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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 02-03-2007, 08:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How young can plants go dormant and survive

Hello All: I germinated 7 plants mid summer. (Basjoo and dwarf cavendish i think)They are about 2' with 4 leaves. I have tried and failed to overwinter in a heated garage/home office. First i was over watering, stopped that and then spider mites took over, sprayed with a 2% insecticidal soap and they now look like they are just about to die. It rotted the new leaves trying to unfurl.

Basic conditions: Temp 50-70, 2 skylights, 500w MH light, Humidity 47-50's, standard peat based potting compost.

What can i do to save them? add more light and heat? or reduce and have them nap for the next few months?

They are in the same room as citrus, coffee, avacado, etc and they are all fine.

I do not want to be guilty of bananacide so any help appreciated. And yes, this is my first time to grow bananas, but not my last.

Many thanks,

R, aka jackdarook
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Old 02-04-2007, 11:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Cool Re: How young can plants go dormant and survive

I am also a newbie like you. I am fast finding out that water can be the enemy. Unless they are out in the hot sun and actively growing fast, more water seems to do more harm than underwatering. I had a zebrina and four foot basjoo that were dormant and probably very much alive. I cut the trunks down , potted and watered them, and put them under lights. I ended up with two corms that turned to mush. Better to leave them alone. I will know better next year.
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Old 02-04-2007, 02:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: How young can plants go dormant and survive

Many thanks for the replies.

So i will repot them all with lots of perlite and vermicilite (sp) cant remember when you use one versus the other. And only water when they feel bone dry.

Do bananas like a small or big pot, they are now in pots of maybe 2 litres, maybe 1/2 gallon pots for US sizes. Does that seem ok for young plants.

On the spider mite front, the plants did not seem to like the insecticide soap, the new leaves rotted in place. Could this be a coincidence or is that why people use neem oil so much? I cant use the neem oil as its mixed with almond oil and my son is hyperallergic to almonds, touching the plant would make him very sick. Is there another oil that works as well thats not nut based.

Sorry for all the questions and thanks for the help,

R, aka jackdarook
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Old 02-07-2007, 10:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: How young can plants go dormant and survive

Re: How young can plants go dormant and survive

This really depends on the species/cultivar you are growing. I have kept Musa cheesmani and Musa thomsonii alive in the garage, with light and almost no water, for the entire winter. On the other hand, I've lost small bananas in this fashion as well.

As far as the size pot, sounds like yours is fine. Definitely don't want to overpot a young banana in those conditions. Easier to rot.

If your plants only have four leaves, just wash them individually with soap and water, then spray the soil with Volck Oil (kills the eggs too). It can be very difficult to keep young bananas alive in typical home conditions in the winter. One idea is to get a tall aquarium, and grow in there. Another idea, and a better one I think...is to grow them in a greenhouse! Hah! Most people don't have a greenhouse, I realize.

Try to time it so that you don't have any small plants entering the winter season. Start seeds in the winter months indoors, so they will (hopefully) sprout by Spring.
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Old 02-08-2007, 10:46 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: How young can plants go dormant and survive

Thanks big dog, i have more seeds on order and also some mites that eat spider mites, i have cranked the heat and humidity up so its like working in a sauna now. I dont have a green house so next winter the bananas will have to get wrapped up and survive outside. I am wondering for my next attempt i am
better off growing in big pots outside rather than in the ground? Just how much root space do they need? Especially since our climate here is so unfriendly to bananas. Maybe i try both.

Tks,

R, aka jackdarook
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Old 02-08-2007, 12:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: How young can plants go dormant and survive

Banana corms(bulbs) do not grow very deep. i would get the biggest pot they sell and a dolly.Plastic pots work great for me. And you will need that dolly to move the pot from place to place.
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Old 02-09-2007, 09:10 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: How young can plants go dormant and survive

Thanks for that. i think i saw photos on the site of bananas in garbage bins, the handles could be usefull if dolly does not feel up to any heavy lifting. I have sourced some parasite mites that arrive next week, sure hope they are hungry!

