According to the California Rare Fruit Growers, most bananas flower after forming approximately 44 leaves. Dwarf varieties still send out the same number of leaves before flowering, they simply have shorter stems than tall-growing varieties. When the flower bud emerges from the top of the stalk, it is a massive arrangement of overlapping purple bracts that may weigh several pounds.
Plants can bloom at any time of the year, but they will need 4-5 months of warm weather after flowering for the fruit to fully develop. Once the first bananas start to ripen, the entire stalk is cut and brought inside for easier daily picking of the ripe fruit.
Bananas are native to southeast Asia, but are grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world. They are durable plants that survive heat, drought, flood-waters and freeze, but they perform best in a consistently warm, moist environment. Plant in nutrient-rich soils and full sun for best growth.
Here's a short video of one of my banana plantings: