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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 09-12-2006, 07:06 PM   #41 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

nucci60, my name is Frank (not Joe). Glad you enjoyed the post! To answer your question: No, the pseudostems do not lose much weight at all come Spring. This is because they don't dry out appreciably. The orinocos don't anyway. Musa basjoo dried out considerably though. Not all bananas respond the same being stored dormant. Some lose almost no pseudostem to dessication, some lose all pseudostem, and all ranges in between.

Jeff, I am growing musa itinerans still. Check a few posts up, and you will see I listed it there.
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Old 09-12-2006, 08:24 PM   #42 (permalink)
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Question Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

Frank, one more question. Do you have to support the larger pseudostems when they go back in the ground while thry are putting out new roots?
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Old 09-12-2006, 09:05 PM   #43 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

BIGD,

Be glad you're not growing SABA! I had some blow over last year in hurricane Wilma and nearly broke my back righting them.

I couldn't imaging hauling off all the pseudostems every year.
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Old 09-13-2006, 03:03 PM   #44 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

Hiya Bigdog,
You really lifted my spirits by mentioning that you are able to get edible fruit from your own plants ...........................
~ because ~~~
by next Spring we will almost be neighbors .

Wheeeeeeeee
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Old 09-13-2006, 07:30 PM   #45 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

Franks's bananas on their way to storage ----->

~Joe
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Old 09-13-2006, 08:42 PM   #46 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

Nucci, I haven't supported the pseudostems going back into the ground in the Spring one time yet. I fill the planting hole with all sorts of great organic matter, and some slow release Osmocote. Then, I pack some of the native clay around the base of the plant. Haven't had one knocked over yet, but I imagine that I've gotten lucky also. I have read, and will try it this year, that where bananas are commercially grown, they fruit earlier and produce bigger bunches if the plant is planted deeper in the hole. Of course, that is in tropical areas, where the soil doesn't ever get cold. I've always planted my bananas with the corm just a few inches below the surface. I am going to plant some quite a bit deeper this Spring and see what happens. Looks like I'll have a bunch of fruiting-sized pseudostems again next year, so I have a few to experiment with. I'm also going to use black plastic to warm up the soil in the Spring. We need to take advantage of any and all tricks to help us get fruit as early as possible here in zone 7. I just hope I don't get any real late bloomers this year, but i probably will. One is pushing a bloom out now, as a matter of fact. Wasted bananas!

Jeff, I'm sure I'll get tired of the routine someday. It's still fun though right now, and I have a healthy back, so I'll keep doing it. I really would like a house with a full-sized basement, and my next house will have to have that! Sure would make life a lot easier. I'm not growing Saba, but I did add Kandrian this year. It's still a relatively small plant, but I've seen full-sized pseudostems...HUGE! Not quite as big as Saba, but they are quite large! Thankfully, I only have one small pseudostem of that variety to deal with this Fall.

Scooterbug, where are you moving to? Glad you enjoyed the post! I'll post some pics of ripe fruit in November.

Joe, that is hilarious! Thankfully, I will only have to haul them a few feet this Fall, not 180 miles!
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Old 09-13-2006, 09:00 PM   #47 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

I have to say this post makes me a bit sad. I know once you cold weather people pull your plants it will only be me and a few others that will be posting here regularly. Summer sure is fun on this message board. I've really enjoyed seeing all you Banana nuts hard work pay of with nice plants and fruit. Don't be a stranger this winter!
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Old 09-13-2006, 09:19 PM   #48 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

bigdog, We are hunting for property in the Maryville area but not in town of course

I'm on my way down in 2 weeks to look around again ;-)
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Old 09-14-2006, 02:19 AM   #49 (permalink)
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Cold Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

Hey all. Sorry to hear you have to put up your bananas for the winter.

There is something you can do for an early jump on planting. I use black plastic to keep the weeds down and I just plant thru it.

I noticed that it also did a wonderful job of warming the soil in early spring so I could get my peppers and 'maters in the ground sooner.

I figure you zone map challenged could warm your soil and maybe tent or at the least block cold winds from your nanners to get more 'ground time' for flowers and fruit.

Just an idea...
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Old 09-19-2006, 03:31 PM   #50 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

What do you do with the ones with fruit? Just the same, or some special care?

Gard
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Old 09-19-2006, 04:46 PM   #51 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

Scooterbug, if you enjoy the mountains, you will love that area! It has some spectacular scenery, for sure.

Microfarmer, you must have missed a sentence in my last post. I mentioned that I'm going to be experimenting with black plastic in the Spring!

Gard, the ones that have produced fruit can be cut down, as that pseudostem will die anyway. I have one that's blooming now that won't have time to mature a buch, unfortunately. From what I've heard from others who have tried, it is fruitless (pun intended) to try to dig up a large, fruiting pseudostem and pot it up for the greenhouse or indoors. It simple doesn't respond well, and the fruit is stunted or drops off. A waste, yes, but that's one reason why I plant so many!
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Old 09-20-2006, 07:47 AM   #52 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

Bigd,

Have you tried banking some bales of hay against some of your orinoco stems?I bet the would help protect them through the winter. Also, I have heard the same response from others who've tried to dig up a fruiting stem - it's too much shock on the plant and the fruiting stalk just withers.
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Old 09-25-2006, 01:52 PM   #53 (permalink)
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Pinwheel Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

