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Main Banana Discussion This is where we discuss our banana collections; tips on growing bananas, tips on harvesting bananas, sharing our banana photos and stories.


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Old 10-17-2020, 06:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Overwintering in Zone 7b

Hello, this is my first post here on this website! I live in zone 7b (NYC area/Long Island). I read a story one time about some judge in Ohio who grew fruit on his plant. I want to do the same, and understand I must overwinter it. I have read that I can either dig it up (plant only, no soil) and put it in a 50 degree plus area, or I can leave it outside and mulch. Can anyone give advice as to which way is better to overwinter the plant, and how to get it to fruit if possible. Also, if this is relevant, I do not know if I have a water pup or sword pup yet, but its lower leaves look like sword and upper leaves look normal (wide). thank you.

EDIT: photos of the pup

https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...I2?usp=sharing

I intend on growing this to full size and getting it to fruit if possible.

Last edited by vt999 : 10-19-2020 at 09:03 AM. Reason: photos
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Old 10-18-2020, 06:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
Location: Gulf Coast Mississippi
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Default Re: Overwintering in Zone 7b

Quote:
Originally Posted by vt999 View Post
Hello, this is my first post here on this website! I live in zone 7b (NYC area). I read a story one time about some judge in Ohio who grew fruit on his plant. I want to do the same, and understand I must overwinter it. I have read that I can either dig it up (plant only, no soil) and put it in a 50 degree plus area, or I can leave it outside and mulch. Can anyone give advice as to which way is better to overwinter the plant, and how to get it to fruit if possible. Also, if this is relevant, I do not know if I have a water pup or sword pup yet, but its lower leaves look like sword and upper leaves look normal (wide). thank you.
I'm guessing that the ground freezes several inches deep in 7b?? What variety of nana are you working with?
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Old 10-18-2020, 06:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Overwintering in Zone 7b

depends on what kind you have. musa basjoo is the only one i would try to over winter outside in your zone. if it is basjoo search the thread for overwintering basjoo lots of info there.inside is a whole different story if it is not basjoo but lots of threads on that also
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Old 10-18-2020, 09:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Thumbs up Re: Overwintering in Zone 7b

Quote:
Originally Posted by vt999 View Post
Hello, this is my first post here on this website! I live in zone 7b (NYC area). I read a story one time about some judge in Ohio who grew fruit on his plant. I want to do the same, and understand I must overwinter it. I have read that I can either dig it up (plant only, no soil) and put it in a 50 degree plus area, or I can leave it outside and mulch. Can anyone give advice as to which way is better to overwinter the plant, and how to get it to fruit if possible. Also, if this is relevant, I do not know if I have a water pup or sword pup yet, but its lower leaves look like sword and upper leaves look normal (wide). thank you.
Funnily enough I know of a doctor right in my own hometown here in Ohio as well! He was also able to get bananas off his plants too! He lives near a park and I was able to drive past it and see his plants in his backyard. So I guess there is hope for those of us not living in a tropical area! Yeah!
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I really want to be able to grow some real fruit off my plants this time! Never been able to before! So wish me luck on my quest....
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Old 10-19-2020, 08:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Overwintering in Zone 7b

Thank you everyone. I do not know what breed I have, it was a pup as a gift from someone. I do not think it is basjoo, as he brings it inside every year.

This is the article I was referring to:

Bananas move north of the tropics - growing bananas is
northern gardens

Monica Brandies

Whenever I miss the plants I grew in Northern gardens, I console myself: "You can't grow bananas there." And homegrown bananas are the thrill of my gardening life.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I was walking around during a visit to my hometown of Xenia, Ohio, and suddenly saw a yard full of banana plants that stopped me in my tracks.

Judge Judson Shattuck has grown bananas for several summers in Ohio and, yes, his bananas are as delicious as Florida's. Homegrown bananas differ as much in taste from their store-bought counterparts as do green beans. Shattuck grows six different varieties but none of the dwarfs because, he says, "I figure, what the heck -- if you're going to have a banana tree, might as well have a big one."

In the best conditions, it takes a banana plant nine to 10 months to put out a bud. In Florida it took mine three years because of freezes my first three winters. Today, however, I grow 12 to 20 bunches every year, and they are well worth the wait. Shattuck's banana plants produce fruit in 18 months (or about three growing seasons), but his fruit bunches are much larger.

In the meantime, bananas make interesting and very attractive plants. They grow mostly straight up, so they don't require too much space or create too much shade, and the leaves make a wonderful rustling noise in the slightest breeze. There is still room in Shattuck's 75- by 150-foot yard -- and time in his schedule -- for 300 roses, cannas, hundreds of tulips and irises, apples, peaches, apricots, pears, chestnuts, walnuts and his wife's tomatoes and other vegetables.

WINTER CARE

Winter care of bananas is crucial in areas that experience frost. Judge Shattuck brings his plants indoors for the winter. Sometime in October, before frost, he digs up the plants and cuts off the rest of the leaves at the top so each looks like a great, fat pole. He puts them in small garbage buckets with only the soil that clings. Then he moves them into a basement garage where temperatures in winter hover around 50 degrees, waters them once and allows them to go dormant for the rest of the winter.

