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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 11-01-2009, 10:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Cold Protecting in-ground banana plants from cold?

Howdy,

I would like some advice on protecting in ground banana plants form "cold" winter weather. I am in Zone 9.

I have two plants in the ground with ~6ft of psudostem, that will likely flower next summer if I can protect them. I have never fruited bananas before, but have sucessfully grown many other marginal tropical plants here.

I would like to hear advice and experiences related to protecting plants in the ground.

Pictures of your methods would be great.

Thanks,

Jeff
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Old 11-01-2009, 05:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Protecting in-ground banana plants from cold?

Since I'm in a 7a zone, I'm not sure my experience would help, but I cut my basjoo to a few feet high and mulch heavily with straw (all other types I dig and bring inside). I'm sure someone from your area will chime in. Good luck.
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Old 11-01-2009, 09:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Protecting in-ground banana plants from cold?

I live on the border of zone 8/9 --we had 23 for a low last winter and I have 4 bananas that bloomed--I just picked my first bunch. I got the thru the winter by wrapping the stem with landscape cloth. However, the banana I have is Orinoco and it is pretty cold tolerant--so survival is very dependent on the variety.
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Old 11-02-2009, 12:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Protecting in-ground banana plants from cold?

I would think simply wrapping the stems in burlap fabric should be sufficient in zone 9 or a combination of burlap and bubble wrap. You could protect the pups by piling on the mulch so they are mostly covered/surrounded by it.

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Old 11-02-2009, 04:15 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Protecting in-ground banana plants from cold?

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I would think simply wrapping the stems in burlap fabric should be sufficient in zone 9 or a combination of burlap and bubble wrap. You could protect the pups by piling on the mulch so they are mostly covered/surrounded by it.

http://www.tropic.ca/images/misc/Banana%20snowman.jpg

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Yeah in Zone 9B (woodland) do not do any cutting, burlap should be fine. just wrap it well. Also keep the roots dry as you can as they can rot
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Old 11-02-2009, 08:36 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Protecting in-ground banana plants from cold?

The gardening editor for our loacl paper suggests stacking trash bags of rotting leaves around the trunks of bananas and semi-hardy citrus. I've never found the need to do this, but I can see how it would help. We may lose leaves in a frost or freeze, but the p-stems come through just fine.

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Old 11-03-2009, 09:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Protecting in-ground banana plants from cold?

Here in Pensacola, without protection I usually have to cut the p-stem back about a 1/3 to 1/2 to get them to come out in the spring, and they rarely bloom.

One of the benefits of the lanscape cloth over burlap is it does not get wet and it is more durable--also pretty cheap.

I was also surprised by how much protection a tree canopy can provide. One of 2 unprotected stems I had was under a tree canopy--I had moved it there the yr before--it survived and bloomed first. The other was fully exposed to the cold and even though I cut it back by at least a 1/3 the next spring--it died to the ground.
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Old 11-03-2009, 10:19 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Protecting in-ground banana plants from cold?

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Here in Pensacola, without protection I usually have to cut the p-stem back about a 1/3 to 1/2 to get them to come out in the spring, and they rarely bloom.

One of the benefits of the lanscape cloth over burlap is it does not get wet and it is more durable--also pretty cheap.

I was also surprised by how much protection a tree canopy can provide. One of 2 unprotected stems I had was under a tree canopy--I had moved it there the yr before--it survived and bloomed first. The other was fully exposed to the cold and even though I cut it back by at least a 1/3 the next spring--it died to the ground.
That's surprising since I'm only an hour west of slb. I guess the evergreen live oak canopy and urban heat bubble make all the difference. I've never had to take any of these measures - I just cut off ratty looking winter-burned leaves and wait for spring. Exposure must be the key.
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Old 11-03-2009, 10:27 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Protecting in-ground banana plants from cold?

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That's surprising since I'm only an hour west of slb. I guess the evergreen live oak canopy and urban heat bubble make all the difference. I've never had to take any of these measures - I just cut off ratty looking winter-burned leaves and wait for spring. Exposure must be the key.
You are even further north about 20 miles, but I am on the edge of the city, pretty exposed to strong NE winds across the bay. The tree canopy effect surprised me--I think it has a pretty big effect. The one that died is right on the edge of my lot next to a lot that is totally treeless--fully exposed to NW winds. That is where this bunch of bananas has been for the past 20 yrs.
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Old 11-05-2009, 04:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Protecting in-ground banana plants from cold?

Jeff,
From your original post, it would seem like you want fruit.
Cutting the tops down could potentially stop or certainly reduce fruit production since the reproductive/flowering parts could be above the cut point.
Pseudostem protection is key to fruiting bananas.

Cheers, Barrie.
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Old 11-05-2009, 04:15 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Protecting in-ground banana plants from cold?

When do you stop watering and feeding bananas and wrap them? when the lows get to 40's, 30's ?
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Old 11-05-2009, 05:02 PM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Protecting in-ground banana plants from cold?

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When do you stop watering and feeding bananas and wrap them? when the lows get to 40's, 30's ?
My opinion is this. When the day temps no longer even reach upper 50s, stop watering/feeding them since they are not growing anyway. But keep them slightly moist. When the threat of frost comes, then wrap them good and stop watering. Actually for me, it's not the cold that gets them but the cool rain. Rots them. If I could keep them dry, they would do fine.
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Old 11-06-2009, 03:17 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Protecting in-ground banana plants from cold?

Thanks that helps a lot. Gives me some idea of when to stop watering. Dont want them to rot.
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Old 11-06-2009, 04:57 PM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Protecting in-ground banana plants from cold?

Lonie,

The only water mine get are from rain showers starting this month and through the middle of March. I start fertilizing in April when new growth starts to show up.

Steve
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Old 11-06-2009, 05:57 PM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Protecting in-ground banana plants from cold?

Thanks Steve. I have been planning to call you and come see what you have. I have a project that you might be interested in. Will give you a call later today.
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Old 11-08-2009, 08:53 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Protecting in-ground banana plants from cold?

I just happened to think of something that should be useful in wrapping and protecting bananas--used window screen. I have about 100 ft of it from re-screening our porch this summer. I can use it to wrap stems and fill the screen with pinestraw--should work well--it won't hold water, won't degrade in the sun.
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Old 11-17-2009, 02:06 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Protecting in-ground banana plants from cold?

On thing I learned last winter: cover in ground bananas with plastic to keep the mulch or leaves dry. I had two that I covered and three that I did not. the two that I covered the mulch with plastic came back and the uncovered ones rotted in the ground and did not come back. Its also helps to have banana plants in a raised bed in well drained soil. we have a lot of clay in St Louis and I removed a lot of it from my planting beds. Now I have a big pile of clay dirt behind my shed that looks like crap. - Jeremy
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Old 11-17-2009, 05:24 PM   #18 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Protecting in-ground banana plants from cold?

Jeremy- with all that clay you should have a pond water garden. Heavy clay soil is great for potting water plants. I use about an inch or so of pea gravel on top to keep everything neat and the soil from getting in the water.
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Old 11-17-2009, 05:31 PM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Protecting in-ground banana plants from cold?

I wish I could have a water garden but I cant because I have a 2 year old son that would get in it. Maybe in a few years I can. I also want to build a water fall out of rocks.
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Old 12-09-2010, 11:48 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Protecting in-ground banana plants from cold?

Question, How many times should I wrap the bananas? Will wrapping it once over work or wrapping it around at least 3-4 times be better. Im in Houston zone 9.
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