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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 06-21-2010, 12:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Interesting Banana

We had a very cold winter here, some locals say the coldest in almost 20 years.

I came across a handful of banana mats that were planted between the highway and a parking lot of a small automotive service business about 40 minutes from my house. The bananas were out in the open without protection and did not look like they have had any special care. They looked like Orinoco / Dwarf Orinoco. The largest of the plants were about 5' maybe 5.5' p-stem height (estimated, didn't have my tape measure with me. lol ). What caught my eye was there was a couple flowers coming out and at least one had several hands of fruit developing.

I checked the historical weather data for this town and here is a break down of the number of days that lows reached freezing or below, listed in Fahrenheit, for this past winter.

32 = 4
31 = 4
30 = 1
27 = 2
25 = 1
21 = 1

Thoughts, unusual or not?

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Old 06-21-2010, 12:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Interesting Banana

Seems odd that they will survive those temperatures and retain pseudostem without any protection. Is it possible they dug them up and overwintered them or protected them in some way you didn't see? You could always stop in and talk to them about their bananas and maybe they'd even sell you a small plant.
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Old 06-21-2010, 01:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by LilRaverBoi View Post
Seems odd that they will survive those temperatures and retain pseudostem without any protection. Is it possible they dug them up and overwintered them or protected them in some way you didn't see? You could always stop in and talk to them about their bananas and maybe they'd even sell you a small plant.
I would think the fact that there was several hands of half developed fruit would eliminate any chance of recent transplanting. It is possiable that they protected them, but it would surprise me given the circumstances they were in.

I wanted to get a few
opinions before I made contact with the owner.
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Old 06-21-2010, 01:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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My input Dave :^)
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Old 06-21-2010, 01:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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My input Dave :^)
I tried to get a few with my iphone, but the store was closed and they had a gate preventing me from getting in the parking lot. The only angle I had was from the highway and the sun was behind the flowers and fruit and it washed out the shots.

If this turns out to be something out of the ordinary I will drive back down and make sure they didn't do anything to protect the p-stems and try to talk them out of a couple pups and / or take a few photos with my good camera.

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Old 06-21-2010, 01:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I tried to get a few with my iphone, but the store was closed and they had a gate preventing me from getting in the parking lot. The only angle I had was from the highway and the sun was behind the flowers and fruit and it washed out the shots.

If this turns out to be something out of the ordinary I will drive back down and make sure they didn't do anything to protect the p-stems and try to talk them out of a couple pups and / or take a few photos with my good camera.

Dave
Totally understandable.. Dave I would've held out for a better shot myself. Inquiring minds wanna know.. lol :^)
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Old 06-21-2010, 02:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Interesting Banana

Texas Star ?
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Old 06-21-2010, 03:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Interesting Banana

Tony,

The whole Texas Star / CA Gold scenario is why these are so intriguing. These don't look like they were cut back and they are producing fruit at about 5'. They definitely aren't sheltered or in any micro habitat.

I hope someone that has had some long term experience with the Orinoco group and marginal weather will add their two cents.

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Old 06-21-2010, 08:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Interesting Banana

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveE View Post
I tried to get a few with my iphone, but

Dave
Can you use post the gps coordinates? Maybe we can see from google earth?
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Can you use post the gps coordinates? Maybe we can see from google earth?
I found the location on Google Earth. It was an outdated photo, no bananas.
That would have been awesome if it was current.
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:00 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffreyp View Post
Can you use post the gps coordinates? Maybe we can see from google earth?
Nice thought, but Google Earth is not a recent satellite image, by ANY means. It hasn't been updated in AGES. If I look on there, the hotel that was built in my home town in 2004ish still isn't even on there (not even ground work). And according to my best friend's girlfriend, who works some secret government job doing geospatial mapping, it will not be updated anytime soon (no doubt due to national security issues). Just FYI.
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:15 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Interesting Banana

I've had orinoco overwinter here without protection (but not this year) and they came back from the corm. A typical winter would get down to 5F give or take with a few days never getting above freezing. Raja Puri as well (again, not this year). They can hold a pseudostem for a really long time since and as long as the pseudostem doesn't freeze all the way to the center it can stay alive. Up here you'd never get the pseudostem to overwinter outdoors, but maybe those temps were not enough to kill them to the ground. Also, I have a friend that overwintered basjoo up here without protection and in spring it bloomed even without any leaves about two feet off of the ground where the old pseudostem had been cut back in spring. So, I can't say for sure especially having no experience in San Antonio, but it might not be that unusual for orinoco to overwinter in a winter like you had and bloom in early spring.

