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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 08-21-2009, 08:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default maybe any kind of banana is cold hardy in zone 5?

I have a customer from Indianapolis, she came up and bought a couple more basjoo the other day. She bought two last year too and a couple tropical dwarf cavendish or williams, she couldn't remember which.
Anyway when fall came she couldn't remember which ones were hardy and which ones were tropical and so she just cut all of them off the same--and mulched them with bags of leaves and put a tarp over the top.
She told me that all her bananas came back up this year, even the tropical ones. She showed me what her plants looked like and she pointed out basjoo and dwarf cavendish in the greenhouse by their leaf shapes. She said two of her plants had wider greener leaves with little red blotches on their pups, and two of them had the faint red stripes in the leaves like basjoo so she was pretty sure that's what she had.
She said she did the same thing with some cannas and they came back too and were growing just fine.
So do you suppose that any banana would be hardy mulched that way as long as a big enough area around them was mulched?
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Old 08-21-2009, 10:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: maybe any kind of banana is cold hardy in zone 5?

I mulched my Musella lasiocarpa and my musa sikkimenesis last fall. the Chisese yellow just (last minth) sent up one pup. The sikkim never sprouted. I dug up the corm, cut some rot away on the top and planted the rest. Nothing has grown yet. Wish it were so; my sikkim, Burmese blue, maurelli and glauca, etc. would not have to be dug and dragged inside.
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Old 08-21-2009, 11:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: maybe any kind of banana is cold hardy in zone 5?

I think the temperature has a lot to do with the survival irregardless of type of bananas you want to grow. The tarp and the mulch kept the temperature higher than the allowable temperature. So you can safely say any bananas can be grown as long as that particular banana do not go below her allowable temperature. But that is only one aspect. There are many tangibles too.
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Old 08-22-2009, 06:13 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Cool Re: maybe any kind of banana is cold hardy in zone 5?

Sandy , the plants you sold to this lady, were they large corms? I'm starting to conclude that even though say a basjoo can be successfully overwintered the larger the corm the better, Check out John-NY's post on this and I totally agree with his observations. After not doing as well with my basjoo last winter as I would have liked, I am assuming that leaves would make better contact with the ground therefore more efficient insulation and as you mentioned going wide enough with the mulch is one of the important clues. (Last year I used straw bales and tarp). Eventually the facts will be clear.
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Old 08-27-2009, 12:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: maybe any kind of banana is cold hardy in zone 5?

They were about three feet tall, but not really large by banana standards. I'm going to maybe try mulching a few more things this fall and see what happens.
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Old 08-27-2009, 12:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: maybe any kind of banana is cold hardy in zone 5?

Hmmm...I'd like to know more about this, since back home in IA is zone 5. I'm pretty skeptical though, to be honest (not doubting your story...just doubting it would work for me in my area). I'm sure there are a lot of small things with impacts on the success rate....is the area sheltered from wind, level of snowfall, level of existing moisture in the soil, sustained or occasional low temperatures, mulching media/amount/technique, etc etc. Just keep us informed on any info on this!
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Old 08-27-2009, 01:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: maybe any kind of banana is cold hardy in zone 5?

Brian,

I really think several factors influence survivability. I know you are living in St. Louis at the moment. I was there several years ago and employed at the botanical garden. We had a banana in the Chinese Garden, which has walls on all four sides, a smallish water feature, and some tree canopy. Every year after the top growth was killed back some by the first few frosts the horticulturist in charge of that garden would cut back the pstems to about 2-3' tall and mulch them heavily and they always came back in May. At the time, this was thought to be M. basjoo; however, I eventually got a pup of it to flower here in Houston and realized that it was actually 'Orinoco'. The St. Louis area is normally considered USDA Zone 5, though it is a borderline 6. Still, as you know, they get severe winters there, sometimes with snow on the ground for a few weeks at at time (not so much lately) and extended cold temperatures. One winter when I was there we had about 14" of snow at the garden and temps didn't get above freezing for about 2 weeks and the 'Orinoco' still came through. So, I think pstem circumference, micro-climates, and protection methods has a lot to do with each plant's survivability rates. Just my 2 cents worth.
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Old 08-27-2009, 03:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: maybe any kind of banana is cold hardy in zone 5?

Well, St. Louis/MO is zone 6ish....but I have nowhere to even plant in the ground here. I was referring to my home in Iowa where it is very definitely zone 5 at MOST. It is much warmer here...very weak by my standards. In Iowa it isn't uncommon for it to not get above 0 degrees F for over a month (and above freezing 2-3 mo.) while getting blanketed by feet of snow. I doubt Basjoo are even hardy there...but I never have tried overwintering anything there.
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Old 09-03-2009, 04:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: maybe any kind of banana is cold hardy in zone 5?

I wish we had a foot of snow when it was 0 here. The problem here in Indiana is that we don't get reliable snow cover. If we did, things would be much better. Snow actually helps insulate plants from the cold and adds to their hardiness. You might want to try basjoo there. I talked to a guy in Montana who had success with it!
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