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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 03-19-2010, 12:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Need Musa Basjoo tips for Zone 6 (GTA, Ontario)

Hi all,

So I purchased 2 Musa Basjoo plants and I plan on keeping one indoors for at least a year and putting one of them outside.

My question is, for anyone in Zone 6, do you have any tips?

Things to note:

- The soil has quite a bit of clay

- I'm located in a corner house and my front yard gets a lot of afternoon sun (probably a good 4 - 6 hours a day during the summer)


Question:

1) I know that the Basjoo requires good drainage so how deep should I dig and should I try and have it planted a little elevated so that water will not form into a puddle?

2) Would it be okay to put it right in my front yard where it will get a lot of afternoon sun and not much shade?

3) How long should I wait before planting it outside? The weather is pretty nice now, about 15c on average.

4) I have had rabbits in my front yard attack my maple trees. Do you think that I should protect the banana tree?

Thanks and I apologize for the long post! I'm just excited to get started.
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Old 03-19-2010, 01:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Hello,Im in london,down the highway.I overwintered basjoo this winter outdoors and glad to say it was succesfull.The p stem didnt make it but the corm is firm and pups still green.I grow mine in the same conditions as you !!!!PM me if you want me to go in to details,good luck!!!!

Hello,Im in london,down the highway.I overwintered basjoo this winter outdoors and glad to say it was succesfull.The p stem didnt make it but the corm is firm and pups still green.I grow mine in the same conditions as you !!!!PM me if you want me to go in to details,good luck!!!!
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Old 03-19-2010, 01:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Im in zone 9 I have no tips but check this out


Sorry wrong zone 6
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Old 03-25-2010, 11:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Need Musa Basjoo tips for Zone 6 (GTA, Ontario)

Hi Mark, I'm in downtown Toronto.

Sounds like you are going to do what I did. My plant that went outside did far better than the one that stayed indoors all the time (and finally died in January)

I haven't overwintered a plant outdoors yet, but have successfully overwintered (so far) a plant indoors that is now 4 feet tall and has 4 new pups sprouting. We won't get into the ones that didn't make it....

Just curious... where'd you buy your plants from?

Someone else will correct me if wrong but you will need to have really good draining soil in the area. I dug out a big area as it was pretty clayish as well, and put in soil with manure and vermiculite, perlite so that it drains better. The plant loves water, especially in hot weather, but the roots will not like soggy spots - so make sure it drains well. I don't think you want it sitting too high as the roots don't go too deep and you may run the risk of it blowing over in one of our summer windstorms.

Don't plant the plant too deep. Nor should much of the "bulbish" area at the bottom of the pstem be exposed too much. Look at some members photos here for a guide.

I suspect you'd have best results in the front yard without much shade. The plant I put in the garden last year got sun for about 4 hours a day, and didn't do nearly as well as the plant the year before that got sun the whole day. NOTE: you cannot plunk the indoor plant outside in the hot sun right away... it's leaves will get sunburnt. Try taking it out on sunny warm days (like we had last week) before the hot sun comes so it can get used to the sun. If, after you've planted it, the existing leaves still turn brown, don't be discouraged. It may take a while, but the new leaves will be green and be used to the sunlight. My first plant did that. Fortunately I was too lazy to get around to do anything with what appeared to be a dead banana and one day noticed a new green leaf shooting up.

Hard to say with the wonky weather this year, but I don't plant outside until May. I'm inclined to stick with the May 24 weekend guideline that goes with most gardening here, but I may revise that as we get further into spring. Yes, last week and even today was nice, but as you know... tonight may be -12 and a high tomorrow of 0c. We've had snow in April before! I've had fairly good luck moving mine outside during the day if its 13c or more as it's fairly well protected from wind and gets quite warm, and then moving it back in before the sun goes down.

My indoor bananas don't get enough light without the use of grow lights, even though I have a southern exposure. My first year, they all died. As I said, so far I have one survivor this year, but I don't think I'll overwinter indoors again. It's a LOT of work here. I turned a bathroom into a grow house with humidifier, heater and grow lights. It's a real balancing act with light, heat and water. Major problems with spider mites. Plus which, this years plant will hopefully be 12 feet tall by Fall, so that limits me as I don't have a garage or basement. I suspect I'll try overwintering it outside as hopefully by then the corm will be fairly substantial and survive better. Who knows, I may change my mind by then.

I don't know what to suggest about the rabbits. My problem is with squirrels that aren't afraid of humans (thanks to the neighbors that feed 'em) digging in the yard to the point where it looks like a mini war zone. They haven't eaten any of the banana plants I've planted in the yard as far as I can tell. You could try putting up a circular enclosure around the banana to start with, just in case they decide to nibble at it. I got this stuff at Canadian Tire that looks like chicken wire but is plastic, not as unattractive (it's white) and is actually made to wrap evergreens during winter. It's very pliable and I don't think the rabbits would be able to climb it.

