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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 04-20-2019, 09:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My Musa itinerans var. xishuanbannaensis planted in VA

*Edit: It is NOT actually xishuangbannaensis... it's itinerans var ITINERANS *

Just wanted to make a new thread on this banana from my own point of view as i try growing it in the soil and overwintering it in VA this year.

I received the plant from Brian's Botanicals and according to Bananas.org thread Musa yunnanensis officially described! it is confirmed to be Musa itinerans var. xishuanbannaensis.

I have seen posts all over claiming this banana to be either cold hardy, or not so cold hardy. Brian from Brian's Botanicals claims he treats his like basjoos during the winter in Kentucky. So, knowing it's the 2nd largest banana plant in the world and could potentially be cold hardy here, I had to try it. I bought a $130 jumbo corm (that I requested to be sent in February for indoor prep) and a small $17 version to be sent about now (for backup in case I mess something up).

It has been over 2 months so far and mine has a pseudo of about 31 inches. I planted it 19 inches deep today in naturally sandy/silty soil along with all of its potting mix. The pseudo as of now is 12" above the soil. I then gave it a 10oz cup filled with solid 10/10/10 fertilizer and watered thoroughly. Didn't want to give too much fertilizer yet. The location I chose should be prime. It is planted on the intersection of 2 hills so it will never sit in standing water. The soil also drains very well. The measured, direct sunlight today was 3 hours, and will reach about 5 by June/July. From 3:17-6:17 today it received direct and less-harsh sun (as opposed to 12:00 noon sun). I have seen forums where this variety and other itinerans burn with "full sun", so mine can get filtered light throughout the harshest light of the day, and have less-intense direct light (by about 4pm here, the ozone blocks the harshest UV rays.) So about 43 min of harsh direct light and the rest of it is milder.

I also had huge success with my basjoos this winter where I didn't lose a single large pseudo with my overwintering process, so I have confidence I can keep this one alive with proper winterization outdoors. I also have the backup just in case I fail.

Here is my basjoo winterization this year: IMG_20190109_102806

Here they are as of April 13th IMG_20190413_192628
IMG_20190413_192623

Here is my xishuan. when I received it on Feb. 22nd, 2019 Musa itinerans var xishuanbannaensis planted 19 inches deep today!
Musa itinerans var xishuanbannaensis planted 19 inches deep today!

Here it is March 6th Musa itinerans var xishuanbannaensis planted 19 inches deep today!

March 13th Musa itinerans var xishuanbannaensis planted 19 inches deep today!

Today (last day of being indoors!) Musa itinerans var xishuanbannaensis planted 19 inches deep today!

The location Musa itinerans var xishuanbannaensis planted 19 inches deep today!

The depth Musa itinerans var xishuanbannaensis planted 19 inches deep today!
Musa itinerans var xishuanbannaensis planted 19 inches deep today!

Hole filled in Musa itinerans var xishuanbannaensis planted 19 inches deep today!

Right in the middle of 2 hills Musa itinerans var xishuanbannaensis planted 19 inches deep today!

From on the deck (it looks so tiny!) Musa itinerans var xishuanbannaensis planted 19 inches deep today!

And finally, the sunlight and wind hitting it at 4:33 today makes it look so majestic. Musa itinerans var xishuanbannaensis planted 19 inches deep today!

Wish me luck! Hopefully I don't need it. I have done my research and this thing should thrive in these conditions. I will post updates when requested or when I feel they are necessary. Thanks for reading and wish me luck!

Last edited by nealnick5 : 04-29-2019 at 09:52 PM.
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Old 04-20-2019, 10:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Cold Re: My Musa itinerans var. xishuanbannaensis planted in VA

I expect to reach a height of 15-20 feet this first year (with proper watering and fertilization), and I only expect it to ever reach about 25 feet tall here because of winter. I have no hopes of it reaching the alleged 40 feet and I am fine with that. My hopes are that it will tower over my basjoos and spread like crazy. It is only April 20th, so I have very high hopes for this nanner.
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Old 04-20-2019, 10:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Musa itinerans var. xishuanbannaensis planted in VA