I'm glad I found this forum, and this thread! I was concerned that if I cut leaves off my bananas when I dug them for the winter (zone 6b in MD), I would set them back so that they wouldn't fruit. Hooray for finding out that it's not so! I got them (Apple, Ice Cream, and one that was supposed to be a Dwarf Orinocco but is the tallest of the bunch now so who knows what it really is) last fall, grew them inside over the winter, planted them out at 18-24 inches in spring... Now they are 9 to 12 feet tall (6 foot trunks, or I guess I should say psuedostems)!!! DH keeps looking at them and asking, so, what are you planning to do with them this winter? LOL

I am still debating.... I can haul them down to the basement (sunny window, temps between 55 and 70 degrees) and water sparingly to keep them semi-dormant... Or I can put them in the garage (no windows, so it'll be dark unless I put up a shop light for them, it's unheated but insulated so temps generally don't drop below 40, definitely doesn't freeze, but occasionally we get warm spells in winter so it might warm up to 65 degrees).

From reading through the above, it sounds like temperatures above 55 will make them come out of dormancy and then they will require some light, so maybe the garage isn't the best idea unless I put up a bank of florescents for them...

What does anybody think about letting them be semi-dormant in big tubs of potting mix in the basement? They put out several pups between them, so I may also hedge my bet by taking 1 pup of each variety inside (upstairs) to pot up in the morning room.

Those were wonderful pictures at the top of this thread, and I think I'll be more fearless now about digging my new bananas for the winter -- THANKS!
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Old 09-25-2006, 05:50 PM   #54 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

Critterologist, glad you enjoyed! I will say this about completely defoliating the plant before storing: Generally, in my southern zone 7a climate, I only get about 7-8 leaves, maybe 9, by the end of July. If a pseudostem is close to fruiting size, I seem to only get about 5 leaves before the bloom emerges. This is assuming that the bloom emerges by the end of July/early August. Usually they are not full-sized leaves either. The result of not having very many leaves at bloom time is smaller bunches of fruit. If you were able to keep a few green leaves over the winter (I have kept one leaf green on many plants under the house), it should give the plant a headstart in the Spring, and lead to bigger bunches.

For example, the first plant that bloomed for me this year had only about 6 feet of pseudostem, and 5 leaves when the bloom emerged. The bunch consisted of 5 fingers on one hand! The other 2 bunches were slightly better, but only two hands. This will vary according to the variety also. My observations are for Tall Orinoco.

I have a plant blooming right now that has a bloom twice the size of the previous blooms. It will probably have 5 or more hands, with 7 or more fingers per hand. It has probably ten leaves or so, maybe more.

I guess what I'm trying to say, lol, is that the more leaves the plant has at bloom time, the bigger the bunch will be.

Regarding your other questions - temps over 55F will not last long in your garage during the winter. Even if you do get an extended warm spell, with no water and no soil, the plant won't start growing usually. I kept two pseudostems in my garage last winter, and we had a mild January and mild overall winter. Neither plant grew even a tiny bit.

By all means, if you can leave them potted up with some leaves on them, in your basement, go ahead and do it! I just don't have the space for it.
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Old 09-27-2006, 09:06 AM   #55 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

Ok, everyone....

Thanks to the great advice from Frank (Bigdog), I just dug this monster up... I had Pot-Planted it to try and contain the roots and was pleasantly surprised at how well they stayed intact... I had cut the plastic to allow for some expansion so that it wouldn't dry out and it seemed to really work... here are some of the pics...
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Old 09-27-2006, 09:09 AM   #56 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

lets try this again...




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Old 09-27-2006, 07:37 PM   #57 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

Bigdog,

My "Tall Orinoco" had 6 leaves not counting the "Flag" leaf,when it bloomed this year. It has 4 hands with 29 fingers. When I stored it last year I cut all the leaves off and stored it in my outside Bldg. Just thought this may help you with your study.

Good Luck to all, this Winter,

Frank (The one from Bama)
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Old 09-27-2006, 09:25 PM   #58 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

Bobby, that's a monster, lol! Didn't realize you were digging it already. Must be getting pretty chilly there. Let us know how it does!

Frank, yours had about 2 more leaves than mine did then, I think. I'll have to go back out and count again! I think mine have 4 leaves, plus the flag. Thanks for the info!
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Old 09-27-2006, 10:44 PM   #59 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

Quote:
Bobby, that's a monster, lol! Didn't realize you were digging it already. Must be getting pretty chilly there. Let us know how it does!

Actually, I could've waited another month.. temps are about 72/55 now, but I have SOOOO much to get ready with over 100 tropical plants and palms - some that are over 20ft. and after this week I'll be ridiculously busy with work that I wouldn't have the time, so I figured I'd just get everything set up now so they're won't be any sudden cold spells that would make me cram 4 days worth of work into one.
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Old 09-28-2006, 01:29 PM   #60 (permalink)
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Default Re: Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter

Yeah Frank. Bobby's right. He is about crazy( well , its a good crazy) with all of the palms he plants out in the ground. I have seen his pics on the IPS board. I am glad you are planning ahead Bobby. I will dig mine when the temps start going consistantly into the 40s, because I am planning to keep them alive inside over the winter and maintain some foliage, since nothing is taller than maybe 4 feet right now. My Saba is still a little baby.....Next season, I bet its huge.

Zac
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