With such an unusual name, you would expect a pretty special apple. Well, we have to let you down a little; although it does have a lovely and unusual aroma, it doesn't really taste like a banana. Perhaps its breeder was cleverly trying to cash in on the excitement that the name Winter Banana would cause - it sounds a bit like a joke from a Carry On film...
Winter Bananas have sweet, softly crisp, slightly grainy flesh and they are excellent for making juice or for use as the sweet element in a cider brew. The name probably comes from the colour of the skin, which is usually at least half yellow, the rest flushing with a warm orange-red. Sadly, these trees just won't give you their best flavour if you live outside the warmer areas of the South-West and even then we recommend a sheltered and sunny site. They need warmth to reach perfection. This apple is well worth a look for anyone with a suitable site who is after something different. You can pick Winter Banana apples in early October and they will store until the end of January, reaching their best flavour after a couple of weeks ripening off the tree.
Mr David Flory of Indiana, USA, bred this tree in the 1870's and it began commercial growing in 1890. The RHS gave it an Award of in 1912. We have been unable to trace its parents - your thoughts are always welcome.
Pollination Partners for Malus Winter Banana: Your trees are pretty much self-sterile and need to be cross-pollinated with another apple tree for fruit to set. Apple Tree Pollination table.
Rootstocks, Growing Notes and Pruning & Planting Advice:
Our Winter Banana trees are grown on MM106 rootstocks, which are suitable for any restricted form and will produce a mature tree about 4 metres high - the ideal size for a large crop that is easy to harvest. If you don't have a warm, sunny site in the South-West of the country, we suggest that you train your tree as a cordon and grow it under glass - you can do this in decent sized pot - or train it as a fan or espalier against a sunny South facing wall.
If you are unclear about fruit tree sizes, please take a look at our Guide to Fruit Tree Sizing.
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