David Salsbury with his Musa Basjoo banana tree
David Salsbury with his Musa Basjoo banana tree

A Lichfield man is enjoying the fruits of his labour after successfully growing a banana tree in his city garden.

Civil servant David Salsbury has been growing his Musa Basjoo – also known as the Japanese banana – for the past five years.

But this summer the 54-year-old has finally seen the fruit appear.

He told Lichfield Live:

“The bananas are smaller than the ones you would buy in the supermarket, but they are not edible as they just contain seeds.

“My plan is now to also keep dividing the plant to produce many more and bring an even more tropical look to my garden.”

David Salsbury

David said he began trying to grow the banana variety, which is native to subtropical China, in his garden due to it receiving sun for most of the day.

But he said it had taken research to get the plant to bear fruit in Lichfield.

“In previous years at wintertime, I wrapped the whole bottom of the plant with straw and fleece and cut off all the leaves.

“However, after reading a tip from someone who grew the same plants in their garden in Oxford, last winter I left the leaves to their own devices.

“It is said that the key to flower and fruit is lots of continuous sunshine, but having done some research I would say the vital element is fertiliser and lots and lots of it. Also, constant watering but with rainwater out of water butts and not tap water.

“The trunk that produced the flower and fruit this year was the original main stem of the plant which I put in five years ago. This part actually rotted away down to the bottom couple of metres and almost didn’t survive the winter, so it is as if it is trying to start off a new cycle.

“Apparently, after fruiting this main stem will die – but because the banana counters this by growing new ‘pups’ you never lose the whole plant altogether and you can divide the plant and produce multiple new banana trees.”

David Salsbury
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