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Cold Hardy Bananas This forum is dedicated to the discussion of bananas that are able to grow and thrive in cold areas. You'll find lots of tips and discussions about keeping your bananas over the winter.


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Old 10-08-2011, 12:57 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Growing Musa Mekong Giant

It doesn't seem like this species is as popular as musa basjoo on this forum, but after looking pictures of mekong giant, it looks like a good specimen to add to my yard as it is supposed to have a thinner airy look, and get taller faster than basjoo.

Here's my blog with pictures on it.
Steve's garden: New banana plants Musa Mekong Giant arrives and gets potted up

Has anyone else grown this successfully in zone 6? I plan on letting them stay in 2 gallon pots until the first freeze, then planting them in the ground, 1 foot deep.
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Old 10-08-2011, 01:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Growing Musa Mekong Giant

Nice looking plant, nice blog If I was a member of facebook I would 'like' that, I believe that's the terminology.

Do you know anymore about the plant?
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Old 10-08-2011, 09:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Growing Musa Mekong Giant

Based on pictures I've seen of it it looks like it pups less than basjoo, and I've also read that it makes longer rhizomes as well, but just due to it's hardiness and size potential in zone 6, I had to get it.
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my picture website is http://www.flickr.com/photos/31489820@N02/

http://stevespeonygarden.blogspot.com/
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Old 10-08-2011, 11:40 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Growing Musa Mekong Giant

Im probably trying this one for next year. My basjoos did a terrible job growing this past summer and based on that, I dont think that it is strong enough to survive the winter. So Mekong Giant might be just the banana plant Im looking for!
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Old 10-08-2011, 01:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Growing Musa Mekong Giant

If you're looking for info on how to grow this banana look for musa itinerans. The whole "Mekong Gaint" name seems to have appeared very recently. Brians Botanicals site says he's been growing it for years, so I suspect "Mekong Giant" is either just a new name for Musa itinerans, or a improved variety of Musa itinerans.
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Old 10-08-2011, 03:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Growing Musa Mekong Giant

I added one to my garden late this summer from Brian. So far it's looking good; only about a foot and a half now. I plan on potting it up for the winter. After a good season of growth next year I'm going to leave it out here (z7a).
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Old 10-08-2011, 05:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing Musa Mekong Giant

Quote:
Originally Posted by palmtree View Post
Im probably trying this one for next year. My basjoos did a terrible job growing this past summer and based on that, I dont think that it is strong enough to survive the winter. So Mekong Giant might be just the banana plant Im looking for!
Don't give up so quick on the bassjoos I'm in a little colder climate than you and my basjoos were amazing this year, I think you need to tweek yours a little before passing them up!
But, I am for variations and I love variegation, I'm just saying Basjoos can be just as amazing!
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Old 10-08-2011, 05:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing Musa Mekong Giant

I'm waiting to see how it does. I don't want to buy one yet since it might be just the same as itinerans. I also want to see how hardy it is for everyone else. If it really seems to be extra hardy or different than I'm sure I'll get one.
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Old 10-08-2011, 08:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Growing Musa Mekong Giant

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobG7aChattTN View Post
I'm waiting to see how it does. I don't want to buy one yet since it might be just the same as itinerans. I also want to see how hardy it is for everyone else. If it really seems to be extra hardy or different than I'm sure I'll get one.
If you are in zone 6, and you plant them a foot deep which is possible since these seedlings are generally very tall if you get the 4 inch pot sized type, winter probably won't be the issue since the soil temperature doesn't really get that cold, that deep into the soil, especially if there is further protection with mulch, leaf bags or a tarp to put icing on the cake.

The ground in itself is an excellent insulator, and when there are several inches of snow on top, it says even warmer down there, but this is assuming that mekong giant is as cold hardy as it it reputed to be.
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my picture website is http://www.flickr.com/photos/31489820@N02/

http://stevespeonygarden.blogspot.com/
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Old 10-09-2011, 03:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Growing Musa Mekong Giant

I have two in the ground since May. They are already close to 6 feet tall and grow very fast. As I noted in another article, I used Dr Hakkinen's article and it does match up very well with Musa Itinerans var xishuangbannaensis (small smudges of wax on petioles, purple-black markings on ptem). Although I guess it is possible that it is a Musa Itinerans var Itinerans. But it shows traits that I'm not faimilar with on regular Itinerans. I plan on leaving mine in the ground with heavy mulch much like my Basjoo here in zone 5b.

