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Old 09-11-2017, 10:21 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Banana Plant to produce fruit zone5/6

Hello,

Started growing my first banana this season(Basjoo). It is doing well as a container grown plant.

I am now curious if it is possible to grow a banana plant in zone5/6 to produce edible fruit. I was looking into dwarf cavendish and dwarf Orinoco. Will either of these work? Any suggestions for variety? Is it even feasible to expect fruit in my zone?
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Banana Plant to produce fruit zone5/6

Anything is possible! If your willing to work for it. It will also take time. Maybe even 3-4 years!!

How I would do it is grow them in a container all year! You will need a large pot! Cavendish is extremely cold sensitive, I would stay away from it. I would choose a Musa dwarf Orinoco or even better a Musa raja puri!! They only get 6-7'. You would leave it outside in sun during summer and keep it inside as a houseplant during winter!!
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Old 09-12-2017, 02:49 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana Plant to produce fruit zone5/6

Hi BTerrier
Absolutely concur with Ty (above). There was a nursery I used to frequent in Hampshire, UK, where the owner had planted a Cavendishii in the ground inside his warmest greenhouse, where it was constantly more than 16c (about 61f), rising to 35c to 38c (around 95f to 100f) in summer, and the fruit from that beautiful plant was beyond compare. It also looked far better than they do on banana farms because the leaves were undamaged by weather etc. It was about 9' tall and the leaves must've been around 6' long. I used to stand and stare at it in awe! If you were to buy a small greenhouse and recreate the temperatures and light levels they do on farms, or close to that, you would have your fruit in a few years time, and all that beauty every single day.
I haven't tried Musa Orinoco fruit yet, but it is certainly famous for its ability to fruit in the zones you and I share. Why not try one next to a south-facing house wall, perhaps with a warm, polythene or similar covering on a frame for winter? You can easily add a very small, inexpensive heater for the really sharp frosts.
Although some Musas are cold hardy, they benefit from protection in winter, and will fruit sooner if treated that way.

Good luck with it BT. You will win if you want to! Dave, UK.

Last edited by crusader657 : 09-12-2017 at 02:53 AM.
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Old 09-12-2017, 10:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana Plant to produce fruit zone5/6

Thanks for the advice! I will definitely look into those varieties to see what I can find.

Another question re: Musa Basjoo. I have my Basjoo in a container and pla to bring it in for the winter. Will a room temperature of 60-65 Deg F be warm enough to continue to grow during winter months. The room gets a fair amount of indirect sunlight. I can add a 150w has. Would this be enough light?

Or would I be better off forcing dormancy in the crawl Space?
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:02 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana Plant to produce fruit zone5/6

Personally I'd go for dormancy, but not sure what others think. Don't forget that they will withstand terrifically low temperatures, especially if kept on the dry side, so had you considered planting it outside? Maybe you live somewhere at the very extremes of cold, but mine have been outside in a frosty part of Southern England for a couplke of decdes now, fruiting probably every other year. Not sure what USDA zone we are, but it gets down to well below freezing occasionally here in the winter, perhaps hitting 18f, around -9c on occasion. Until about 25f, about -4c the pstem is ok, but it's getting risky below that.
If you decide to force dormancy then don't forget to use plenty of anti-fungal powder of some sort.
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana Plant to produce fruit zone5/6

I live in PA and have had no problems growing basjoo, dwarf orinoco, and veinte cohol inside. The main limits are my 8' ceiling and having the ability to take a plant in and out of the house.

I would grow the plant until it got too large to manage indoors and then its time to put it down (into dormancy).


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Old 09-13-2017, 08:25 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana Plant to produce fruit zone5/6

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Originally Posted by crusader657 View Post
Personally I'd go for dormancy, but not sure what others think. Don't forget that they will withstand terrifically low temperatures, especially if kept on the dry side, so had you considered planting it outside? Maybe you live somewhere at the very extremes of cold, but mine have been outside in a frosty part of Southern England for a couplke of decdes now, fruiting probably every other year. Not sure what USDA zone we are, but it gets down to well below freezing occasionally here in the winter, perhaps hitting 18f, around -9c on occasion. Until about 25f, about -4c the pstem is ok, but it's getting risky below that.
If you decide to force dormancy then don't forget to use plenty of anti-fungal powder of some sort.
Thanks and yes I have considered planting it outside, which I may do come spring. Being that temps are already dropping, I am a little hesitant to plant in ground now because I am unsure if it will be able to establish itself and acclimate well enough before freezing temps.
Also, I am trying to get as much growth as I can before planting in ground. Not sure how accurate it is, but my theory is that I will get faster results without the plant dealing with subzero temps. It does get far below freezing here during a rough winter.
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:28 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana Plant to produce fruit zone5/6

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Originally Posted by geissene View Post
I live in PA and have had no problems growing basjoo, dwarf orinoco, and veinte cohol inside. The main limits are my 8' ceiling and having the ability to take a plant in and out of the house.

