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Old 10-01-2018, 01:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Bananas in the Pacific Northwest?

This is a two part question.

Are there any edible banana varieties that you think could survive in the Pacific Northwest, zone 8 ?
In particular, Orinoco, Blue Java, or Raja Puri

I see a lot of banana plants growing in people's yards around here but I'm presuming they're all just the ornamental species Basjoo. I would like to point out that Basjoo doesn't appear to lose its fronds over the Winter here. The fronds look trashed and become very droopy but they are still semi-green and it looks like they may still be alive.

The second question, do you think there's any chance of these bananas being able to fruit in this climate?
This location does get some heat in the Summer, up to the 90s, but the growing season is pretty short. I think there are only 4 months out of the year where temperatures are warm enough for bananas to grow well, June through September, maybe a little more than that.

The Winters here often don't get that cold at all. Last Winter, on New Years Day, there were many camellia bushes that were abundantly in bloom. But the temperatures stay down pretty cold-cool for half the year, and it doesn't really begin to consistently warm up until late May or even June (There are no late frosts though, after early February there is no snow or freezes).

I've read Orinoco is supposedly hardy to zone 8, does that mean it could survive outside here?
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Old 10-01-2018, 05:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bananas in the Pacific Northwest?

Look up tytaylor, he is east texas zone 8b, he is growing in the region of 75-100 varieties. He could probably give you info on the best performers.
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Old 10-01-2018, 08:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Bananas in the Pacific Northwest?

Helen's Hybrid growing on Salt Spring Island (off Vancouver Island), looks like the pseudostem survived over the Winter and it is doing fairly well:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vULFArKqSg


After many years a banana finally flowered and began forming fruit in Vancouver (the city) after a warm Summer:
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/briti...anas-1.4274337

Seattle garden expert alludes to other banana varieties besides Basjoo being able to make it without dying to the ground if their trunks are wrapped in insulation:
https://www.seattletimes.com/life/li...-the-elements/

Banana's growing in the Tri-City area, one produced 60 bananas:
https://www.nrtoday.com/news/tri-cit...c8a8ea339.html

Last three articles are pretty vague on the details and don't specify what type of banana it is or whether it's the type that could turn out to be edible.
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Old 10-01-2018, 08:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Bananas in the Pacific Northwest?

Member Mark Dragt grows in that area. I think he has a greenhouse though. Check out some of his posts.
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Old 10-01-2018, 09:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bananas in the Pacific Northwest?

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Member Mark Dragt grows in that area. I think he has a greenhouse though. Check out some of his posts.
Yes, according to his profile he lives in/near Rochester, Wa.

SoCal2Warm -- if you are still interested in breeding cold hardy bananas, check with member Gabe15. He has a PhD in ... bananas!
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Old 10-01-2018, 10:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bananas in the Pacific Northwest?

Richard is right, if your keen on breeding bananas, look up botanical bryce, tytaylor gabe15 and basjoofriend i think he is. All of them could offer alot of information with regards to what your trying to achieve.
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Old 10-01-2018, 10:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Bananas in the Pacific Northwest?

I've read a few comments that some of these bananas are "hardy to zone 8".
Does that mean that the pseudostem will survive through the Winter, or just that the banana will die back to the ground and regrow the following year?
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Old 10-01-2018, 11:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bananas in the Pacific Northwest?

Quote:
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I've read a few comments that some of these bananas are "hardy to zone 8".
Does that mean that the pseudostem will survive through the Winter, or just that the banana will die back to the ground and regrow the following year?
It means the seller was looking for desperate buyers.
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Old 10-02-2018, 01:09 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bananas in the Pacific Northwest?

Where exactly are you located? z8 comes in many flavors, especially in the PNW.
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Old 10-02-2018, 11:10 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Bananas in the Pacific Northwest?

About an hour South of Seattle. (Olympia)

The climate zone map shows the area is solidly in zone 8a, but I know there are definitely some areas within that zone area on the map that are both colder or warmer than the exact location here. If I had to guess, I'd guess that the specific spot here is more equivalent to 8b but bordering on 8a.
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Old 10-03-2018, 05:09 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bananas in the Pacific Northwest?

My 8b can be brutal or mild. 3 years ago the low was 30f all winter! Last year it was 14f! Only variety that survived 14f was a few blue Java’s. 2 Orinoco out of 20+. When I say survived I mean the pstem.

Helens Hybrid doesn’t do well here at all. The most cold hardy of my collection in my opinion is blue java. Very close second is my dwarf Orinoco varities. D. Chamaluco is one of the 2 that made it. Everything else died back. I lost ALL my Musa Veinte Cohol mats. I’m talking old huge mats! Total loss! Also lost a few other AA types. Lucky I keep backups! Keep on site and off site backups of rare types if possible!

Go for it! I wish you great success! Gabe is a Musa genius! And a very nice guy. He will gladly help and answer questions if he has time!
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Old 10-03-2018, 11:46 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bananas in the Pacific Northwest?