Almost forgot to mention that I planted it so deeply because I have had great success in the past doing this with my basjoos. It is just mainly for thorough winterization purposes. My hopes are that the rhizomes and current/new corms will all be better-protected from the 0F to 10F low temperatures here in Jan and Feb. The winter was mild this year.. only reached a few below 10F a few times here as opposed to last year where it hit 0F here and several nights of 3-5F temps. Better safe than sorry! Plus there is also a low possibility of fertilizer root-burn on this newly-planted banana with it being so deep in the ground. Let's see if I can hit 15-20ft pseudo this year!
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Old 04-21-2019, 06:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: My Musa itinerans var. xishuanbannaensis planted in VA

from the start of the pstem to the surface of the soil
what is the deepest you have planted with success in dry sandy soil

i have yet to successfully overwinter a basjoo but i have one which is on a roll indoors
so hopefully might get big enough to attempt to leave it in the ground

looking forward to seeing you're new banana progress!

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Old 04-21-2019, 10:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Musa itinerans var. xishuanbannaensis planted in VA

Well, it turns out I didn't read the threads enough. It was later confirmed to be var. itinerans due to the lack of hermaphroditic fruit and red/watery sap when petiole is cut. Here's the official observation of them all... http://english.xtbg.cas.cn/rh/ss/hm/...1632122228.pdf. Looks like mine will only reach 15 feet tall. Very upset about being mislead by Brian's website, which states they can reach 40 feet in the wild. Not sure why xishuanbannaensis is so hard to obtain in the USA...
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Old 04-21-2019, 10:26 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Musa itinerans var. xishuanbannaensis planted in VA

Quote:
Originally Posted by subsonicdrone View Post
from the start of the pstem to the surface of the soil
what is the deepest you have planted with success in dry sandy soil

i have yet to successfully overwinter a basjoo but i have one which is on a roll indoors
so hopefully might get big enough to attempt to leave it in the ground

looking forward to seeing you're new banana progress!
Thank you subsonicdrone, me too! Even though it's not the banana plant I wanted, it's still cool to have another (alleged) cold hardy variety.

The deepest I have ever planted a basjoo is with the pseudo 1.5 feet deep, and including the corm it was close to 2 feet deep total. And with my so-so winterization in 2018 (banana pseudos and leaves, straw, and mulch) the pseudo planted that deeply survived. Most of them did, but they lost a ton of pseudo due to getting wet. I feel that planting them deeply allows them to grow much larger underground, so even the pups will be huge when they finally emerge. Just my opinion from observations, though.

I feel the most important thing with pseudo preservation is keeping the cut sections dry (and roots). If they get wet, they rot faster. Plus, the black plastic I used trapped in heat. It's the type of plastic they put on the floors in basements that have dirt floors instead of concrete. Think it's called a moisture barrier or something. It was like $50 for 1000sqft. at Home Depot.

Do any of your pups return outdoors or does the whole mat die?
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Old 04-21-2019, 11:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: My Musa itinerans var. xishuanbannaensis planted in VA

Quote:
Originally Posted by nealnick5 View Post
Just wanted to make a new thread on this banana from my own point of view as i try growing it in the soil and overwintering it in VA this year.

I received the plant from Brian's Botanicals and according to Bananas.org thread Musa yunnanensis officially described! it is confirmed to be Musa itinerans var. xishuanbannaensis.

I have seen posts all over claiming this banana to be either cold hardy, or not so cold hardy. Brian from Brian's Botanicals claims he treats his like basjoos during the winter in Kentucky. So, knowing it's the 2nd largest banana plant in the world and could potentially be cold hardy here, I had to try it. I bought a $130 jumbo corm (that I requested to be sent in February for indoor prep) and a small $17 version to be sent about now (for backup in case I mess something up).

