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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 06-26-2009, 05:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Musa 'Pahari Kela' (Hill banana)

Hi there friends. Some time ago I was lucky enough to become one of really few people outside of India to have an opportunity and grow Musa 'Pahari Kela' or better known as Hill banana. The name Musa 'Pahari Kela' is not official, but considering the location and origin of this naner, I think that is sufficing to show the origin and in translation also growing conditions for this naner and I chose it to be my working term...

Some time ago we had an article here about Hill bananas, and back then I decided that I should try it out, mostly based on its reported hardiness. It's time to share with you, what I have gathered so far. But first, some intro:
Here's the article:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Article about Pahari Kela from Frutipedia, an encyclopedia of fruit
PAHARI KELA





Family: Musaceae

Common name: Pahari kela

Hill banana is a plant of very common occurrence in the hills of North West India at elevations between 800 to 1500 m. This part has climate ranging between subtropical and temperate. The summer temperatures are around 30-32 C and the winter temperatures can go down upto -3 C. Many areas in this part also receive mild snow fall once or twice the season.

So hill banana is a very unusual banana. It is growing in this area which should not be a “banana area” considering the usual behavior of the common commercial banana varieties. It is certainly different in its behavior and has a trait of cold resistance.

Surprisingly, this banana is not known at all outside its habitat even in India.

Description:

The plants are of medium height banana plants and do not look different from the plants of commercial varieties so far as pseudostems and leaves are concerned. There is no apparent single distinguishing feature that might separate the hill banana from the commercial bananas.



The fruits are thicker and larger sized than the common commercial cultivars like Poovan and Morataman. Bunches are, however, not very big. So this banana seems to be less productive. The reason for this difference may be the lack of care of plants. All the hill banana plants are growing just all by themselves and are not looked after at all. The productivity might improve if these plants are grown and looked after like cultivated plants.

The difference between a hill banana and commercial bananas, however, lies in pulp and fruit quality. The pulp of hill bananas is not as dry as that of commercial types. It is more watery and is less erect after peeling off the skin. It is somewhat leathery and does not break easily.



Ripe fruits of hill banana

The taste is also slightly different. It is sweet but with a tinge of sourness.

There is feeling of heaviness in stomach after eating two fruits. So these bananas cannot be eaten as much as the commercial bananas.

Utilization:

The hill banana used to be the only banana available in the hills till 50 years ago when the other banana was not reaching there due to lack of roads and adequate goods transport facilities. So this was used like other bananas. Things changed drastically in India during the past 50 years and now the bananas from South and West India are available in the fruit shops of even every small village. So the hill banana is not in much demand now. Some fruits are still offered for sale at some places. This banana is also used for preparing a sweet vegetable curry eaten along with rice in the hills of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.

Cultivation:

Hill banana plants are still planted in the back yards of village homes. There are some important other uses of a banana tree besides food, especially in religious ceremonies. So this banana is going to stay in spite of the competition from commercial bananas from tropical parts.

This banana can be planted in the areas which are too cold for the commercial tropical banana varieties.

Hill banana is a valuable genetic resource and it should be utilized.
And so I contacted Dr. Parmar. He sent me the plants as soon as they started pupping up in May (of course, this was not fully legal, but because my country is not from tropics, there are NOT that restricting policies about tropical plant import, and what is not forbidden is allowed ).
The time of the year, when the plants started pupping - MAY - says for itself, that countries with late frosts, such as my own (where some frosts can appear as late as late April), could be very suitable for growing this naner.

I will put here as many information as I will be able to gather, thanks to sufficient freezing temperatures I might even go that far this year, that I would/could possibly try and prove, how hardy these naners actually are. I will also post here pics of my progress, troubleshooting... anything, that might be of any value to you and for the record about this banana's hardiness.

I also include the average temperature data from all those periods I briefly recorded to give you an estimate as to how fast they grow and when mostly. The temperatures weren't constant, but I state only the average MAX temperatures during the day and average MIN temperatures during the night. And to that the weather condition, rainfalls etc...