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Originally Posted by SoCal2warm View Post
About an hour South of Seattle. (Olympia)

The climate zone map shows the area is solidly in zone 8a, but I know there are definitely some areas within that zone area on the map that are both colder or warmer than the exact location here. If I had to guess, I'd guess that the specific spot here is more equivalent to 8b but bordering on 8a.
The issue with coastal PNW z8 and z9, is that although it technically does not get very cold, it also never gets very hot, and is rarely continuously warm day and night. Bananas need continuous heat to grow well. Even though daytime summer temps can be sufficient, every time it cools down at night they will slow or stop again. Some of the hardiest edible cultivars you may be able to get to come back in the spring if you mulch heavily, and build protective cages around the pseudostem, but you are unlikely to get fruit leaving them in the ground. Your best bet for a chance at fruit would be to grow them in a greenhouse, or keep them in large pots which you can bring inside for the winter and try to keep alive as houseplants, and put them outside in the summer.

I used to live in Kingston in North Kitsap, where it was basically z9, and I tried a number of bananas outside. M. basjoo, M. sikkimensis, and Musella lasiocarpa are all hardy and will come back. They grow better as well during the summer because they can tolerate the day/night temperature shift better, whereas edible cultivars tend to just be slow all around. But even those wild species are much slower than they would be in warmer climates, and although the plants do ok, they rarely flower north of Portland OR.

I observed many M. basjoo stands over there, and never saw any that kept leaves throughout the winter until spring. They can hold on for quite awhile, longer than you'd think, but eventually they melt. I'm doubtful any can make it to spring unless they are in a particularly cozy microclimate with some happenstance protection from freezing and a little bit of luck. Don't rely on that being a normal occurrence.

If I had to grow bananas in WA again, I would try it in Yakima. It's a little colder in the winter, but you can overcome that easier than trying to produce more heat and sunlight during the spring and summer when the plants are actively growing.
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Old 10-03-2018, 12:50 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Bananas in the Pacific Northwest?

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Helens Hybrid doesn’t do well here at all.
I think it will do better here because from what I've read, Sikkimensis does better in cooler temperature climates (coming from the Himalayas). I even read one person's observation that their Sikkimensis started growing out earlier before their Basjoo bananas did.
It's certainly a cool temperature climate here for half the year (maybe a little bit more than that).
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Old 10-03-2018, 01:01 PM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Bananas in the Pacific Northwest?

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I used to live in Kingston in North Kitsap, where it was basically z9, and I tried a number of bananas outside.
I know the climates of the region pretty well, and looking at the map that looks more like a borderline zone 8/9 area. It's also almost right across from Whidbey Island which I've read reports has notoriously cool low temperatures and can be challenging to garden even regular plants there.
While your observations are valuable, I don't think it's fair to extend those observations to the rest of the region. I get more heat here than where you were.
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Old 10-03-2018, 01:57 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bananas in the Pacific Northwest?

that was my experience living there, but I also know and have met with folks growing in other parts of WA, as well as know a thing or two about bananas. Unless you have nights that dont rountiely get below 65-70F for months on end, the bananas will be slowed down considerably, and even then the season will never be long enough allow the plant to get to maturity, flower, and ripen a bunch without extreme intervention.. Even the hardiest varieties are maringal producers in northern California. I dont think youre going to find a natural sweet spot anywhere in coastal Washington. You may get plants to surivive winter, but thats a long ways from fruiting. If you really want to grow bananasin WA, invest in a greenhouse. Member Mark Dragt has been doig just this in Rochester.
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Old 10-03-2018, 03:07 PM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Bananas in the Pacific Northwest?

Thanks Gabe!

My biggest problem with growing bananas outside was they wouldn't grow. I tried many varieties. It could be in the 90s during the day, but dip into the 50s at night. Bananas do not like that at all. Then I built my greenhouse. My whole banana growing world changed. Right now as I type this I have 9 bunches hanging. Even at that, my fruit is not the same as bananas grown in a more tropical climate. I still have a problem with fruit fill. My favorite so far is Namwah. Now that plant has its own challenges. It matures around 16 feet. My greenhouse is 12 feet. Right now my Tall Namwah is 11 feet but has a bunch hanging at 4 feet. Not just a bunch, but a 12 hand 171 finger bunch. Growing edible bananas here is possible and is extremely rewarding! It all depends on how much effort YOU want to put into it.
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Old 10-03-2018, 04:29 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Bananas in the Pacific Northwest?

Here in NorCal we get cold nights as well, however we have a much longer growing season with warmer temps.
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Old 10-03-2018, 04:44 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bananas in the Pacific Northwest?

The problem with helens hybrid is that it is a hybrid. Supposedly between sikkimensis and muss chimi champa, but whilst the original individual plant showed certain characteristics, theres no guarantee that the offspring are going to be true to type. Also many seeds are from 2nd or 3rd gen plants meaning there could have been all sorts of crossing. Even seeds from the 1st gen plant could have been pollinated by something else. I suggest sikkimensis, yunnanensis, basjoo, griersonii, itinerans will be better options.
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Old 10-03-2018, 06:53 PM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Bananas in the Pacific Northwest?

What about putting something like this over the banana?

"Zenport 6-foot portable pop-up greenhouse cover"

https://www.horticulturesource.com/z...iABEgLE9vD_BwE

https://www.walmart.com/ip/6-Foot-Po...ype=14&veh=aff
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