It has been over 2 months so far and mine has a pseudo of about 31 inches. I planted it 19 inches deep today in naturally sandy/silty soil along with all of its potting mix. The pseudo as of now is 12" above the soil. I then gave it a 10oz cup filled with solid 10/10/10 fertilizer and watered thoroughly. Didn't want to give too much fertilizer yet. The location I chose should be prime. It is planted on the intersection of 2 hills so it will never sit in standing water. The soil also drains very well. The measured, direct sunlight today was 3 hours, and will reach about 5 by June/July. From 3:17-6:17 today it received direct and less-harsh sun (as opposed to 12:00 noon sun). I have seen forums where this variety and other itinerans burn with "full sun", so mine can get filtered light throughout the harshest light of the day, and have less-intense direct light (by about 4pm here, the ozone blocks the harshest UV rays.) So about 43 min of harsh direct light and the rest of it is milder.

I also had huge success with my basjoos this winter where I didn't lose a single large pseudo with my overwintering process, so I have confidence I can keep this one alive with proper winterization outdoors. I also have the backup just in case I fail.

Here is my basjoo winterization this year: IMG_20190109_102806

Here they are as of April 13th IMG_20190413_192628
IMG_20190413_192623

Here is my xishuan. when I received it on Feb. 22nd, 2019 Musa itinerans var xishuanbannaensis planted 19 inches deep today!
Musa itinerans var xishuanbannaensis planted 19 inches deep today!

Here it is March 6th Musa itinerans var xishuanbannaensis planted 19 inches deep today!

March 13th Musa itinerans var xishuanbannaensis planted 19 inches deep today!

Today (last day of being indoors!) Musa itinerans var xishuanbannaensis planted 19 inches deep today!

The location Musa itinerans var xishuanbannaensis planted 19 inches deep today!

The depth Musa itinerans var xishuanbannaensis planted 19 inches deep today!
Musa itinerans var xishuanbannaensis planted 19 inches deep today!

Hole filled in Musa itinerans var xishuanbannaensis planted 19 inches deep today!

Right in the middle of 2 hills Musa itinerans var xishuanbannaensis planted 19 inches deep today!

From on the deck (it looks so tiny!) Musa itinerans var xishuanbannaensis planted 19 inches deep today!

And finally, the sunlight and wind hitting it at 4:33 today makes it look so majestic. Musa itinerans var xishuanbannaensis planted 19 inches deep today!

Wish me luck! Hopefully I don't need it. I have done my research and this thing should thrive in these conditions. I will post updates when requested or when I feel they are necessary. Thanks for reading and wish me luck!
Please, what zone are you in, Virginia has several? I am in zone 6 Missouri. My Basjoos freeze to the ground every year with no cover and return come spring. They are heavily mulched year around. I am trying to save some Pseudo this year. Hoping one day to get a flower.
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Old 04-21-2019, 11:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Musa itinerans var. xishuanbannaensis planted in VA

Just sent this message to brian.. very disappointed. "Brian, I love this plant so far but I recently discovered that it is itinerant var. itinerans, which only reaches 5m height, according to banana experts Hakkinen, Hong, and Ge. I love everything else you sent me but this was misleading about the certain product. The only banana plant (other than ingenues) to reach 40 feet or more is Must itinerans var. xishuangbannaensis. Itinerans var. itinerans only reaches 15 ft, a far cry from the alleged 40 feet your site claims. So Mekong Giant is actually itinerans var. itinerans. I know mine is not the 40ft giant because the petiole sap is not “watery red” as Hakkinen, Hong and Ge describe. Also, the 40 foot giant has pseudo colors of green with “purple-red splotches”, whereas yours has “reddish-brown” pseudo, meaning the whole thing turns reddish-brown with no splotches. I am very disappointed as I spent $120 + $14 on these xishuanbannaensis knockoffs solely for the purposes of reaching 20-25 in colder climates. The one you sent me will only ever reach 15ft, and I never would have purchased it otherwise, as my basjoos reach 12ft every year. That was good enough for me… I wanted the giant. Basjoo > itinerans, as it reaches 17ft in the wild. Here’s the article that accurately describes them.. perhaps you should read it. I’m not asking for a refund, but just letting you know that I will not purchase from you again. http://english.xtbg.cas.cn/rh/ss/hm/...1632122228.pdf I am making it known on the bananas.org forum that this is not accurately-described. I am sorry if others choose not to buy this plant from you based off of my thread, but at least I can sleep in peace knowing I helped others prevent themselves from making this same error.