21.5.2009 [day/night 31C (88F)/12C (54F), sunny, hot and extremely dry weather with balanced humidity levels (around 55%)] I received 5 corms of Musa 'Pahari Kela' (ordered 4, but the one was due to mortality rate). They were sent sometime early May, and arrived after 3 weeks of travelling. I suspect our customs of one week hold up, because the package was at least once opened and examined.
This is what the plants looked like after unpacking from Dr. Parmar's shipment.


Corms with a semi-english lawn as a background


The whole shipment along with cloth it was wrapped in to compare the size of the plants



As I found out only later, after my initial happiness, most of the corms were in quite a bad shape. Of all the corms you see there, only 4 were showing any lifesigns and all the plant parts above the soil level were cut only a week after planting them to the garden.
I had to cut 4 of these 5 corms down to the living tissue (which was sometimes deeply below the soil level) and only after that replant them again.
I also put 2 of these plants for observation into the large plastic buckets, which were meant to protect the plants by warming up the soil from all the directions, not only the top level.
It was this plants planted in the bucket, that started to show the signs of growing as the first.
I offer you some pics below...


16.6.2009 [day/night from 25 to 30C (77 to 85F)/13C (55F), sunny, hot and dry weather with low humidity (<45%)] The small remains of once larger plants started to show initial growth, which was also the signal for me to put this small naner to the ground again.


Pahari Kela in the buckets (warming up from the sun day-long)




18.6.2009 [
day/night 27C (81F)/13C (55F), sunny, hot and dry weather, low humidity] And now the same Pahari Kela plant in the ground, no damage to the root, the transplant took almost 10 seconds, no damage what-so-ever.

The growth is now quite obvious




19.6 - 25.6.2009 [day/night 23C (73F)/15C (59F), heavy rainfalls, almost no sun, calm, windy weather and extremely high humidity for the whole time (>85%)] Well, the cold spell really hit us, but PK doesn't seem to be set back or anythin like that. It's continuing with it's steady growth of 1cm a day, I think the situation will be much better, once the 1 leaf is out and the photosynthesis can do its magic. Anyways, the cold weather and heavy rainfalls seem to have given an impulse to the second pup, because the first new leafs of freshly sprouted naner are making their way to this world. This would make it 2/5 living naners so far. And there's some possible growth on the 3rd as well.

27.6.2009 [day/night 27 to 32C (81 to 90F)/15 to 18C (59 to 64F), the weather is slowly stabilizing from the cold spell that hit us a week ago, so the temps are high, yet the humidity levels remain above 75%, which could be, given the circumstances, quite tropical weather, sky's cloudy, so almost no direct sunlight for the better part of the day, when the sun comes out, the temps will fly to 32+C (90+F) very quickly] As I promised yesterday, more pics are available here. The cold front had left us before yestarday's heavy rainfall, so let's hope that it won't return, the temps are now slowly, but actively, going back to our summer normals. PK doesn't seem to mind weather changes and neither the drastic, cold spelled ones. Some other naners, like SDC planted in the soil just 5m of its poistion slowed down it's growth a little (yet obviously) when it hadn't seen the sun for a longer period. PK, on the contrary, hasn't slowed down a bit, but kept it's steady growth rate. However many other naners did as well, Dajiao, Grand Nain, Dwarf Brazilian, Raja Puri.... The only ones that rapidly slow down these days are basjoos, 'cause as I have observed before, they don't really like the hot weather that much and prefer the rainy and temperate days better.


See for yourself: did the cold spell any bad or not?



And now a big surprise, second PK is sprouting from the ground, there's only one leaf tip at the time, but it's starting...



1.7.2009 [day/night 29 to 33C (84 to 93F)/17C (63F), sunny, hot and extremely humid (50 ro more %) weather with very hot and sunny days and rain in the evening (about 15 minutes every day)] The weather has been wonderful, almost always at 30C (86F), sometimes above, sometimes very little below, almost constantly beautiful days. The pups are slowly growing and finally making progress fast enough to see it every day.
I offer you the pics of mu 2nd Pahari Kela pup and would like to hear your opinion about it. Is it a sword pup or not? Grows quite faster, much faster than the 1st Pahari Kela pup that woke up maybe a week and something earlier. Strange.


