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Carolina Gardening: Musa basjoo surprise

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Forum: Carolina GardeningReplies: 6, Views: 104
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Sumter, SC
(Zone 8a)

March 18, 2012
1:56 PM

Post #9047551

My musa basjoo bananas didn't die back much this past winter. In fact, they were rebounding from temps in the 20's rapidly until last month, when they were scorched by 2 consecutive morning lows @ 17f. New growth was emerging on several stalks, but new growth on the 2 largest stalks seemed to be struggling to break through the bent over, dead glob of leaves that covered them. So I decided to get on my ladder and cut off the 'dead globs' that I thought were preventing new growth from emerging. I was shocked to discover the the 2 bulbous globs I cut off were concealing a flower and a small bunch of bananas. Does this mean these 2 stalks are going to die and send off pups? Wish I hadn't cut them off!

I'm amazed this banana fruited and flowered this past winter in my backyard with three 17 degree lows, and many other nights in the 20's. Anybody else have bananas bloom/fruit over this past relatively mild winter?

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Saint Helena Island, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 18, 2012
3:58 PM

Post #9047716

What a surprise! Who knew they could do that???? They will definitly send up pups now but I don't think they always die. I have had basjoo trunks just hang on until they got ratty looking then I cut them down.
Sumter, SC
(Zone 8a)

March 18, 2012
5:08 PM

Post #9047798

They really do look ratty after a freeze. I didn't cut them back because new growth kept emerging from the tops, only to be repeatedly knocked back by freezes. I think the short spurts of cold followed within a day or two by sun and temps near 80 somehow allowed them to survive. It will be interesting to see if the 2 affected stalks die back, since I literally cut short their growth cycle. As you can see, those nights in the teens burnt the flower and inedible fruit.

I have 2 large dwarf Cavendish's (pardon the oxymoron) on my backporch that I dug up last fall. I now have high hopes they, too, will bloom/fruit this autumn. Will definitely post pics if they do. Thanks for the feedback, ardesia.
Raleigh, NC
(Zone 8a)

April 9, 2012
10:40 AM

Post #9075609

I cut mine back to about 3 feet in the late winter, and they are all now about 6 feet tall already! Unbelievable! I've never been blessed with fruit though, but my friend who gave me some of his had fruit growing in May of last year on his 12' bananas!
Sumter, SC
(Zone 8a)

April 10, 2012
6:25 PM

Post #9077669

I'm hoping that with this jump start, we both have blooms and fruit next fall. After I posted the pics, I discovered another flower that hadn't yet opened, also on the ground ofcourse.
Lexington, SC
(Zone 8a)

April 16, 2012
8:52 AM

Post #9084625

My basjoo do similar to yours Donna. They seem to bloom as soon as the winter is about over and right as spring begins that flag leaf pops out and they bloom. My logic is the bloom must be in the stalk all winter, and finally pushes out in the spring.

I have found that all of my stalks that bloom do die off, so I cut the trunks down so the main corm can focus all its energy on the new pups and surrounding bananas in the same mat. Otherwise the corm will keep trying to produce bananas on the blooming stalk, so that's why I tend to cut them off just above the ground.

The weirdest thing I experience with my basjoo is that some bloom at 9-11' tall, and some bloom as short as 4' or so. It's really weird. At first I thought maybe they weren't basjoo, but they are definitely the same as the larger type. Weird.
Sumter, SC
(Zone 8a)

April 16, 2012
4:24 PM

Post #9085203

Okay, I need to find my little handsaw and cut those stalks pronto. Wish I had a clue where my little handsaw is. And I thought I had the plant equivalent of the immaculate conception going on in my backyard.last winter. It's so interesting that they can bloom on shorter stalks, too. I remember reading this recently in one your classic threads with many replies.

Just wanna wish you and your wife much happiness when you move to paradise. Your input and enthusiasm is going to be sorely missed on this forum. And your threads concerning growing bananas and bamboo in the SC midlands will be an invaluable resource for many years. Thanks for sharing, John.

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