Nick"
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Old 04-21-2019, 11:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Musa itinerans var. xishuanbannaensis planted in VA

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Originally Posted by George Webster View Post
Please, what zone are you in, Virginia has several? I am in zone 6 Missouri. My Basjoos freeze to the ground every year with no cover and return come spring. They are heavily mulched year around. I am trying to save some Pseudo this year. Hoping one day to get a flower.
George, USDA zones 7b is what I get from this website https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/pla...ting-zones.htm. How do you normally overwinter yours? I have had success here chopping to 1ft-1.5 feet pseudo. I'll do 2.5 or 3 foot pseudos this year. I used the stems and leaves first from the chopped nanas, compacting them amongst the pseudos, then liberal amounts of straw, and finally covering the whole bunches with black plastic wrap. This wrap was $50 from Home Depot.. pretty sure it's called "moisture barrier" or something. I got the "heavy duty" one. I got the thickest possible.. 1000sqft for $50. I put this over the 18 bunches (tightly) and used large staples to hold the plastic down. I also used bricks on several sides of the wrap for further hold (from wind). I did this to all 18 bunches of about 9 bananas total per bunch, ranging from new pups to the old pseudos. The wrap wasn't wide enough for the largest bunches, so I used 2 strips per large bunch (5ft width and probably 6 ft. length) and combined the 2 using the staples and bricks. I think the plastic moisture barrier wrap was 200 feet of 5ft (width)... = 1000 sqft.

Essentially, the plastic wrap traps in heat from the sun, as black color draws the most heat. The straw insulates. Finally, the leaves and pseudos (cut from the 1.5ft remaining pseudos) decompose all winter, since they are removed from the main plants and decompose all winter, resulting in exothermic reactions (decomposition provides heat). So, the chopped leaves and pseudos provide decompositional heat, with straw on top to keep the frost from penetrating everything, and finally the thick plastic wrap keeps everything from feeling frost and also from the 1.5ft cut pseudos from getting wet. I see it like this: when you chop a pseudo and it gets wet from rain, it slowly starts decomposing. But, if you manage to keep them dry, they will "diffuse" much more slowly. Here is the link to the thread where I did this in Zone "7b" (VA on the Rappahannock River) Basjoo's fruiting before frost in 20-30 days

Hope this helps. This is only my second year overwintering, but i saved 100% of large or medium pseudos this way, and only lost a few small pups on the edges of the wrap.
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Old 04-22-2019, 12:07 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Musa itinerans var. xishuanbannaensis planted in VA

I did run into problems of warm winter days making the nanas grow and put growing pressure on the plastic, but I simply corrected this behavior by breaking the pseudo growth (via pressing on the growing sections and breaking them) with my hand, keeping them from lifting the plastic up anymore. This still = minimal rot/water damage since they're insulated from any rain, snow, frost, or cold winds that could freeze the pseudos. I wish I had done an in-depth winterization, but I thought I was a novice and didn't. I will definitely make a post on what I did this fall... hopefully I can help others! My winters aren't as harsh as some people's, but the science is the same. Protection from frost, heat via plastic wrap and decomposition of dismembered leaves/pseudos, and finally protection of water reaching the cut pseudostems = less rot). Hope this helps you. I have had success with it.. and this was only my second winterization. Thanks to this, my pseudos are already 1 month ahead of schedule compared to my minimalistic winterization last year.

Last edited by nealnick5 : 04-22-2019 at 12:22 AM.
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Old 04-22-2019, 05:32 AM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: My Musa itinerans var. xishuanbannaensis planted in VA

i gave away many basjoo a couple seasons ago
i instructed people to plant them in the ground and each tried a slightly different way of protecting them
some with a mesh cylinder full of leaves and capped with plastic
some with no protection at all
the only ones that survived were the 2 that one person brought inside in the fall
all the others died completely.. no pups came up

most were on flat ground... could be problem #1
too wet likely and definitely did not get planted as deep as youres

none were huge.. maybe not enough stored energy in the corm

i may try to mound up some sand.. plant deep... lots of wood chips..
possibly a little low tunnel over top so when the moisture condenses to the plastic it runs to the sides
it will be a balance to get some heat from the composting chips but not so much that they wake up too early or get cooked
just trying to get pups to sprout not keep a pstem alive...

this is in toronto,canada

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Old 04-23-2019, 03:43 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Smile Re: My Musa itinerans var. xishuanbannaensis planted in VA

Good luck.