Last edited by RobG7aChattTN : 06-22-2010 at 08:17 AM. Reason: added temps.
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:21 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I found the location on Google Earth. It was an outdated photo, no bananas. That would have been awesome if it was current.
When I google my place, I have an old yellow vega in the driveway.. lol :^) Sure isn't mine.. lol & I've been here 6 years..
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Old 06-22-2010, 09:52 AM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobG7aChattTN View Post
I've had Orinoco overwinter here without protection (but not this year) and they came back from the corm. A typical winter would get down to 5F give or take with a few days never getting above freezing. Raja Puri as well (again, not this year). They can hold a pseudostem for a really long time since and as long as the pseudostem doesn't freeze all the way to the center it can stay alive. Up here you'd never get the pseudostem to overwinter outdoors, but maybe those temps were not enough to kill them to the ground. Also, I have a friend that overwintered basjoo up here without protection and in spring it bloomed even without any leaves about two feet off of the ground where the old pseudostem had been cut back in spring. So, I can't say for sure especially having no experience in San Antonio, but it might not be that unusual for orinoco to overwinter in a winter like you had and bloom in early spring.
Thanks,

Thats what I am trying to figure out, is it normal for Orinoco that is planted out in the open and unprotected to flower after being exposed to temps in the low to mid twenties a couple times.

I don't have much to compare it to here as we recorded a low of 16F in the San Antonio area the night they went to 21F.

The other thing of interest is the height. The largest plants are all about 5' p-stem height and several are flowering at that height. My Orinoco that I cut to the ground in March are already well over 7' p-stem height.


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Old 06-23-2010, 12:39 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Interesting Banana

Well it may not be an Orinoco, but seems functional if edible. :^)
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Old 06-23-2010, 09:26 AM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Well it may not be an Orinoco, but seems functional if edible. :^)
I came across them late Sunday afternoon on my way to meet someone and was already running a little late. Because of this I did not examine them very close, but I am pretty sure they are a type of Orinoco. Keep in mind that this is in a remote area where Orinoco is as common as weeds and there are no big box stores within an hour.

If they turn out to be something else, even better. Since there are several flowers and fruit it suggest they are fairly cold hardy.

Of course until I go back down this is just speculation. With my luck it will turn out to be an Org member that had them wrapped in freeze cloth and Christmas lights. LOL
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Old 06-23-2010, 10:22 AM   #17 (permalink)
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With my luck it will turn out to be an Org. member's that had them wrapped in freeze cloth and Christmas lights. LOL
Too Funny Dave.. Now that would throw a wrench @ the theory for sure.. :^)
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Old 06-24-2010, 05:55 PM   #18 (permalink)
 
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Default

Today I drove down to get a few pictures and info on the bananas that I came across. It turned out to be closer to an hour than the 40 minutes I originally estimated. This town is located in USDA Zone 8b.

I met the owner, Castro, and he is a super nice guy. He planted the bananas there a couple years ago when he redid the landscaping in front of his shop. He took pups from a mat at his home. He confirmed that they are what the locals call the Burro Banana (Orinoco) and they taste good right off the stalk. He said many people stop by to take pictures and compliment him on the plants. He is very proud of his bananas and loves to talk about them. He is an org member waiting to happen. Castro now has 93 plants, all Orinoco, including the ones at home.

We talked about this last winter and he didn't remember it getting as cold as the National Weather Service reported. He stated that since it doesn't go below freezing very often he doesn't wrap or do anything special for the winter. He did say that this winter the leaves died back and he cut the tops to take them off.

It turns out that the bananas that were flowering at 5' were pups planted last summer. They were taken from his older mats of Orinoco that flower at about 7'. He said they have produced for him every year. There were buds, flowers and bananas all over.

He was more than happy to let me take pictures. Of course I left the battery to my Sony in the charger at home. Good thing I have a camera on my phone. I will post a few on this thread. if your interested I will post more in my gallery.

He picked out a nice sword pup for me, but unfortunately most of the roots were under the concrete and it came out with one little root. Hopefully it will make it.

Castro had a couple customers come by before I had time to tell him about the Org, but I plan on going back down in a couple weeks with an Ice Cream and a Saba to thank him for his hospitality.

















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Old 06-25-2010, 12:02 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Interesting Banana

Third pic doesn't look like there will be any 'set' fruit, but all the pics look great! Thanks for sharing. Definitely orinoco...I've heard they're pretty hardy and apparently that rumor is true!
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Old 06-25-2010, 04:53 AM   #20 (permalink)
 
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Thanks for sharing the info, Dave.
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