Re: Fruiting Bananas in Pacific Northwest Zone 8b
I'm in Tacoma. When I first moved here from CA in 2015, I brought with me a dwarf Orinoco, supposedly hardy, sikkimensis, and Mekong giant. The orinico rotted the first winter even in a protected spot against the house. The Basjoo grow like weeds. They actually get too big for my small back yard and I plan on selling off some this year. The Mekong giant hasnít even emerged yet. Not sure if it will. It always waits till mid summer to start growing and doesnít grow as big as basjoo but pops up all over the place. Basjoo start early in May. Sikkimensis is a moderate grower here and looks better than basjoo IMO, but doesnít get as big. It grows earlier than Mekong giant though. It has deep red center veins and red under the leaves.
The issue here for all tropical plants is not the winter lows so much as the year round cold nights and low average temperature. Something the USDA hardiness zone map doesnt tell you. My bananas actually grow faster indoors under artificial lighting than outdoors in full sun even in mid June. You would need a greenhouse for sure to get fruit. I Had basjoo flower and dwarf namwa as well, but fruit never developed.
I also overwinter Ensete glaucum and both the green and red forms of Ensete maurelii in the basement and numerous variegated bananas.