Growing under glass has property developer going bananas

A Gloucestershire man has done what the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) had written off as impossible.

Mike Hillard has used his bespoke conservatory as a greenhouse to grow a number of tropical plants including three 16ft musa japonicas.

The banana plants have never been known to bear fruit in the UK and, despite numerous efforts, the RHS said it had given up trying.

"This has all been done by the English sunshine in my solar room, which provides my house with an oxygen rich atmosphere," he said.

"I was surprised when they flowered because I was told Oh theyll never grow fruit.

"I asked the Royal Horticultural Society and they told me to get down on my prayer mat because they had been trying for years to get theirs to bear fruit. Mine have grown to four or five inches and they are edible."

Mr Hillard intends to cook the bananas in a curry as the RHS told him they wouldnt be palatable on their own due to their seeds.

The musa japonica is native to Asia, but can be grown under glass in the UK and is an ideal plant to use as shade for other plants that require it. It is ideally grown in a large greenhouse.