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Old 08-19-2006, 03:39 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Sikkimensis; Dig up or protect in wet z8?

I have a sikkimensis that has grown to about 5-6 feet this year. Still has some growing time left before winter sets in.

I am in doubt about what I should do this winter though. We are in a zone 8, but there is alot of cold rain here during winter, so the ground is going to get saturated no matter what this winter. There probably is no way to keep soil around plant dry, in spite of good drainage.

The alternative i to dig up plant and store it in the basement. This seems risky too, I am not certain storing it bare-rooted is best. Likewise, I have also gotten rot after keeping naners in a pot in the basement, with no watering.

This question comes up every year, but people also probably learn new ways every year.

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Old 08-21-2006, 08:51 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sikkimensis; Dig up or protect in wet z8?

I have two sikkimensis in Denver that I grow in pots. They get moved into a warehouse over the winter, get watered just once or twice, and look like they're on death's doorstep when they move out the following spring, but regenerate as soon as they get some heat. They survive the winter with virtually no light. You might want to try digging and potting them, keeping them relatively dry. Good luck.
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Old 08-21-2006, 02:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sikkimensis; Dig up or protect in wet z8?

Quote:
I have two sikkimensis in Denver that I grow in pots. They get moved into a warehouse over the winter, get watered just once or twice, and look like they're on death's doorstep when they move out the following spring, but regenerate as soon as they get some heat. They survive the winter with virtually no light. You might want to try digging and potting them, keeping them relatively dry. Good luck.
Mark
I'm pondering the exact same thing as I have 10 different species of bananas in Zone 7a - all ranging from a 1ft Super Dwarf Cavendish to a 15ft monster - I think I'll give the Warehouse (storage) option a shot.. Although I don't really have a cool (40-50f) place to store them, they'll have to stay at room temperature (68-72f). My biggest dilemma is do I give them supplemental light or just keep them as dark as possible?
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Old 08-21-2006, 03:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sikkimensis; Dig up or protect in wet z8?

Mine stay at room temperature all winter....about 65 degrees. They also have weak flourescent light about 16 hours a day. It's not enough to grow them under, but I think it helps a bit. If you have access to a warehouse that stays relatively warm, i think you'll be succesful with them.......BUT...........they won't look good in the spring...........but will recover well with heat and light. Good luck!
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Old 08-21-2006, 03:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sikkimensis; Dig up or protect in wet z8?

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Mine stay at room temperature all winter....about 65 degrees. They also have weak flourescent light about 16 hours a day. It's not enough to grow them under, but I think it helps a bit. If you have access to a warehouse that stays relatively warm, i think you'll be succesful with them.......BUT...........they won't look good in the spring...........but will recover well with heat and light. Good luck!
Mark
Thanks, Mark...

Yeah, I could always just put them in my greenhouse that I set up for my tropicals. I did that last year, but the only problem is that the banana grew so ridiculously huge during the winter that it was hard to walk in there.

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Old 08-21-2006, 09:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sikkimensis; Dig up or protect in wet z8?

Erlend, I have a friend that overwintered 3 out of 6, first-year musa sikkimensis, outdoors last winter. He lives in Niagara, CA, zone 6b (right below the lake). I imagine if he can do it, so can you.

That being said, I'm in the same boat. I'm in a zone 7a in Knoxville, TN, and have a musa sikkimensis 'Red Tiger' doing very well in the ground right now. I'm just going to pile a few extra inches of mulch and take my chances. They are getting more common now, so finding another one will not be too difficult next Spring if I lose it. On the other hand, I have a nice musa cheesmani coming along very well in the ground, and haven't decided whether or not to leave it in the ground or dig it up. I'd probably have to start some more from seeds if I lost it, and would have to wait another year to plant it out. Musa itinerans is on its own this winter, as are several others.

