Threaten Your Tree and It Will Bear Fruit

Debbie Centeno
Purple cone- image by the author

I Talk to My Plants

While some articles claim that talking to plants makes them grow, there is no scientific evidence to prove it. It does not matter anyway, there are plenty of people who do it — myself included. Other than to seem crazy to some people, there’s nothing wrong with telling a plant how beautiful it is, or how tall, or asking it why it looks sad. In some weird way, I think they do hear us. Here’s my take on this topic.

A Great Find

Back in 2012, my husband and I found a couple of plantains/banana (not sure which is it) trees with great roots on the side of the road. Since I enjoy gardening, we stopped to pick them up and took them home with us. I planted one in our backyard and gave the other one away. I cared for it just as I cared for all my other plants — watering, fertilizing, removing its dead leaves, and of course, talking to it. However, it never grew past 1.5 to 2 ft.

My Desired Location

Eight years later (2020), a friend gifted me a papaya tree in a plastic cup. The papaya tree was about 4 inches tall — not ready to be transferred to the ground. As I chatted with my friend, he asked me where I was going to place it on my patio. I looked around and told him, “Since that plantain/banana tree has not grown more than what it is now, I will dig it out, pot it, and plant the papaya tree in there,” I told him. The topic was closed, and we moved on to another topic.
My plantain/banana tree -- image by the author

Time to Transfer the Papaya Tree to the Ground

About a month after, when the papaya tree was about one foot tall and ready for its transfer to the ground, I prepared myself to start gardening. When I glanced over at the plantain/banana tree, what I saw shocked me. The tree was about 5 feet tall! I could not believe that in such a short time that the tree grew about 3 feet! In the 8 years that it has been on the ground, it had merely reached 2 ft.

What Happened?

The only unique thing I did besides care for it, as I did with my other plants, was to give up on it to where I was getting ready to yank it off the ground and pot it. Remember when I said that I was going to replace the plantain/banana with the papaya tree? I have no explanation why the tree grew almost 3 feet in a month. Was it the fear of being replaced by a papaya tree? Who knows?
My plantain/banana tree- image by the author

Unexpected Outcome

Anyway, two years later (2022) and what was once a merely 2-ft tall plantain/banana tree, is now over 6 feet and has sprouted a few other plantains/banana trees alongside it. Though I kept the tree, I did not think it would ever give me any fruit. Therefore, it caught me by surprise to see the purple bell had developed. WOW! That is outstanding! The plantain/banana is finally giving me fruit!

Is it Plantain or Bananas?

I am excited about this additional step for my plantain/banana tree. I am also not sure if it will bear bananas or plantain. Other than waiting for the surprise, how can I tell what it is? Either is great. But I am curious to know. The trees are similar; therefore, I researched with my good ole’ friend, the internet. My research paid off. I could figure it out now.

Here’s what I learned from El Jibaro Moderno and would like to share with those interested in knowing.

The banana tree leaf is wide, while the plantain leaf is longer
The banana tree leaf does not tear as easily as the plantain tree leaves
On the left banana leaf and right plantain leaf- image by the author
The banana tree leaf stem is a darker green, while the plantain tree is a lighter yellowish/green with hues of purple or red
The stem that holds the leaf to the trunk of a banana tree is shorter, while the plantain one is longer
The banana tree leaf has fewer stains, while the plantain leaf has more
On the left banana leaf and right plantain leaf- image by the author
The stem of the banana tree is open, while the plantain one remains closed
On the left banana leaf and right plantain leaf- image by the author

The Verdict is In!

So much valuable information helped me recognize mine is a plantain tree. While it will take a few months to see the plantains, I am thrilled that I did not yank the tree out. But I still ask myself, did the tree hear me say I would yank it out and decide to fight for its life? Maybe not, maybe so. Either way, I will continue talking to my plants even if I have to threaten with yanking them out.

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My writing journey began as a way to cope with grief. I realized I enjoyed writing and began a blog, Debbie’s Reflection ( I also enjoy traveling. Therefore, as a traveler, I began another blog, Traveler Wows (, in which I share tips on places, landmarks, and reviews on airlines, hotels, and restaurants. Thank you for joining me on my writing journey.

Orlando, FL

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