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Species Bananas Discussions of all the different wild species of banana (non edible), an aspect of the hobby that deserves its own section.


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Old 02-03-2011, 05:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Musa sikkimensis-the best banana for leaf hardiness?

I have noticed Musa sikkimensis seems to have the hardiest leaves to cold here. All other bananas (species and hybrids) have their foliage freeze right at 32-33F, even M. basjoo. But M. sikkimensis seems to take a couple degrees colder before getting damaged. And when it does get damage it is always the first to grow back. From experience here. it always has 3-4 leaves grown back when other bananas are at 1-2 leaves.
We have been down to 29F 3 times this winter and below 32F 6 times. This clump still has green foliage while the others are browned out. Now the location these are growing are in a warmer protected location it still has been about 31-32F there and there are other bananas nearby with dead foliage.


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Old 02-04-2011, 06:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Musa sikkimensis-the best banana for leaf hardiness?

wikipeida says
Musa sikkimensis, also called Darjeeling Banana is a species of the genus Musa. It is one of the highest altitude banana species[2] and is found in Bhutan and India.

Musa sikkimensis at Heronswood


The above sites says,

This unusual Himalayan banana species is native to regions with heavy annual snowfall and hard frosts. The outsize green foliage grows to 5 feet on stems that can be 18 feet or more. A robust grower, this dazzler's glossy dark green leaves radiate scarlet-red from the underside, with dramatic burgundy streaks on the leaf fronts. In our initial testing, this wondrous rarity has proven just as hardy as M. basjoo, possibly a partial zone hardier. Mulch heavily in zone 6. Give this one a try we'd love to hear your results
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Old 02-04-2011, 07:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Musa sikkimensis-the best banana for leaf hardiness?

hi eric,
have you tasted it's fruit yet? How is it?
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Old 02-07-2011, 09:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Musa sikkimensis-the best banana for leaf hardiness?

Good evening Eric,

The Musa sikkimensis may be a very good banana for leaf hardiness in marginally warm/cold environments like ours. I grew up about 40 miles NW of your current location and I am intimately with that environment.

Musa itinerans is another very good candidate for the best banana for leaf hardiness. It may be difficult to get the cold data we need for accurate conclusions in a year, but if we continue the data documentation for several years we may get the answers we need.

This year has not been a cold challenging year for data entry on my part but I do very much appreciate the information you have provided to the forum this year. Great picture, Thanks.


Last edited by Caloosamusa : 02-07-2011 at 09:04 PM. Reason: add
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Old 02-10-2011, 11:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Musa sikkimensis-the best banana for leaf hardiness?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RAINFOREZT View Post
hi eric,
have you tasted it's fruit yet? How is it?
Hi RAINFOREZT,

I've never tasted the fruit, but they are a seeded banana.
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Old 02-20-2011, 05:37 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Musa sikkimensis-the best banana for leaf hardiness?

I have generally found Helen's Hybrid to be somewhat better at resisting leaf shredding than the pure bred sikkimensis at least on the few of each i have had in the past.
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Old 02-20-2011, 07:04 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Musa sikkimensis-the best banana for leaf hardiness?

Thanks Musa Monkey,

That wind resistance, or leaf shredding, is an important factor where I grow bananas. Good information!
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:53 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa sikkimensis-the best banana for leaf hardiness?

I've had my sikkimensis in the ground for 5 years now (Ohio, Zone 6). They are as hardy as the basjoos in my opinion. I've never lost a sikkimensis yet. I have 3 plantings of them.
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Old 02-23-2011, 07:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Musa sikkimensis-the best banana for leaf hardiness?

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I've had my sikkimensis in the ground for 5 years now (Ohio, Zone 6). They are as hardy as the basjoos in my opinion. I've never lost a sikkimensis yet. I have 3 plantings of them.
What protection do you use? My apologies if you've already posted this info.
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Old 02-23-2011, 08:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa sikkimensis-the best banana for leaf hardiness?

I cut them back to 1 foot and place a few bags of straw on them. It's the same method I use for my basjoos. I never lost a plant yet. I have pictures in my gallery.
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Old 02-23-2011, 08:18 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Musa sikkimensis-the best banana for leaf hardiness?

Same as I did until last year on my basjoos. The past 2 years I just left the fried leaves/p-stems on the ground as mulch. Worked fine last year; hopefully also this one. Would love to leave a sikkim out as a test. I did this with a C. humilis var cerifera palm this winter; it's looking good so far (knock wood).
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Old 02-28-2011, 04:40 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa sikkimensis-the best banana for leaf hardiness?

This is interesting reading.

I live in Norway, and it seems Sikkimensis settle in the ground faster, and grow much better at cooler temperatures than Basjoo. But in terms of winter-hardiness basjoo still wins up here. It could be related to the fact that winters here can be very wet. Perhaps sikkimensis needs more dry conditions to get through the winter unharmed. In previous experiments basjoo pseudostems remained much more intact than sikkimensis pseudostems.

Musa sp. "Helen" is in my experience not as hardy as full-blooded sikkimensis or basjoo. But the growth of Musa sp. "helen" is very vigirous.
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:37 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa sikkimensis-the best banana for leaf hardiness?

my sikkimensis that I protected like a basjoo didn't make it here winter before last. But I might give one a try planting it a foot deeper this spring.
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Old 03-15-2011, 01:42 PM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Musa sikkimensis-the best banana for leaf hardiness?

Sandy- we're all looking forward to the results of your 'deep planting' trials this spring. Good luck!
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Old 03-17-2011, 04:45 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa sikkimensis-the best banana for leaf hardiness?

I'd agree with the above. I also believe that Sikkimensis is a much nicer looking plant. My Helen's and interestingly Dhussray have both come through well in the polytunnel, time to start stepping up the water and feed and seeing exactly what has made it through that horrendous winter.

Nice to see you back Erlend.
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Old 07-04-2011, 09:16 PM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Musa sikkimensis-the best banana for leaf hardiness?

I have seen Musa sikkimensis in Sikkim in India. It was in springtime and during the afternoon you had often hailshowers! Maybe those thicker leaves are an adaptation to hail.

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