A pup in the morning


The same pup in the evening



2.7.2009
[day/night 32C (90F)/19C (68F), sunny, hot and dry weather (less than 35% humidity) during the day, in the evening traditionally a rain came and the humidity went above 85% with temps around 25C for the good part of the night.]
It was very very dry day today, I was a little concerned for all the plants today, because I stopped watering them about month ago and the rain does its magic. Yet today was especially dry weather and the soil started to be dry even deeper than on the surface within few hours. Only few of the plants reacted badly to this, mostly vegetables, bananas don't mind these changes that much and neither does Pahari Kela.
What I presumed to be a sword pup, seems to really achieve the sword pup evaluation after today, it grew to 85% of its former height in something under 17 hours and will be much taller til the morning (See the pictures).
I also had to cut the overdeveloping leaf on the first pup (PK1) to sprout. That's because it started to lean real badly and the newly emerging leaf, still furled inside it, was damaged slightly, it's tip was broken off the rest of the leaf in the point (that top part in the picture, brown...), where the first petiole was leaning. So I cut the old petiole in precisely that point and it took this pup to go maybe 4cm out today. I think that this will be the first real leaf of all these pups are trying to make (just the tip will be missing).


Pahari Kela sword pup (probably, no-one confirmed it), see the day before and how much it grows - PK2



Newly emerging leaf from PK1




4.7.2009 [day/night 31C (88F)/17C (63F), sunny, hot and dry weather (less than 35% humidity) during the day, no rain today, I didn't water anything at all.]
Yep, it's here, the PK pup nr.2 has made the first official leaf in the European soil. Whohoaaa.
I watched it closely for a while and I think it's developing some pretty good coloring. Let's hope it's that fancy as I think, it should be more obvious (or obvious at all), when it catches some sunrays (unfurled only today).
It also seems that nr.3 is sprouting, but it's corm was from a good part eaten out by the ants. I've been having some discussions with the queen for the past 3 hours and I think that she understands now the need to relocate her nest much further to the grass.
Anyways, the corm was hit pretty badly, but it also had lots of roots (many of them severed and eaten out by the ants) and there was a pup forming. Also a sprout number 4 might come soon as well, the pup seems to be growing below the surface, 'cause the soil that dries out on the surface than breaks with centre precisely where the corm was planted...
After getting rid of the ants, I put some fertilizer (really little) in there to help kick the growth of all the pups.
We might see in a week or so.





13.7.2009 [day/night 30C (86F)/14C (58F), we were hit by a cold spell and the day temperatures very resembled those of the night for a day or so, we went all the way back to 18C (64F) day max one day and then continued to grow back to our nice temperatures again, up to 30sC (85F and more), the only change is in the night temps, which radically fell down by maybe 5C - the work of the coldspell.]
Well what to add, nanas are growing even despite cold spell for a while and they actively produce about a leaf/week (or 5 to 6 days). It's a nice go actually, we'll see when they stop growing as we will be reaching 37C (100F) for a day maybe. Anyways, very high, so I wonder if they'll grow or stop for a while.
Here are of course some progress pics...

PK-1 on the first pic and PK-2 on the second pic...




13.7.2009 to 17.7.2009 [day/night 31 to 33C (88 to 92F)/19 to 21C (66 to 70F), all right, the hot wave's here again, it si very dry out and hot.]
What to add. Idle temps, idle growth, idle rest during the night, if it wasn't for the low humidity, the climatical conditions couldn't be better.


18.7.2009 [day/night 17C (63F)/12C (54F), traditionally, after the hotwave a coldwave comes. But this time it is much stronger than it used to be last 20 years or so. We are going for our summer minimums today, as the humidity rises to 95+%, wind blows at 60mph and heavy rainfalls pour from the sky. Literally, this seems more like late autumn weather, than mid July.]
Almost all the bananas stopped their growth for a day, not a leaf, not anything moved, but PKs continued with unfurling its newest leaf. Short term coldspell doesn't seem to have made such a change for this plant at all. Dwarf Brazilian also seemed quite fit with Raja Puri, whereas SDCs and DCs planted outside or in the pots started to choke that day, hteir leaves were torn and they had been recovering the next 3 days.