Finally, Since you are on a corner, you may want to plant it on the side where it will get the least amount of wind, or stake it. (Though I imagine it would look great at the corner of the house!) I lost a banana plant last summer (even before we even got that monster storm in August) as the wind snapped it. Plus which, the leaves will shred, which isn't bad for the plant, but some don't find it as aesthetically pleasing.

Sorry for the long winded response. Hopefully some of it will be of help.
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Old 03-26-2010, 08:44 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need Musa Basjoo tips for Zone 6 (GTA, Ontario)

Hey Tom, thanks for the long response actually. It was very nice to read about your experiences.

Well I wanted to purchase it from BambooWorld in Vancouver but they are not currently selling yet. (Will start selling during April)

I purchased my 2 Musa Basjoo's from Flora Exotica. A guy by the name of Perry owns it.
Flora Exotica - Exotic Landscape Plants

These are the prices on his site:
Plant in 4" pot, 20cm high: $10
Plant in 6" pot, 50cm high: $20
Plant in 8" pot, 70cm high: $40
Plant in 10" pot, 100cm high: $60

I purchased 2 of the 50cm plants because those were the only ones available at the moment and it cost me $60 CAD shipped in total.

I should be receiving the plants today and will definitely take pics and post up on the "quality" if possible.

So you haven't actually overwintered your plant outdoors yet?

I looked through your gallery but I don't see any pictures of your 4 ft plant, could you post some pictures?

By the way, how long do you plan on just bringing it outdoors for the summer, and then bringing it in for the winter?

Do you leave it in the pot when you bring it out in the summer? Or do you actually plant it outdoors..and then dig it up and re-pot it for the winter?

Also, how big should the pot be if I plan on keeping it outdoors in its pot for the summer and then bringing it back indoors for the winter?

Sorry for so many questions but I just really want to be prepared for my attempt at overwintering it outdoors.
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:08 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Need Musa Basjoo tips for Zone 6 (GTA, Ontario)

Thanks for the link. I'll have to check it out.

So you haven't actually overwintered your plant outdoors yet?
No I have not.

I looked through your gallery but I don't see any pictures of your 4 ft plant, could you post some pictures?
Hm. I thought it was there. I'll have to take some new ones. Its a bit of a mess right now.

By the way, how long do you plan on just bringing it outdoors for the summer, and then bringing it in for the winter?
No. Right now the plan is to try overwintering it outside. By fall it will be too big to keep inside my place without cutting it back, and it's been very labor intensive to keep it alive indoors this year. I live in a townhouse and my ground floor doesn't get much sun. I may feel differently depending on how big it grows this year.

Do you leave it in the pot when you bring it out in the summer? Or do you actually plant it outdoors..and then dig it up and re-pot it for the winter?
You can do either! I planted mine in the ground. More difficult for someone with sticky fingers to walk off with.

Also, how big should the pot be if I plan on keeping it outdoors in its pot for the summer and then bringing it back indoors for the winter?
I don't know, but I'm sure someone else who has done this will speak up. I'm fairly certain it'd have to be a largeish pot as it will dry out very quickly once the really warm weather gets here.
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:15 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need Musa Basjoo tips for Zone 6 (GTA, Ontario)

Thanks! and please do try to get pics, I'd love to see the plant that's for sure.
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:21 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Need Musa Basjoo tips for Zone 6 (GTA, Ontario)



It's the larger of the two.
Taken back when both plants were alive. Both were the same age, purchased from BambooWorld. Smaller one kept inside, larger one planted outside in the ground.

Smaller one died off in January. Not sure of the cause. Had a nasty bout with spider mites and mushy pstem. I cut it back to the ground but nothing has grown back on it.
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:25 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need Musa Basjoo tips for Zone 6 (GTA, Ontario)

Ah I see, but that's not 4 feet is it?

By the way, is it the musa basjoo in particular that doesn't tend to do too well indoors? I'm asking because I did buy one of those dwarf banana plants from Terra Greenhouses and it's been growing pretty well for the past year!

It actually has a pup too!
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Old 03-26-2010, 11:18 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Need Musa Basjoo tips for Zone 6 (GTA, Ontario)

As I said, that photo is not recent.

Anyhow, I can't comment on dwarfs as I've never had one. Maybe I'll get one this year and try it out. People will have different experiences depending on your home, climate, light levels, humidity and watering. I know people that keep basjoo indoors all year round with no problems. Others get spindly like mine until they get back outdoors.

Good luck with your plants.
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