This online guide has been created for you to successfully grow a variety of plants that thrive in the tropics, using native seeds and plants to get growing with wise advice from fellow backyard gardeners and farmers.   You are welcome to add your wisdom and share growing and harvest tips and recipes. Send to
Welcome to the Pro-Organic Belize
Tropical Garden Grow Guide

Where you are the student and the teacher
Featured plant for the month of December 2023

Botanic name: Musa paradisiaca
Plant Type
herbaceous perennial
Sun Exposure
full sun
Soil Preference
loosen soil and add compost
Soil Ph
10-15 months for flowers, then 4 to 8 months for fruit 
12-15 feet
4-6 feet

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Originating in Southeast Asia, plantains were brought to the Caribbean via Spanish and African slave ships. Today, along with sugar and coffee plantains are one of Latin America’s most profitable exports.


Growing Plantains

It is easiest to grow plantains from suckers or offshoots from mature trees. Select a sucker which is located at the base of the mother tree that is between 12 and 20 inches tall. The ones with long, blade-like leaves are best for producing fruit. With clean tools, dig up the sucker's corm (bulb-like base). Try to cut it away from the mother plant with a single stroke of a machete or sharp shovel, but cut as close to the mother plant as possible. Peel off the outer layer of the corm, starting where the outer layer of leaves are attached. Plant in a12 inch deep hole with added compost in a well-drained area where it will get plenty of sun.



Plantains are a rich source of fiber, vitamins A, C, and B-6, and the minerals magnesium and potassium. Potassium is essential for maintaining the cell and body fluids that control heart rate and blood pressure.



Plantains can be eaten ripe, unripe, but are usually cooked. They can be fried, boiled, baked as a delicious side dish or main course.


Known as Pastelón, plantains are cooked like a layered casserole made with ground meat and cheese. Vegans can use a vegan cheese and a ground beef substitute such as lentils, cauliflower, tofu, or mushrooms.


Ingredients for 4-6 servings


·       2-3 ripe plantains

  • 2 cups beefy grounds or meat substitute
  • ¼ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped green bell pepper
  • ¼ cup onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Adobo
  • 1 tbsp Sazón 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup veggie broth or water
  • 3 tbsp butter or vegan butter
  • 1 ½ cups grated cheese or vegan cheese

Peel plantains and boil in water until soft and can be easily sliced. Make the filling by adding meat or substitute along with adobo and Sazón to sauted onions, adding peppers, broth or water and salt. Mix well and saute for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequenty. Preheat oven to 375 F. Thorougly mash plantain in bowl with butter. Grease medium sized baking dish with butter or oil and add ½ of the mashed plantain and spread. Add half of the sauted mixture on top. Then add layer of half of the cheese or cheese substitute. Repeat the 3 layers with cheese layer on top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.


Baked Plantains with Brown Sugar Glaze


·       3 large ripe plantains

·       1/2 cup of brown sugar

·       1/2 cup of unsalted butter

·       1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

·       1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

·       1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

·       3 tablespoons of dark rum (optional)

·       Pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Peel the Plantains and cut them in half both lengthwise and crosswise. Oil a baking dish or use parchment paper to prevent the plantains from sticking. Lay the plantains out in the prepared baking dish with the cut sides facing up.

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter has completely melted, add the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, dark rum (if using), and a pinch of salt. Stir until a smooth mixture.

Pour about half the mixture over the plantains, making sure each piece is evenly coated.

Bake for about 15 minutes. Then, carefully flip the plantains Drizzle the remaining butter mixture over the flipped plantains and return to the oven. Continue to bake for another 15 minutes or until the plantains are caramelized and fork-tender. Cool and enjoy as a dessert or side dish.

Plantain Fufu

Submitted by Mary Loan

Plantain Fufu is a super easy to make recipe which is especially popular in tropical countries.  It is a kind of pudding which is made with a combination of nearly ripe and ripe to very ripe plantains.  


Fufu Recipe


Chop 3 nearly ripe yellow skinned plantains and 3 ripe (yellow with dark spots) to very ripe (black skinned, but not mushy) plantains.  You can make with any amount of plantains as long as 1/2 are nearly ripe and the other 1/2 are ripe to very ripe.


Place the chopped plantains in a large pot to mash them together with about 1/2 cup of water or coconut milk. If the fufu is sticking to the pot, add a little more water or coconut milk. Cook over low to medium heat while stirring every 2-3 minutes for about 10 minutes.


This recipe is bland and may  be enhanced with raisins, honey, coconut, a pinch of salt, chocolate, peanut butter and maybe a spoon of jam on top of each serving.  Though it is enjoyed plain in many parts of the world.


Please add your plantain growing advice and recipes and share with all.
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