19.7.2009 to 23.7.2009 [day/night 31 to 35C (88 to F)/20 to 23C (68 to 74F), after the nightmarish one day of extreme lows, the humidity started to go down somewhere to 55% and the skies started to clear up. Temperatures rised the next day to 26C and from that day on as I mentioned above... 31 to 35C].
Reaching the highest peak of the day, 35C, I noticed, that during the whole day, PK hasn't moved the leaf any further than it was in the morning. These temps are obviously too much for it to take and so the nana waited for the night to start growing again. To compare, DB, RP, DC, SDC were growing quite well, although a bit slowlier and basjoo stopped at almost the same time as PK.
From this I think it's almost conclusive, that any climate with summers hotter than 35C (95F) for longer periods of time isn't suitable for growing this naner (deserts, praires, tropical climates...).
Also, the PK 3 is starting to do some movement. This is the one, that I will force to make many pups in the winter, so the more roots it has, the better.

Musa 'Pahari Kela' 1


Musa 'Pahari Kela' 2


Musa 'Pahari Kela' 3


Musa 'Pahari Kela' 3




24.7.2009to 29.7.2009 [day/night 31 to 34C (88 to 95F)/18 to 22C (64 to 71F), very low humidity (less than 30% during the day, high only in the night) and very dry, warm days with cool, windiless nights. By the end of 29.7 it was getting somewhat strange and dark, and the new cold front was about to march in.]

30.7.2009 to 3.8.2009 [day/night 26 to 30C (79 to 86F)/18 to 20C (65 to 68F), the storms came in, winds of 60kmph or (45mph) were not rare many nights. Average day temperatures were quite high for a cold front, but rather windy. Humidity climbed to skies (75+% almost constantly).]
Some leaves were torn, mostly on older plants, PK had no thorn leaves, but small holes from very fast and cold rain drops.

4.8.2009 to 9.8.2009 [day/night 30C (86F)/20 (68), surpirsingly unifor and constatn weather came in, humidity in high 50s%, calm winds and pleasant, not very intensive sun.]
Both PK grew the most in this period, but then, as the new cold front comes in, almost instinctively slowed their growth. It would almost seem, that they grow in phases and its growth is dependant from the cold/hot period.
As if they knew that the cold wave was coming.
None ofthe bananas reacts before the cold front comes, so I don't understand it. DC and other take it surprisingly well.

Windy day, sorry...



Also a P-stem detail for fanatics. Those spots you can see there are not from insects, they are all over the p-stem and seem to be like a mark of a variety.


OK, so I decided not to write each week a new temperature, but show here the official temps for my region. Add to each temperature roughly 3C (day and night temps) to get the temperature at my place (microclimate with some lakes around and the temps are measured close to the Carpathian mountain region 10km north from me, whereas I live in a plain countryside).


August

10.8.2009 to 1.10.2009 (sorry, having university classes... so don't have much of any time now...)
Although I can't really explain this volatilitility, I discovered rather puzzling fact about these bananas. When our temps reached temps close to 30C and the nights were quite warm, PK stopped growing for a few days. It is not temperature related, because each of them had different resting periods, with different intensity. In general, when one wasn't growing, the other one was. And when the first started, the second stopped.
The biggest surprise was, when PK pushed out an extremely long leaf after a regular one, which seemed as if the leaf tired the plant out for another 5 days.
Don't really know how to make heads or tails out of this situation. Dwarf Brazilian, Raja Puri, Dajiao... all of them have been growing nicely. Without any periodic stopping.
I also add some temp. tables. Add about 1-3C to each temperature to see the temp at my place.

Pics are maybe week or so old, I didn't have time to take new recently.

August 2009


September 2009


Pictures (PK1):



Pictures (PK2):





More PICS, PROGRESS and INFO WILL COME SOON
I CONTINUOSLY UPGRADE THIS FIRST POST, SO ANY AND ALL CHANGES WILL BE MADE IN A FORM OF date-based LOG ENTRIES.