I would grow the plant until it got too large to manage indoors and then its time to put it down (into dormancy).


Erik G

I think I will try to grow indoors during winter. I was worried that they wouldn't get enough heat and light.

Any recommended sources for purchasing dwarf Orinoco? I found dwarf cavendish and raja. Puri on eBay which I am considering purchasing. They are for pups 2-3ft in height, but I can't seem to find dwarf Orinoco.....only starter plants from less than reputable sellers.
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:19 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana Plant to produce fruit zone5/6

I agree with ty but most defiantly give it a try you wont regret it one other thing you could consider would be a small pit type green house for 1 plant 6 ft dia 6 ft deep with a double walled top covered with green house film like this it maintains temps in mid to low 40s with no added heat even with an outside temp of 8 f add a small electric heater and constant 70 and above would be no problem and little expense
lots of work though takes an old man like me two weeks to build one by hand once done though its good for years just remove the top in summer and replace it in fall
photo in January


same raja puri in august

banana sphere pit greenhouse
banana pit and pit greenhouse update
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Old 09-13-2017, 12:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana Plant to produce fruit zone5/6

BTerrier: The plants won't get enough heat/light to grow fast, but they usually will push a leaf every 2 or 3 weeks in my house. My overwinter goal is to just sustain the plant which can be done in low levels of light and heat and water.

As far as a source for Dwarf Orinoco, perhaps you can ask in the "banana plants wanted" section of the forum, I am sure some members will have pups to ship for a few dollars plus shipping. I bought mine off ebay and the 2 pups I had this year died from the cold wet spring we had.

If you look at the pup to flower and then flower to harvest times for Orinoco and Raja Puri (and others), it can give you a good idea at how important it is to have the plant flowering timed properly with your summer growing season.

Good luck! Have fun and enjoy the plants!

Erik
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Old 09-14-2017, 11:02 AM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana Plant to produce fruit zone5/6

[quote=geissene;309506

If you look at the pup to flower and then flower to harvest times for Orinoco and Raja Puri (and others), it can give you a good idea at how important it is to have the plant flowering timed properly with your summer growing season.

Good luck! Have fun and enjoy the plants!

Erik[/QUOTE]

Ok, so I never considered the timing of the flowering, which I can see would be very important in my growing zone. How can I ensure the flowering at the correct time?

Also assuming the dwarf Orinoco and raja puri can both produce in zone 5, which of the 2 is the better tasting? I understand this matter is subjective, but assuming I am looking for the variety closest to a common store bought banana?
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Old 09-15-2017, 02:03 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Banana Plant to produce fruit zone5/6

It will take a few years for you to learn your area and zone. Like in my area "most" Musa take 280-350 days including winter to flower. So I can select my new pup to take the mothers place the correct time to best give a flower come late spring. It's different for everyone and will take time.

To me Orinocos are good. If they are grown properly (water, fertilizer, etc) the "wild" ones that fruit without anyone actually growing to me taste horriable!! I get 10+ bunches of dwarf Orinoco every year and rarely throw them out unless they have a core. By store cavendish standards to me both are miles above! The Orinoco is sweether, dense, creamy, and larger. It's not in my top 10 but still a good banana if you live outside of the tropics and have a limited selection to grow.

The raja puri. Is an excellent banana. MUCH better than the Orinoco. It is sweet with some fruitiness. Almost like some pineapple flavor. I just had 2 flowers on mine, just in time for winter!! I'm gonna try to get a hand out of them, but have doubts they will fill in time.
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Old 09-15-2017, 10:59 AM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Banana Plant to produce fruit zone5/6

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Originally Posted by BTerrier View Post
Ok, so I never considered the timing of the flowering, which I can see would be very important in my growing zone. How can I ensure the flowering at the correct time?

Also assuming the dwarf Orinoco and raja puri can both produce in zone 5, which of the 2 is the better tasting? I understand this matter is subjective, but assuming I am looking for the variety closest to a common store bought banana?

The best way to time flowering is to understand when a flower should arrive. Some people can tell by the size of the plant and when the plant reaches terminal height. I'm not that smart yet, so I have started counting leaves and marking the Pstem with a permanent marker as it grows. Most bananas flower after 30 to 35 leaves.

I think you can control the growth speed with watering and fertilizer. I also heard that people remove or trim back green leaves to slow a plant down. I trim mine in fall, but mainly so that I have practical sized plants for indoors. This isn't ideal for fruiting, but its a compromise tactic.

Good luck!

Erik
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