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Old 02-14-2007, 10:42 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: How young can plants go dormant and survive

Quote:
I cant use the neem oil as its mixed with almond oil and my son is hyperallergic to almonds, touching the plant would make him very sick. Is there another oil that works as well thats not nut based.
I have used (with great success) a homemade mixture of

a quart of water
10 garlic cloves
1/2 a small onion
2 Tablespoons of chili powder

puree in a blender/food processor til very fine. Strain into a small spray bottle. Add a few drops of liquid dish detergent and shake gently. Keep in the fridge for up to 2 months.

Spray plant and soil whenever you get mites. They REALLLLY hate the chili powder! It's totally organic and will definitely get rid of the mites and works on whiteflies too.

Of corse you don't want to spray it on your 'good' mites...

Good luck.
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There is no excuse for still having grass. I haven't mowed in 20 years. With all that space, I could plant another 100 bananas.
My new hero...

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Old 02-15-2007, 04:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: How young can plants go dormant and survive

Thank you i will save the recipe, sounds like a nice salad dressing if you leave out the washing up liquid. The mites i added today are supposed to last about 3 weeks, so after that if i have any plants alive i will try the chili mix.

Many thanks,

R, aka jackdarook
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Old 02-16-2007, 08:46 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Bananas Brindando Re: How young can plants go dormant and survive

I would say leave out the washing liquid and add some meat.

You will have a nice hungarian goulash. Eat half and lay the other
part on top off the pot. Only the smell will kill any enemy.

ron
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Old 04-01-2007, 03:55 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: How young can plants go dormant and survive

Thought i better close on a happy note, its april 2 and the plants are doing quite well.

The extra heat, humidity, and mite eating mites, oh and repotting, all helped. My unscientific guess is that the biggest error was over watering for the level of heat provided. Once that was corrected things improved, the mites were taken care of and the plants flourished. Now i have a gazillion aphids and get some aphid eating wasps next week but the plants are strong enough to survive until then.

Have some ensette that just germinated and await the first germination of a host of musa types that i planted in feb.

Thats the latests, thanks everybody.

Jackdarook,
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Old 04-09-2007, 10:26 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: How young can plants go dormant and survive

Thanks for the recipe Microfarmer. Just one thing. Do you mean Chili Powder, or the spicy stuff like Cayenne pepper?

Owee. Muy Picoso!

Thanks.
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Old 04-11-2007, 11:08 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: How young can plants go dormant and survive

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Originally Posted by Sodak View Post
Thanks for the recipe Microfarmer. Just one thing. Do you mean Chili Powder, or the spicy stuff like Cayenne pepper?

Owee. Muy Picoso!

Thanks.

The spicey stuff like cayenne.

The mites are allergic to the burn and go away (die). The soap helps wet the plant thouroughly, and the onion and garlic provide an antiseptic action, as well as a repelling smell to help prevent re-infestation.

Also, as previously stated, you can substitute oil and vinegar for the soap and have a nice salad dressing or marinade...

By the way, I lived in Rapid City for a couple years, and applaud you for growing bananas in the Banana Belt.
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Old 04-11-2007, 12:30 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: How young can plants go dormant and survive

Does it work on aphids also? Maybe them little divils like spicy food?

J,
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Old 04-12-2007, 12:01 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Angry Re: How young can plants go dormant and survive

Probably not. I had aphids all over my hot pepper plants.
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Old 04-23-2007, 08:04 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: How young can plants go dormant and survive

Me, again. We went for a weeks holiday to Malaga, they have bananas growing like weeds at the side of the road! I sprayed the salad dressing pepper stuff on my plants the night before i left. Got a neighbour to water, light heat etc. Came home to find some seedlings dead and the older plants looking close to death. Absolutely covered with mites and webbing.

Just wondering if i am nuts to just put them outside in a sheltered spot, thinking that the cold wet rain is less bad than being eaten alive by mites.

Thanks folks,

Jackdarook,
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