Re: Bananas in Western NC???
I've grown a clump of basjoo for several years here in Seagrove, NC which is Zone 7. I never worried about mulching it or anything. It dies down after a hard freeze, so it mulches itself, but comes back up even bigger the next spring. I planted out a large pup I had overwintered in the cold frame last spring and it had a bloom this fall with a bunch of tiny bananas. I put a LOT of compost and composted manure in the soil. It had 10 pups before frost.
I've never tried to keep them from going down (unless I plan to divide and sell some) because they always get tall by mid-summer.
Hope this helps.