly filled fruits with a seedy structure in the central core. Due to this, the fruits are not fit to eat.


  • Spray 20 ppm (1 gram in 50 liters of water) 2,4-D.
  1. Peel splitting
  • Longitudinal splitting of the rind, usually starting at the proximal end near the petiole.
  • The split usually divides the peel into unequal halves and ultimately exposes the pulp as the split widens.


  • Harvest the physically mature green bunches
  • Cut the bunch into clusters
  • Ripen the fruits by exposure to ethylene (1 ml/l) for 24-48 hours at a temperature of 14-18 °C and a relative humidity of 90-95%.
  • Store in a ventilated room and allow the fruit to remain at a temperature of 18°c.
  1. Chilling Injury
  • It is a physiological disorder that occurs in most fruits of tropical origin at temperatures below freezing.
  • surface lesions such as pits, large sunken areas, and discoloration of the surface
  • Water-soaked spots are formed in the peel.
  • Internal discoloration (browning) of the pulp.
  • abnormal ripening of fruits
  • When freezing is severe, fruits develop extensive sub-epidermal browning and eventually turn black.
  • The characteristic aroma and flavour do not develop and are often left tasteless.


  • Chilling injury can be easily avoided by simply limiting storage or handling at temperatures above the threshold.
  • Avoid refrigeration below 13°C (55°F).
  1. Neer vazhai
  • This disorder has recently been observed in ‘Nendran’ bananas grown in the Tiruchirappalli district of Tamil Nadu.
  • A very small percentage of plants are affected and suckers from affected clumps spread the disorder.
  • It is characterized by fruitless bunches and may not be detected until the bunches emerge and no other symptoms appear.
  • The clusters have 4–5 hands and contain only neutral flowers, with only persistent male flowers in the remaining nodal clusters.
  • The disease may be caused by an imbalance of hormones or hormones affecting the development of the female flower.


  • No remedial measure