Banana & Banana Peels

Banana Peels: Part 1.

It may sound odd to some, but Banana peels are being used successfully in gardening for hundreds of years. This is not widely known because the "users" do not talk about it.

People suffering from Potassium (K) deficiency know quite well that Bananas are the best source of Potassium and they do eat a Banana a day (Doctors orders). Bananas off course are rich not only in Potassium but contain Phosphorus, both important macro-nutrients. That makes Banana peels desirable additives in any Potting mix.

When used in a garden, banana peels are chopped into small pieces and mix with the soil (the banana pieces should not be exposed). However, orchid growers cannot use "fresh" banana pieces by adding them into the potting mix, that may create unwanted problems

I am told, because I never used Banana peels myself, that the banana peels are dried, grinded to a coarse grained "material", like coarse sugar, and then added into the potting mix. Dry Banana peels are very hard and therefore difficult to break into small pieces or use as is.

Banana Peels: Part 2.

We know Ethylene serves as a "hormone" in plants. We know that plants produce ethylene and we also know that traces of ethylene assist plants in various ways from ripening of fruit to flowering. In 1934, Gane reported that plants synthesize ethylene and in 1935, Crocker proposed that ethylene was the plant hormone responsible for fruit ripening as well as senescence of vegetative tissues.

To cut the story short, Ethylene produced by "Banana Peels" has been used successfully to induce flowering in numerous terrestrial orchids. I should point out here that any fruit can be used, for example: Apples are used to ripe Bananas.

The "Banana Treatment" works because there are so many satisfied orchid growers. Visible success has been observed in certain species of Leptoceras, Caladenia, Pterygodium and Thelymitra. Taking into account that only "mature" tubers ("ripe" tubers if you prefer) flower, I assume that Ethylene "matures" tubers and induce them to flower.

Banana Pulp. Part 3.

As "Sowing" medium.

Banana pulp, prepared using ripe bananas and rain water mixed in a blender, is a fine and even pulp and excellent germination enhancer for numerous genera. It is well known that ripe bananas vary in their acidity and therefore it is necessary to check pH before use and adjust if needed. Banana pulp is suitable for germinating almost every genus except Slippers and Phrags.