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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 12-10-2006, 05:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default When to start

Hello all, been lurking awhile. I live in SE PA zone 6. I want to plant a few potted bajoo's outside in spring, exactly when I'm not sure. This is a two part question. I have no plants so I would need to order some. When do I order them and start them inside to get a head start and when do I move them outside. Hoping someone in the area or in area 6 somewhere would be able to give me a few hints. Thanks in advance, uncrichie.
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Old 12-10-2006, 08:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: When to start

It should be pretty easy if they're potted. Assuming you are going to start with smaller plants, simply bring them in at night if it gets below 50 degrees or so. My 4'-5' Basjoos in NJ were still growing very slowly (in pots) down to about 40 degrees or so this fall, with no problem.

Are you looking for seeds, or a live plant? A live plant would definitely be preferable, since seeds will take a while to get started. You can most likely get a plant off ebay, or you could look online at a retailer. I have no personal experience this way so I cannot recommend any sellers.

I found that several local nurseries in NJ have bananas, and also large chains such as Home Depot often stock them. You may want to use the yellow pages and ask your local nurseries if they will have them. I prefer this method since you can take home a larger plant which is often more established, however it will probably cost a little more.

Good luck,

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Old 12-10-2006, 09:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: When to start

Hi Joe, thanks for the reply. Did you take your plants in or leave them out? Did you have to cover them?

I'll definitely buy established plants likely by mailorder. Not sure if they ship them bare rooted or in pots. I suppose I'll start looking in late Feb early March via the internet, wonder if they ship with heat packs onboard so as not to freeze. Maybe I'll ask at the Home Depot when they might be getting them in. Problem with HD here is they contract out to nurseries and the staff isn't there in the winter.

This is all very new to me and I can't wait to get started. I'm hoping to also pot cannas and ginger maybe a palm or too. Thanks again. Uncrichie.
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Old 12-11-2006, 01:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: When to start

Last spring my Basjoos and others were about 1.5' tall, and I brought them in whenever the temperature was below 65, because I heard that they grow optimally above that. Turns out I could have just left them outside a month or more earlier, with nighttime temps in the low 40's and they would have been perfectly fine. But I'm new to this too and still learning.

By the fall they were far too big to come into the house with leaves on, and far too heavy to be lifted in and out repeatedly, so I let them stay out until the temperature hit 32 degrees. Then I took off all the leaves except for the newest and brought them inside to overwinter. Details on how I'm doing this are in this thread dormancy in the pot? and I have no idea if it will work or not!

This spring they will probably get put outside in early April and not brought in again unless there is a late frost.

~Joe
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Old 12-11-2006, 02:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks Joe for all the info, can't wait to get started. uncrichie.
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Old 12-15-2006, 11:51 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: When to start

One issue which I have not quite figured out is that some plants are tissue cultured and some are not. Not all places tell you what you get. Those TC plants are quite small and sounds like they take a while to get established.
The plants I saw at HomeDepot were big and beefy and I am sure would do fine right away.

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Old 12-17-2006, 11:09 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I started growing bananas last spring. I bought mine off of ebay around Feb. They came from a seller called wellspring gardens and were all TC plants. I did the same as Joe by bringing them in every night, which was easy b/c they were only about4-6 inches at the time. On days when it was too cold I just put them in a window.

After a few weeks of doing this I had to re-pot them. I had several othe types of plants I was doing this with also, so it became a little hard on the back. I finally used a cart and wheelbarrow and just rolled them into our house every night.

I don't have any pix of what they looked like when I first bought them, but if you look in my gallery you can see what they look like just before our first freeze. I didn't take the best care of them as several lived in the shadows of some tomato plants that stunted their growth. The ones away from the tomato plants did great! Keep in mind they were only a few inches just 8-9 months ago!

I'd go with established plants if you can, but just look at my pix.
I hope this helps some
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Old 12-17-2006, 11:23 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi D'Andra, thanks for the post. You mentioned buying the plants in Feb. How big did they get before you put them out in the spring. I'm trying to get a feel on how big they grow in the house over the winter months??? Thanks, Uncrichie...
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Old 12-18-2006, 05:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: When to start

Hi this is my first winter also. some of my outside bananas i put to "sleep". I got itchy to get more , so I got some off ebay and ae growing in a basement under gro-lux tubes. tha ensete maurelii (from wellspring) is doing fantastic and throwing out ever bigger leaves. the two sikkis are also doing well, as is a small rajapuri. one basjoo arrived all bent so i cut all the leaves off. It sent a spear about a quarter inch and then stopped growing. It does look healthy though.
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Old 12-19-2006, 07:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I now wish I'd taken pix of my plants! I think they were around a foot tall when I put them out. The dwarf red was the smallest and probably around 8 inches. It was a lot of work putting them in and out everyday. I probably could have just put them next to a window and done just fine.
Keep in mind the less light they are getting, the less water they need. Smaller doses of water are better if you're not sure.
Good Luck!
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