Some would say Ecuador is the banana capital of the world, and that is probably right, but I’m sure Taiwan bananas are just as good. One of the great things about living in Taiwan is you can buy fresh bananas on the street almost everywhere, so if you are a banana connoisseur like myself you will not have worry about bananas going bad (I eat bananas single every day).
Banana prices, along with all fruits and vegetables, are affected by Typhoons. Some of the most famous bananas are from 旗山 Qishan in Kaohsiung. Some of the biggest bananas I have ever seen. At the beginning of 2017, bananas were selling at 4 times the normal price, a ten year high. (They got up to 85 NT per catty, and in 2022 now they are a mere 50 NT per catty! But in 2018 they got down to 20 NT per catty)
香蕉價錢, 以及所有水果和蔬菜, 都受到颱風的影響。一些最有名的香蕉來自高雄旗山區, 其中是我見過的最大的香蕉。
Planting a garden is a major hobby for the older and retired generation in Taiwan. Most don't do it to make money, they just do it for fun and for a healthy lifestyle. I am with them all the way, and that's why my wife thinks I am actually a Taiwanese Abei.
April 2023 Update - Still No Bananas
I can't believe it's been 10 months since the last post. Since then, two banana trees have grown tall (one is taller than me) and the rest are stunted. The tall one still has not produced bananas.
My friend gave me six large pots in exchange for some deodorant, and I bought four 25 liter bags of dirt which were on sale 149 NT per bag at Carrefour.
Most of the banana trees have been stunted in these small pots. Because I cannot move them all to large pots, I decided to cull the small ones and leave the larger ones. I need the smaller pots to grow more vegetables. I also decided to keep all the Papaya trees.
I also had a someone dying pineapple plant. I planted this by cutting off the top of a pineapple, leaving it in water, then after it sprouted roots I moved it into the dirt.
A largish papaya tree and larger banana plant.
In the process of moving the papaya trees, I snapped one of the stems in half, but I put it back together using a toothpick. Hopefully it will survive.
Separating four Papaya trees into big pots.
Now all the plants are in big pots. I have one pineapple plant, five papaya trees, and five banana trees.
The four smaller papaya trees.
The three smaller banana plants that were not culled.
The largest papaya tree. This is all it has to show after nearly a year which I think it pathetic.
Second largest banana tree.
My pride and joy, the largest banana tree which will hopefully start sprouting bananas soon. This one is taller than me. I noticed that the leaves grow and then naturally die and turn into brown dead leaves on the side of the tree. I decided to trim these off, hopefully it is not bad for the tree.
June 2022 - Moving to bigger pots
The time had finally come where I felt like the biggest banana plants were ready for bigger pots. The biggest pots I could find for a good price were 175 NT from RT Mart.
Bags of soil were also cheaper there, 175 NT per bag too. I bought two of each. For 700 NT, you would hope I can get my money's worth for the bananas I will grow. 700 NT can buy a lot of bananas...so I stopped at buying two big pots. The rest of the smaller banana trees will have to live in smaller pots.
The huge pots took a bag of 25 kg dirt each. The large banana plants had grown roots now all around the smaller pots.
Small pot in a big pot for comparison.
The two largest banana plants now moved into the larger pots. These pots should be big enough to grow a tree and get some bananas.
With the two leftover smaller pots I was able to move my papaya tree sprouts in. Hopefully they will be able to grow into tall trees as well.
Current banana and papaya garden.
More photos in the gallery above.
April 2022 - Ten New Banana Sprouts
I can't believe it has been five years since I first started growing bananas back in 2017. The reason I stopped that journal was because my uncle moved to Hsinchu and he took the banana plants with him. Time flies. If things would have proceeded smoothly, I could have had 10 crops of the bananas by now. I thought about growing them, but we lived in an apartment with no balcony and I did not want to rent a plot of land. But now we have our own house on the top floor with two balconies, and the prices of bananas has soared to over 50 NT per catty. It's time to relive the banana farmer dream.
You can't grow bananas from seeds, unless you want to eat bananas that have seeds in them. You have to take a root of a living banana tree to make a new banana sprout. I looked around for places that sold them with no luck. Finally I looked on Shoppee and found the above place that sold them for 17 NT per sprout, which is about the same price as one banana in this overpriced market. I had to buy at least 10 to complete an order, so that is what I did.
Three days later all 10 banana tree sprouts came in a cardboard box. I quickly moved them out and into the open air. The Shoppee store said to wait for a week until I replant them.
Then I went out and bought ten flower pots and about 20 kg of dirt for them. I realize eventually I will have to buy bigger flower pots, but for now we will see how many of them live. I will treat them as my own children and give them every opportunity to grow strong.
Currently I have not given them special fertilizer, just the general fruit tree soil that I guess already has fertilizer in it.
Now that it is not raining and there is sun, hopefully we will have some major photosynthesis going on and these babies will grow big enough to harvest fruit by the end of the year.
May - September 2017 My first Banana Plants
Partly because of this and because I love bananas, I have planted 4 banana sprouts on my in-laws property. I should be able to harvest fruit in a year or two.
2017年初，香蕉的價錢是普通價錢的四倍，十年來最高。 （那時候每斤85元，現在每斤只有12-18元！） 我在我的老婆家人的田裡種了4個香蕉苗, 因為我喜歡吃香蕉! 我應該可以在一兩年內收穫水果。
We started with two banana sprouts in May which started out well, but then one died after the torrential rains in June. The other one barely survived, with the top dying off but sprouting up new leaves from below ground (pictured below).
Saddened by our loss, we decided to plant two more sprouts. After Typhoon Nesat in July, our three strong banana plants survived.
我們的損失感到難過，我們決定種植兩個豆芽。 7月份的颱風奈薩之後，我們的三棵強壯的香蕉植株倖存了下來。我們的損失感到難過，我們決定種植兩個豆芽。 7月份的颱風奈薩之後，我們的三棵強壯的香蕉植株倖存了下來。
With Typhoon season pretty much over in September (right?) I thought for sure it was going to be smooth sailing from now on.
But I did not foresee our precious banana field being knocked down by strong rains again from a typhoon. Our cheap and rotten bamboo scaffolding had fallen down, ruining many beans that my wife's uncle had planted.
But I was happy to see our banana plants were still doing well, and has doubled in size!
I was also happy to see that our pineapple plant had survived and was doing well, along with a forest of papaya plant sprouts which I had spread all over after drying them from a store-bought papaya. I had no faith that they would actually sprout.
With 3 strong banana sprouts growing along with pineapple and papaya plants, I have faith that I will be harvesting bananas and other tropical fruit for my personal consumption soon.
I go now every two weeks to put my kitchen food waste (such as egg shells and banana peels) on them. I know that Taipei city gives free kitchen waste to every citizen (a few kilos per month or something), but my kitchen waste is already more than enough and to spare for my small garden.
Igoogled online and apparently banana plants need potassium, nitrogen, and calcium to do well, so every two weeks I make sure they get some of each, and I make sure to stir my kitchen waste into the soil. Other than that I will give no further scientific commentary on their nutritional needs. This is a tropical island with tons of rain so my expectation is that I can pretty much sit back and watch them grow beautiful and delicious fruits for me.
If you have a garden in Taiwan too, share your thoughts! If not, plant a garden and save the earth! Stay tuned for updates! In the mean time, like and share!
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.