Shattuck's plants range from small to 15 feet in height. Ropes hanging from the garage ceiling help to hold up the plants but, even so, some must stand at an angle.

In his Complete Book of Bananas, Florida banana expert William O. Lessard has written a chapter on growing bananas in the North. He says the plant will perish if the root is in frozen ground, but cutting the stem to the ground just before a frost and mulching the corm or root area with at least a foot of much may allow it to overwinter more easily and with less shock to the plant. He says to cover the mulch with a sheet of plastic and hold the edges in place with heavy stones.

When I lived in Iowa, I covered carrots with bags of leaves of bales of hay to keep them digable all winter, so this technique may work farther north than one would expect. For growers who are willing to experiment with a surplus plant or two, it would bear trying. Bring indoors any plants you don't want to risk.

If you leave roots in the ground, be sure to remove the plastic in the spring to avoid trapping the warmth from decomposing mulch. Warm temperatures can lead to premature growth that is susceptible to late freezes. Replace the plastic in early spring with weed barrier fabric, which allows the heat to dissipate. Also, plant such bananas in open spots rather than against a south wall where early warm-up could spark premature growth.

Although Shattuck believes Northern plants grow faster if allowed to go dormant over the winter, the dwarf varieties of bananas do make interesting and attractive houseplants. Plants brought indoors can be potted and placed in a warm, sunny spot to keep growing, however slowly, over the winter. Don't let them dry out, but don't feed them, as they will make very little growth. Occasional misting is good, for the humidity in most houses is a far cry from the tropical outdoors.

Hauling banana plants indoors for the winter may seem like a great deal of trouble. My own bananas remain outdoors year-round in my Zone 9 yard near Tampa, Florida. They look pretty bad during a good winter and freeze to the ground during a bad one. I leave the dead leaves in place to help protect from possible frosts. Their appearance in winter is quite disenchanting, but I have seven large clumps in the back yard that I love almost as much as I would an ugly dog.

BANANA BASICS

Judge Shattuck usually starts moving his plants out around April 15, although the average last frost date in Ohio is May 15. Plants come through light frosts with only a little burning of the leaves. The roots will be all right as long as the ground doesn't freeze.

Bananas require full sun and protection from the wind, which will shred their leaves. They also need good drainage and plenty of water so they never dry out. Enrich the soil with as much humus as possible. Bananas prefer a fairly acid soil (5.5 to 6.5 pH), so you may need to add sulfur if your soil is alkaline. They love 90-degree days but stop growing when temperatures drop below 55 degrees and won't start again until it has been warm for a while.

Shattuck feeds his bananas with a special soluble fertilizer he buys by the gallon, first thing in the spring and again when the leaves start to unfurl. He does not feed again until a bud shows, and then he feeds fruiting plants about once a week. The rapid growth of bananas requires plenty of nutrients; it's hard to overfeed a banana in Florida, but Shattuck says they can be burned from too much fertilizer in Northern gardens.

THAT FABULOUS FIRST BUD

The formation of the banana fruit bud starts as early as the second or third month of growth, and by the fourth month the number of female flowers (and therefore, fruits) has already been determined. In the sixth to ninth months, the bud begins a three- to four-week journey up the stem, enlarging as it goes. Finally it emerges, wrapped in what looks like a short leaf. Within a few days, a large, purple raceme droops over and thereafter grows downward.

Every day or so another purple bract falls off as the flowers begin to open from the top of the pendant stem. First to peek out are the hands of female flowers blooming on the ends of ovaries that look like small bananas. The purple bud keeps getting smaller and the stem longer as the hands of hermaphroditic flowers and then of male flowers appear and bloom. Neither of these are necessary, though, and the blossom end can be severed as soon as no more fruits are being set. Doing so channels the plant's energy toward their ripening.

This process is slower in cooler climates where the season and the days are shorter. The stalk must remain on the plant until the bananas are of ample size, after which it can be safely cut and left to finish ripening indoors, sometimes for several weeks.

The weight of ripening fruit can cause the shallow-rooted plants to topple over. "Trees with fruit stalk 5 or 6 feet long can be very heavy and need some poles to help support them," Shattuck says. He also discovered that bananas grow better in a clump or circle so they can shade and support each other.

Sometimes a bud appears too late in the year for the fruit to ripen. Shattuck overwinters such plants with special care, protecting the bud from damage. Bud and fruit development resume in the spring when the plants return to the garden.

USES IN NORTHERN GARDENS

Northern gardeners will be comforted to learn that many dwarf plants produce fruit that equals that of the taller varieties in quality and quantity. `Dwarf Cavendish' is probably the most readily available. Some species have fruit and flowers that are more decorative than edible, such as Musa coccinea, with its bright red flowers, and Musa sumatrana, with its dark red-mottled leaves.

You may not want to spend the time and effort required for many banana plants or more than an occasional harvest. However, the inclusion of a few plants creates bold accents and unique focal points in home gardens. Even if your banana plants last only a single growing season, they can be fun to grow. And if I ever move back north, I'll be taking some along.

COPYRIGHT 1997 KC Publishers, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group
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Old 10-19-2020, 09:02 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Overwintering in Zone 7b

Photos are here
https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...I2?usp=sharing

I am having trouble getting banans.org to accept more than one photo so am hosting it on google drive
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