Here's also the official list that I've been supposed to keep but as I found out today, I must have lost it.
So I'm sorry. A long shot of names that bump in my head are (according to the date I got PM). If you are not there from some reason, please, let me know, I will correct it:

1. Ante (Dalmatiansoap)
2. Chong (I will probably send with his shipment - certiphicates etc. also to people listed below)
  • Bob
  • winsorw
  • permaculturekidd
3. carlosfv
4. YAKUZA
5. CESAR
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Old 06-26-2009, 06:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa 'Pahari Kela' (Hill banana)

Congratulations on your success and thanks for documenting this.
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Old 06-27-2009, 12:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa 'Pahari Kela' (Hill banana)

Great report Jack. Im glad to see them growing .
Well done and keep us posted.
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Old 07-01-2009, 11:24 AM   #4 (permalink)
I think with my banana ;)
 
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Default Re: Musa 'Pahari Kela' (Hill banana)

Thanks guys, just want to share my experience with you b4 I forget them.

27th June 2009 - Added new pictures, weather description for these few days and some minor observations.
1st July 2009 - Added 2 pictures and a short weather description of the recent few days. Also a question included.
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Old 07-02-2009, 04:02 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa 'Pahari Kela' (Hill banana)

Great initiative Jack,
I think this would be a great candidate for TC, so that the species becomes at least a little more available for naner-nuts like us!
Maybe it would also be interesting to try to find out what species it really is, scientifically speaking...
Kind regards,
Remko.
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Old 07-02-2009, 04:17 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa 'Pahari Kela' (Hill banana)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Daw View Post
Thanks guys, just want to share my experience with you b4 I forget them.

27th June 2009 - Added new pictures, weather description for these few days and some minor observations.
1st July 2009 - Added 2 pictures and a short weather description of the recent few days. Also a question included.
Hello Jack,
Where do you post your pictures? When I click your gallery, I only get one picture - the one of Musa Paradisiaca sliced in half lengthwise.

Thanks.
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Old 07-02-2009, 06:09 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa 'Pahari Kela' (Hill banana)

Quote:
Originally Posted by chong View Post
Hello Jack,
Where do you post your pictures? When I click your gallery, I only get one picture - the one of Musa Paradisiaca sliced in half lengthwise.

Thanks.
In 1st post. He just updates post.
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Old 07-02-2009, 07:29 AM   #8 (permalink)
I think with my banana ;)
 
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Default Re: Musa 'Pahari Kela' (Hill banana)

Firstly, also question for another nana growers: Does it seem to be a sword pup or not. It has no real leaves, it just grows to a cetain height and then makes a small tip to the side and goes again to the height in the other direction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chong View Post
Hello Jack,
Where do you post your pictures? When I click your gallery, I only get one picture - the one of Musa Paradisiaca sliced in half lengthwise.

Thanks.
The pictures are uploaded always on Image hosting, free photo sharing & video sharing at Photobucket and from there it is pasted into this thread. This gives me an option to work with the pictures, resize, crop them after I see that they don't fit well for smaller screens etc.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalmatiansoap View Post
In 1st post. He just updates post.
Yep, Ante's right, I always update the 1st post. I made it easier to watch what's new by labelling the sections with the date they were written in (the first entry). The weather described in the brackets "[something]" briefly describes the overall and average weather of that period (few days before up to the date).
Summers here don't change that rapidly, so the rainfall and humidity are one of the most important factors there.
Also, when I add something new I also make a new post informing about the changes I made to the first post and what I actually added there. You don't really have to watch the thread, but as soon as I make a change, it sends you an e-mail with information. If you have it enabled that is.
It's a whole system.
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Old 07-02-2009, 11:22 AM   #9 (permalink)
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2nd July 2009 - Added new pictures, weather description for this day and of course progress evaluation. I also had to cut one petiole back, but read on...
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Old 07-04-2009, 04:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa 'Pahari Kela' (Hill banana)

