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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 12-11-2007, 04:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Largest cold hardy bananas

Hey everyone. I was wondering if anybody has had success growing large banana trees in colder climates. I have been especially curious about Musa Saba. If anyone deals with larger bananas such as this and overwinters them, please feel free to post which ones, your success rates and favorites.

Thanks
Mike
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Old 12-12-2007, 07:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Largest cold hardy bananas

have just brought a Saba over to the UK from Florida. It's in my frost free zone for this winter as its only a small plant, but hopefully will be outside for next.
I seem to remember reading somewhere that they have been found to be fairly hardy in the US, but we'll see. Anyone have any experience of Saba hardiness?
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Old 12-12-2007, 11:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Largest cold hardy bananas

I don't have any actual experience with Saba, but I know of some folks in zone 8a that successfully overwinter it outside. It's a bit late to come back, but once it gets going stand back!

As far as wild bananas that come from cooler, subtropical areas, you should try Musa basjoo first. Then, Musa sikkimensis and all of its forms and hybrids (there's at least three hybrids out there, maybe more). There is also a Musa itinerans that grows to over 30 feet tall that comes from about 8000 ft. ASL, but isn't available in cultivation as of yet. You still can't beat basjoo for cold-hardiness though. You didn't mention what zone you live in, which is important to consider also.
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Old 12-12-2007, 02:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Largest cold hardy bananas

I've been trying to figure out for awhile what variety of banana I've got.
The pups that they grew from were all decendants of either plants that were given to me locally, or ones that were bought in nurseries here in S.W. Ohio.

And when you buy them in the garden centers all the tag generally says is "cold hardy banana"...Musa 'general species'. (real professional of them, huh? )

(They look like the average run-of-the-mill banana leaf to me.)


I've been growing them for about 9 or 10 years. I take them in and out of the house according to the season, and I've gotten the variety I have to get as tall as between 12-15 feet a few summers ago.
And using the 'banana oil' I described in another thread I turn them into house plants in the winter, in our relatively dry Ohio home.

What variety would you say I have?

I'm about 40 miles north / northeast of Cincy in zone 6a.
We probably get down to 0 F once every winter.
Every few years we might get to -10 F or so.
( I think -27 F is the record low in 1977)

What taller varieties do you think would overwinter here, if any?

I'd like the option of leaving a few of them outside if I felt confident they'd have a shot at making it. And at the same time bringing some in to 'convert' to house plants for the winter as I've been doing for some time.

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Old 12-12-2007, 03:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Largest cold hardy bananas

If it says cold hardy banana on the tag I'm almost positive its a Basjoo. I've seen a lot of these tagged this way here in z6 and they are all Basjoo's.
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Old 12-12-2007, 06:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Largest cold hardy bananas

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Originally Posted by natedogg1026 View Post
If it says cold hardy banana on the tag I'm almost positive its a Basjoo. I've seen a lot of these tagged this way here in z6 and they are all Basjoo's.
Basjoos you think, huh?

The leaves have gotten as long as 3'- 3.5' long before, particularly on the 12'-15' one I mentioned previously.
But I've never seen a sign of a bloom.

Is basjoo the largest banana that's still considered hardy for zone 6?

And does anyone out there in any zone 6 area really have luck in overwintering basjoos?

If so, what means of soil prep and depth of 'biomass insulation' did you have do go to in order to do this? :2780:

(If this has already been discussed- just indicate the thread...)

Thx!

marco
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Old 12-12-2007, 07:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Largest cold hardy bananas

I have tried to overwinter basjoo outside, but without luck. So this year took my basjoo and 2 species of "cold hardy" banana from home depot inside. I have no problem taking in bananas for the winter, I just hope this can work with the big guys like saba and itinerans.

-I'm located in Zone 6, less then 10 minutes from south philly
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Old 12-12-2007, 09:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Cold Re: Largest cold hardy bananas

Yes Marco, Many have luck wintering Basjoo's in 6,5 and even colder regions. You can chop em to the ground and mulch them but you will never see a flower. If you use the cage method and save a few feet of trunk they should flower and get taller faster. About 16' is max on a Basjoo but I'm sure someone has grown them taller. The leaf size you described sounds about right but they can get bigger. If you look in my gallery, the pic of the man standing by the canna's with nana's in the background, those are 16' Basjoo's here in 6. As far as being the tallest hardy nana for z6, Yes and no. It will probably winter the easiest but their are other varieties that may get taller such as the Orinoco but really need a lot of protection and may or may not live. Musella Lasiocarpa should survive w/ ease but is small. Velutina will live but only gets 9-10' +or-. Sikkimensis is next on the list for hardy candidate for your area but it is still being tested. I believe Itinerans is also being tested but I don't know the results. So all in all I think Basjoo is the best bet for hardiness/size in your area. Hope this helps. --Nate
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Old 12-13-2007, 12:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Largest cold hardy bananas

Musa sikkimensis Daj Giant maybe the most promising giant hardy banana. It most likely will be bigger than basjoo, and regular sikkimensis, but probably not as large as Saba.
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Old 12-13-2007, 12:22 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Largest cold hardy bananas

I know I am a bit south of you, 7a/b, but I have great success with Basjoo. I have had them in my yard for 4 full summers and they are really doing a good job. I retain a foot or two of pstem over winter and have acheived 20' of overall height for the past two summers. All I have done is kept them mulched (year round) with 3-4" of mulch. I think a plastic bag-o-leaves placed over the pstem would be all you would need for most winters in a Z6. Here a pic of one of my clumps from this past summer... COME ON SPRINGTIME!!!!

I am personally 6'4" for scale...
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Old 12-13-2007, 12:33 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Largest cold hardy bananas

See, I figured someone could get Basjoo's bigger than 16'. Go Randy Go!!
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Old 12-13-2007, 09:40 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Largest cold hardy bananas

I'm looking forward to next spring already! Can't wait to get Musa x sikkimensis 'Daj Giant' in the ground, as well as the M. x sikkimensis 'Balboa Park' hybrid. It's a biggun too.
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Old 12-16-2007, 03:33 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I'm looking forward to next spring already! Can't wait to get Musa x sikkimensis 'Daj Giant' in the ground, as well as the M. x sikkimensis 'Balboa Park' hybrid. It's a biggun too.
hiya, what is a Sikki 'Balboa Park' hybrid? I've never come across it before, hardy & fruiting maybe?
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Old 12-16-2007, 08:11 PM   #14 (permalink)
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hiya, what is a Sikki 'Balboa Park' hybrid? I've never come across it before, hardy & fruiting maybe?
Here's the link to this thought to be sikkimensis hybrid- Unknown Seeded Banana Presented for ID
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Old 12-16-2007, 11:02 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Largest cold hardy bananas

It doesn't really have an official name. I got seeds and a small plant from my friend Rob who posts on here, who got seeds from a large mat in Balboa Park in San Diego, CA. It is almost definitely a Musa sikkimensis hybrid, which means it should be at least moderately hardy. It is a big one too! I have a few pictures of it in my gallery somewhere (just realized how big my gallery was yesterday!). I'll try to get some more pics tomorrow at the greenhouse.
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Old 12-17-2007, 01:57 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Thanks, looking forward to some pics when ever you get the time.
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