I would suggest leaving it in the ground, covering with a few inches of mulch, some plastic, and a little more mulch to cover the plastic. Or...one of my absolute favorite methods...get a lawn bag full of dry leaves, cut the pseudostem down to about a foot, cut a whole in the top of the bag and slide it over the pseudostem so that the bottom of the bag is up. Make sure there aren't any holes in the bag for water to get in. Fasten the bag to the ground with some earth staples or something equivalent, and if desired, cover the bag with something more aethetically pleasing. That method has worked like a charm for me in the past with musella lasiocarpa. You'll want to uncover when it starts to warm up in the Spring though, even if you have to cover it back up again for a late frost.
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Old 08-23-2006, 09:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sikkimensis; Dig up or protect in wet z8?

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would suggest leaving it in the ground, covering with a few inches of mulch, some plastic, and a little more mulch to cover the plastic. Or...one of my absolute favorite methods...get a lawn bag full of dry leaves, cut the pseudostem down to about a foot, cut a whole in the top of the bag and slide it over the pseudostem so that the bottom of the bag is up. Make sure there aren't any holes in the bag for water to get in. Fasten the bag to the ground with some earth staples or something equivalent, and if desired, cover the bag with something more aethetically pleasing. That method has worked like a charm for me in the past with musella lasiocarpa. You'll want to uncover when it starts to warm up in the Spring though, even if you have to cover it back up again for a late frost.
Bigdog,

Is it necessary to cut the pseudostem down? Why can't I just wrap the whole thing and leave it as tall as it is?
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Old 08-23-2006, 12:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Sikkimensis; Dig up or protect in wet z8?

Bigdog,
Can this method with the plastic bag be used on other Bananas, like Zebrina or S. Lavender? and also, Clear or Black?
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Old 08-23-2006, 04:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sikkimensis; Dig up or protect in wet z8?

Bobby, it isn't necessary to cut the pseudostem down. In fact, with musella lasiocarpa I did not. I think you will find that the deeper you get into the colder zones (zone 7,6,5), the more pseudostem will die anyway, despite protection. If you were to leave a 6 foot pseudostem of musa sikkimensis, and wrap the whole thing, mulch, etc., in zone 6, and you were to have a true zone 6 winter, you would lose several feet of pseudostem anyway. Possibly the whole stem. BTW, I know you're in zone 7, I was just using that as an example . Those in zone 8 (in the SE US) that grow musa basjoo and musa sikkimensis are fortunate enough to not need any protection from the cold in most winters. Last winter, I know of several folks in zone 8 (SE) that started out with over 10 feet of pseudostem on musa basjoo. I figure that they grow so dang fast anyways, that they'll make up for that 2 or three feet of pseudostem, that I cut down, pretty soon.

Taylor - I wouldn't even try to attempt that method with m. zebrina, and I'm not sure what s. lavender is. I would only bother with the really cold-hardy bananas. I use black plastic, as it heats up really nice, especially on those cold, winter days.
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Old 08-23-2006, 04:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Cool Re: Sikkimensis; Dig up or protect in wet z8?

Thanks for the feedback guys. I am going to go for it and leave it outside. There is an advantage to this, and that is the root-system is now well-developed, it will be undisturbed, and growth will then probably be good next season. The plastic bag thing is one of the smartest things I've heard. I'll definately give that a shot.

I have said it before and I'll say it again; Sikkimensis knocks out basjoo in terms of growth. They were planted side by side, same size. Only 1 sikkimensis and 6 basjoos. The sikkimensis is now much taller and robust than all of them. It is also amazing that musa "helen" grown from seed this spring has grown almost as big as these basjoos! For Norway, Himalayan type bananas seem like the winners. But it remains to see who can conquer "king winter".

BTW, Since I like to brag, I promise to post a few pictures at the end of the growing season, wich sadly is coming to an end here real soon !

Erlend
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Old 08-23-2006, 04:21 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Sikkimensis; Dig up or protect in wet z8?

Okay,thats good to know. I am also getting a California Gold, a supposed cold-hardy banana. Would that one be okay?
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