I have somewhat recent pics at the end of this thread. I have some newer ones I can post if anyone wants.

Musa yunnanensis officially described!
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:13 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing Musa Mekong Giant

I have a tray of these coming in for spring. So I'll be able to put them on the webstore around April or so when they get big enough.
Also I'm getting in some more siam ruby and some ensete superbum
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Old 12-17-2011, 01:32 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing Musa Mekong Giant

Hey Sandy, what prices will you be asking for those?
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Old 12-17-2011, 04:19 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing Musa Mekong Giant

I went ahead and added them on the webstore so you could prebook them if you want to. I think I put 15.99 on them. I have to pay royalties and stuff on them so they're pretty expensive for tc plants. Of course bananas.org members will get some kind of kickback on their order, either 10% off or some extra goodies
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Old 12-17-2011, 10:16 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Growing Musa Mekong Giant

Most T.C. at agri-starts top out a $2 each (with royalties included), so $16 seems on the steep end, but they don't seem to have Meking Giant so I don't know what that costs you. I'll probably hold out for a better deal or a trade at some point.
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Old 12-18-2011, 12:37 AM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Growing Musa Mekong Giant

Musa MEKONG GIANT ~ Live BANANA Plants ~ COLD HARDY | eBay

I got 3 of them for just under $30 off eBay and have them planted 1ft deep in the ground for over-wintering, hoping they will take off strong in April once I remove the protection.

Here's how they looked before having leaf bags over them.
Steve's garden: Fall update on the banana plants #2
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Old 12-18-2011, 02:08 AM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Growing Musa Mekong Giant

They also seem to grow in a very tight clump. With the dark p-stem markings should look good.
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Old 12-18-2011, 11:12 AM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Growing Musa Mekong Giant

Howard here is a closeup of the dark pstem on one of mine from late Oct. The bigger it got the more pronounced the color. It is a red/purple/black. My camera doesn't pick it up as well as it should:


Last edited by eric27 : 12-19-2011 at 07:26 PM.
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Old 12-18-2011, 07:10 PM   #18 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Growing Musa Mekong Giant

great pic eric!! how big around is that one??
i was going to get a couple mekong giants but didnt..
?steve..you are in NY?? and u leave ensetes in the ground??
how much overwintering protection do you put on them???
im in provo utah.and only banana i have attempted to overwinter
outside is basjoo.. i have many ensetes..but i haul them in and keep
them bareroot in cool basement..around 50s F
eric thats really great colouring on the pstem..
thanks all... if dont say anything before 25th..
MERRY CHRISTMAS
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Old 12-18-2011, 07:49 PM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Growing Musa Mekong Giant

For the little ones, I just put a leaf bag over them, but for the bigger ones, I'll wrap them in bubble wrap, put many layers of leaf bags over, then put fencing around to fill up the space surrounding the stem with tree leaves to finally wrap that in a few more leaf bags with a leaf bag on top as well as at the base.

I'm in upstate NY and I did leave ensete glaucum in the ground, not maurelii because I want to try multiplying this one over the winter.

Here's how it looks.
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my picture website is http://www.flickr.com/photos/31489820@N02/

http://stevespeonygarden.blogspot.com/
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Old 12-19-2011, 09:52 AM   #20 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Growing Musa Mekong Giant

Thanks nanner! Merry Christmas to you too! It is coming up fast once again.

That one was 5 1/2 to 6 feet tall at the leaf axis, probably close to 7 counting the top of the leaf. The leaves, as it got taller, tended to point upward more-an arching habit. I'm still amazed at the growth rate, nothing slowed it down. It seemd to grow just as fast in heat as cooler weather. And the color became larger and darker the larger it got. They are still kinda slender for this height, which makes me think that they do get very tall. The diameter in the pic was probably 3 inches give or take at that height. At the base I'm sure it was already 5 inches or a little more???? I never measured but I did notice that the base was becoming very large. I haven't noticed any runners or pups yet. The petiole bases have tiny smudges of wax, very hard to see unless you look for it, and this is not widespread. I could not get pictures of it with my camera. Otherwise no wax on the plant.

The growth rate seems faster than my basjoo, at least at this size. I have both of them in the middle of the yard protected like my basjoo with no supplemental heat. So I'm curious to see if they make it. I'll get late season pics up when I'm not so busy, including what they look like covered.

Last edited by eric27 : 12-19-2011 at 07:26 PM.
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