As you enter the main office building on our campus, you are greeted by an entryway greenhouse environment complete with a beautiful koi pond and numerous fruiting tropical plants. We grow bananas, pineapples, limes, lemons, and even cumquats. Right now our banana trees are producing very well and we are sharing the fruits of our labor with our employees by supplying our cafeteria with bananas. We are also preparing some of them for freezing to make delicious banana smoothies to share with our team members at a later date. Our banana trees are 100% natural and are not sprayed with pesticide or any other chemicals. Our greenhouse experts raised our banana trees from corms, the bulb structures from which each banana plant sprouts and grows. Starting from a corm rather than from a pup, or young plant, often assures better success. The first step is to rinse the corm in warm water to wash off any fungus that may have developed during shipment. The corm should have two or three rhizomes, which are like flower bulbs. Find a pot or container suitable for the size of your corm that allows two to three inches on all sides so the corm does not touch the pot. Use a very light soil with a significant amount of peat moss and vermiculite in it. Cover the rhizome but leave the center of the corn exposed; the corm will be covered only once the rhizomes start to grow and develop a small stem or trunk and a few leaves. Water the banana plant thoroughly and keep the soil damp but not moist, allowing the soil to dry out periodically between watering. Fertilize with a ½ strength liquid fertilizer, such as a 5/5/5 or 10/10/10. Once your plant starts growing, keep it in a well lit area that is warm and humid. A specialized greenhouse is perfect for growing tropical plants. Your plant should produce a flower or crown within the first year and develop fruit within the next four months. Using a higher potassium base fertilizer will help your plant produce better fruit that ripens sooner. Once your plant becomes mature, you will find small pups growing alongside the larger plant; these can be cut from the main rhizome and transplanted. However, leave at least one to replace the main plant, because after the fruit is harvested, your main plant will die and should be removed from the corm. We’re very thankful for our successful banana harvest, and look forward to more success from our tropical greenhouse to brighten our winter months.