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Article: Garbage Gardening: Grow a Pineapple Fruit Tree Plant!: BANANA TREES IN WINTER

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Forum: Article: Garbage Gardening: Grow a Pineapple Fruit Tree Plant!Replies: 1, Views: 75
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FLASHKY
Boston, KY

October 8, 2007
9:58 PM

Post #4062386

WE HAVE SEVERAL BANANA TREES AND WE ARE IN ZONE 6 OF KENTUCKY, USUALLY WE CUT OFF LEAVES HIGH UP, BRING ROOT BALLS IN DOORS FOR WINTER, WRAPPED IN NEWSPAPER. BUT WE HAVE BEEN TOLD TO TIE UP LEAVES WITH OLD T SHIRTS AND BRING THE ROOT BALLS IN, THEN IN SPRING CUT LEAVES OFF. WE ARE HOPING TO ADD ON AN EAST FACING GREEN HOUSE AND LEAVE THEM OUT. BUT AT THE PRESENT TIME IT IS NOT FEESIBLE. THEY ARE IN HUGE POTS AND FINALLY GETTING SOME SIZE TO THEM. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO TREAT THEM FOR WINTER TO POSSIBLY GET FRUIT IN THIS CLIMATE IN THE SUMMER? IN LOUISVILLE, PEOPLE IN THE OLD HOMES WITH 10 FT CEILINGS, BRING THEM IN AND THEY GET FRUIT. I DO NOT HAVE THIS KIND OF ROOM.
IF I STORE, SHOULD THEY BE IN COLD DARK BASEMENT OR GARGE OR WOULD THEY BE OKAY IN OUR GAME ROOM OF OUR HOME BASEMENT WHICH HAS ELECTRIC HEAT?
ANY SUGGESTIONS WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED.
SUSIE
JaxFlaGardener
Jacksonville, FL
(Zone 8b)

October 9, 2007
12:24 AM

Post #4062965

Hi, Susie. You might first want to make sure you have a cold hardy banana (rather than a tropical type). Japanese Fiber Banana (Musa basjoo http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/1251/) is the most common banana variety around and is hardy (according to the Plant Files info) to Zone 6b, so you might be able to grow it outdoors in your area of Kentucky without too much concern for the winter.

However, even if you do get a Japanese Fiber Banana, to help ensure it will make it through the winter, you can wrap it outdoors according to instructions you can find on several websites. I know the Japanese make wonderful bamboo wraps out of bamboo poles laced together to form a cylinder around the stalk and a pointed "roof" over the leaves. I've wanted to do one of these wraps sometime just because I like the "Zen" look of it, but I've never had that much bamboo available all at once in the winter. According to some of the websites I checked, you can leave your banana outside and wrap it with burlap and bubble wrap and maybe some old blankets. You might even cut off the leaves before wrapping -- the banana plant won't need them during the wrapped dormant period and leaving them could be a source of freeze damage moving down into the stem and heart of the palm, where you least want it.

I've had Japanese Fiber Bananas go unprotected here in our winters and freeze back to the ground, and then regrow in the Spring. They are very resilient. But in a colder climate, like yours, wrapping the banana would probably be beneficial.

Those people that get bananas in the wintertime in your area probably have their bananas in pots and keep them in the pots for winter in a very sunny warm room. We currently have bananas forming here on some banana plants, but even in our climate, we can't always depend on a banana tree making fruit. They generally have to survive the preceding winter without much damage in order to set fruit, from what I've observed. And besides, once the banana tree makes fruit, it will generally die, so it may be best (if you like the plant more than you need the bananas) to let it grow and not make fruit.

I was just surprised to find that there is not a banana forum on DG -- I know there are plenty of banana enthusiasts out there! But, you might want to post your question on the Fruits & Nuts Forum (I think they have their base of operation in San Francisco? LOL). They may be able to provide you different info from what I have suggested above.

Jeremy

Jeremy

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