4th July 2009 - Added new pictures, the first real leaf, hoooray...!
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Old 07-04-2009, 05:19 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa 'Pahari Kela' (Hill banana)

Bravo! It is going to be some Rock and Roll now!
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Old 07-04-2009, 06:42 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa 'Pahari Kela' (Hill banana)

No holding them back now. Just don't step on them like I did to one of mine today.
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Old 07-05-2009, 02:07 AM   #13 (permalink)
I think with my banana ;)
 
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No holding them back now. Just don't step on them like I did to one of mine today.
Ou, I am really careful about this, especially when I tend to my tomatoes in the back.
I stepped on my Sakhalin basjoo about 5 days ago and it broke in the middle. I do not understand, how it recovered, but it's nicely erect now again with no damage at all.
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Old 07-05-2009, 01:31 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa 'Pahari Kela' (Hill banana)

I don't follow the cold hardy threads so this is my first time seeing this. Very exciting for all those in cool zones! Like Remko said, you should think about TC'ing these after you get pups. Maybe even set up your own TC station and give it a shot.
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Old 07-05-2009, 01:38 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa 'Pahari Kela' (Hill banana)

Congrats, Jack! I somehow missed this thread and got to read about all of the progress all at once. Looks like you've had some success there. Hope you can get them into TC and send over here!

I'd say the pup in the 1st July photos is a sword sucker but I'm not too sure about the photo from 4th July.
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Old 07-05-2009, 03:11 PM   #16 (permalink)
I think with my banana ;)
 
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Congrats, Jack! I somehow missed this thread and got to read about all of the progress all at once. Looks like you've had some success there. Hope you can get them into TC and send over here!

I'd say the pup in the 1st July photos is a sword sucker but I'm not too sure about the photo from 4th July.
Thanks, I hope to propagate them this winter and the next summer in somewhat different ways than TC, letting them "mutate" (no cloning probably, I will use some Central American propagating techniques, if the plants are big enough). I will also start making US generation ASAP to trade with someone in US, who has permits to distribute it to all of you.
Phyto shouldn't be a problem as long as I know which phytos are necessary for US customs. But that's a lot of time 'til then.

I thought so, that the PK-2 was a sword pup, but that leaf just got me. I think that swords are going like that, but don't form the leaf so quickly... but I've only seen the sword pups of large plants like IC or Saba. This one "only" reaches something above 3m if I recall well.

Also the leaves are unlike anything I've touched before. My Cavendishes, Grand Nains, basjoo, Dajiaos... they all have their leafs much much much softer than this plant (well, basjoo is the closest of all those touch feelings I had ). It also has small brown variegation unlike any Cavendish type so I'm really waiting for it to show some cool variegation with the latter leaves. Or maybe it was just the dried out soil after watering.

Anyways, it's quite cool, none of the nanas is so promising as this one so I really hope it will live to its Indian reputation.
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:34 AM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Musa 'Pahari Kela' (Hill banana)

Wow would love to get my hands on a couple of those, Here in NC US zone 8 they should do well, hope someone here starts growing them.
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Old 07-08-2009, 06:14 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa 'Pahari Kela' (Hill banana)

Great write-up, Jack! Work of art!
Hey cowpoke, Euro zones & US zones are always much the same; might wanna check with a Koppen vegitation map, first (Just to be safe). Jack can tell ya more about those.
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Old 07-08-2009, 08:09 PM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Musa 'Pahari Kela' (Hill banana)

North Carolina is a strange state North Carolina is located in a warm temperate zone, its diverse regions can experience a great variety of weather conditions. While locations in the mountains may see average temperatures of 30 degrees Fahrenheit in January and 65 degrees Fahrenheit in August, locations in the coastal plains can often experience January averages in the mid 40's and August averages in the 90's. The state averages 44 inches of rainfall each year, and 5 inches of snow.
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Old 07-08-2009, 11:42 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa 'Pahari Kela' (Hill banana)

Hey cowpoke, good shooting! In OK it's sand, dust, salt, and some signs of life in the east. Can see ya know your stuff; will be watching your posts to see how Pahari Kela fares in the liveable parts of the U.S.A.!
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