EVALUATION OF COMMERCIAL BANANA CULTIVARS IN SOUTHERN GEORGIA FOR ORNAMENTAL AND NURSERY PRODUCTION

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  • 1 1Depts. of Horticulture and Ag & Applied Economics, POB 1209, Tifton, Ga. 31793
  • | 2 2Depts. of Horticulture and Ag & Applied Economics, POB 1209, Tifton, Ga. 31793
  • | 3 3Dept. of Horticulture, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602
  • | 4 4Dept. of Chemistry and Physics, Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, GA 31419
  • | 5 5UGA Chatham County Extension Service, Savannah, GA 31419
  • | 6 6Computer and Statisical Services, University of Georgia, Tifton, GA 31793

Bananas are a popular ornamental plant in the southern U.S. However, normally only a few cultivars, such as `Lady Finger' and `Orinoco', are grown in Georgia. Thirty-three primarily commercial cultivars of bananas were grown for two years near Savannah, Georgia to determine their suitability for ornamental and nursery production. Most plants were grown from tissue culture plugs. They where given rates of fertilization used for commercial banana fruit production. Most cultivars produced 10 to 14 leaves and grew to heights of 1.5 to 2.0 m. Some displayed desirable ornamental characteristics such as pink tinted pseudostems, colorful flowers, and large graceful leaves. Many of the cultivars flowered and began producing fruit in late summer, although only `1780', `Raja Puri' and `Sweetheart' produced palatable fruit before frost in November in some years. Cultivars were also rated for their ability to produce suckers that can be used for nursery production. In year two, `1780' and `Manzano' produced the largest number of high quality suckers for nursery production. For the planting as a whole, sales of suckers at a field day averaged $7/per plant in year 2 and $17/per plant in year 3.

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