The plant is a runner so give it some room to spread.
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Old 04-27-2019, 02:12 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Musa itinerans var. xishuanbannaensis planted in VA

It is a runner for sure! I have had pups come up in order! 3’, 4’, 8’!!! And they are small! Seems like they don’t handle the heat here as good as others. But overall they are very pretty plants! And they never slowed down all this past winter! For sure out-preformed my basjoo!

I’ve seen pictures of them sending pups as far as 30’ so plan ahead!!
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Old 04-29-2019, 09:50 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Musa itinerans var. xishuanbannaensis planted in VA

Quote:
Originally Posted by subsonicdrone View Post
i gave away many basjoo a couple seasons ago
i instructed people to plant them in the ground and each tried a slightly different way of protecting them
some with a mesh cylinder full of leaves and capped with plastic
some with no protection at all
the only ones that survived were the 2 that one person brought inside in the fall
all the others died completely.. no pups came up

most were on flat ground... could be problem #1
too wet likely and definitely did not get planted as deep as youres

none were huge.. maybe not enough stored energy in the corm

i may try to mound up some sand.. plant deep... lots of wood chips..
possibly a little low tunnel over top so when the moisture condenses to the plastic it runs to the sides
it will be a balance to get some heat from the composting chips but not so much that they wake up too early or get cooked
just trying to get pups to sprout not keep a pstem alive...

this is in toronto,canada
I have noticed out of all of mine, 3 patches actually have not returned so far. They had no protection but still were on a hill and had fairly dry soil. They were planted last fall in the woods last year for fun. Of the 5 total, 3 died. The 2 survivors were about twice the size (2-3 feet). So size definitely makes a large difference. I think the main difference is also climate.

And I wouldn't worry about "cooking them" because that's BS lol mine did not burn or suffer under the plastic. They actually liked it so much they started growing early lol! But seriously I wouldn't worry about them waking up early. It clearly does not hurt them. Mine have close to 4 foot pseudos already.

Found the link to the plastic https://www.lowes.com/pd/BARRICADE-1...ing/1000158151 only mine was the black one (traps more heat).

But definitely give this winterization method a try.. maybe you can experiment on different nanas this winter and see with winterization method worked the best. I still think keeping them dry is the most important thing (both roots and pseudos).
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Old 04-29-2019, 09:55 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Musa itinerans var. xishuanbannaensis planted in VA

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Originally Posted by cincinnana View Post
Good luck.

The plant is a runner so give it some room to spread.
Well, since I can't go for extreme vertical distance on this nanner, may as well go for extreme horizontal distance lol thanks I hope it does well this winter.. have heard mixed opinions about this one
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Old 04-29-2019, 10:02 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Musa itinerans var. xishuanbannaensis planted in VA

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Originally Posted by Tytaylor77 View Post
It is a runner for sure! I have had pups come up in order! 3í, 4í, 8í!!! And they are small! Seems like they donít handle the heat here as good as others. But overall they are very pretty plants! And they never slowed down all this past winter! For sure out-preformed my basjoo!

Iíve seen pictures of them sending pups as far as 30í so plan ahead!!
That is crazy.. well thankfully they're on the hill and in a place away from any lawns or gardens so they won't invade my other stuff... for now! haha but I hope they can go 30 feet in all directions, but the article I read and posted.. the dude said they only send pups 6 feet I believe (too lazy to check).. So what you saw must have been a pup shooting another pup, shooting another pup, etc. for a total of 5 pups haha that sounds so cool.

I really hope is does well this winter. It's about 10-15 degrees colder where I am than you so I may even do a double plastic layer or something on the mother plant, and regular on the pups. Just for reassurance my incorrectly advertised $120 plant survives haha
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