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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 06-05-2012, 08:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
Location: Irmo, South Carolina (near Columbia)
Zone: 8
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Default Zone 8 growing?

Apparently central South Carolina is zone 8 and I have heard that I will be unable to grow edible bananas. Is that true?

We are new to this banana-growing-thing and are wanting to do it right. As a bodybuilder for 38 years I sure have eaten my share of them!

I will find out exactly what type tree my wife bought and that may help you all give me direction. She bought it from Lowes but didn't really get the name. We'll drop by tonight and find out.

Anyway, I want to plant the tree. With our soil consisting of a clay mix should I dig a hole MUCH bigger than the pot and then fill up the hole with some type of soil that banana trees like?

The big questions are; watering and winterizing.

Watering is not a problem; just need to know how much and how often. We have nice palm trees that are doing very nicely so I'm hoping banana trees will do well too!

Winterizing the tree is of great importance. While it doesn't stay cold very long here it can get down to mid 20's at times. These are fairly rare but they still happen. How do you winterize banana trees with temps like this?

The plants should love the spring and summer here! It's already hit over 90 degrees and June just started!

I appreciate any and all help so fire away! Oh, btw, I tried using the search and for some reason it doesn't like whatever I put in the box. I gave up and decided to start this thread.
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Zone 8 growing?

Hey Tim --------- get a few short cycle bananas like Viente Cohol. It's just about guaranteed you will see harvestable fruit before the cold in SC. Wish I knew about the VC when I lived in Charlotte. Also Dwarf Namwah and Goldfinger.

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Old 06-05-2012, 09:12 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Zone 8 growing?

Hey Tiny Tim
I believe you can take bananimal's advice and have fruit ! And guess what? Gold fingers are some darn good eating bananas and easy to grow .. If you get a large pot and have an area where you can place it during winter that will allow it to grow You'll be Mr Banana of S. Carolina … I have a Viente Cohol here at my house in South Florida its growing like a weed !
So there might be a few tricks to get fruit but people do it all the time .. Just depends in weather or not you want to be the guy who grows bananas in your area... …..Hey I just planted two Gros Michel here, the University of Florida Cooperative Extension Agency recommends not to plant them because of cold weather issues... I can toss a blanket over them and turn on a heat light during cold nights.. I respect what they advise and I make adjustments when necessary .. I bet if you look into some place like “the rare plant council “ in your area you will see bananas listed .. Bottom line , to roll with the big boys some times you have to make adjustments..
Best of luck to you and hope to see you here posting pictures of your South Carolina fruiting bananas plants in the future
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Zone 8 growing?

From where you got it, if it at all has red blotches on it, it's likely a Dwarf Cavendish or something similar. Could even be a Grand Nain (what you eat from the store) Hardware stores and large shops like Wal-Mart, etc, usually sell common Cavendish types or winter-hardy, non-edible types. (not poisonous, but not sweet either)

As for winterizing, what really helped me was looking at the sticky topic in the Hardy Bananas section on putting bananas to bed for the winter, but another method is actually just covering and wrapping and mulching your nanner really well. My winters are practically the same as yours, temperature speaking, and amazingly I actually had two Ice Creams (or probably Namwa knowing nurseries these days) live through very little protection as well as me giving up on them until mid-May, and some how, I got little shoots coming up from the ground now. Course, that means I'm starting over, but, at least they proved their root hardiness and went through the mid 20's for a short while. The nice thing is, there's actually quite a few varieties out there that can.


You can get fruit in your zone, but you cannot get it without proper care over the winter. The guy who started the thread on winterizing them in the Cold Hardy Bananas section lives in zone 7 and gets fruit. So my advice is, look through there especially his thread, and see what method you'd prefer. If you're working with a dwarf variety it is much easier to do either method (cover or dig up) however a taller variety (10 feet and up) will be a bit harder to work with.

Last edited by Illia : 06-05-2012 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 06-05-2012, 03:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Zone 8 growing?

Orinocos have a chance to fruit in central SC. I hear of that happening often from people who come by the farmer's market.
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Old 06-05-2012, 07:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Zone 8 growing?

Here's what we got:

Botanical Name:Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii'

Common Name:Red Leaved Banana

I have a feeling these don't produce bananas. Plus, when I started digging in the area where we were going to plant it I ran into massive pine tree roots about 2 inches down. So, we decided to put it in a big pot and sit it on top of the ground.

If anyone can tell me a little about this variety of plant I would appreciate it.
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Old 06-05-2012, 07:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Zone 8 growing?

Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii' - Bananas Wiki
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Old 06-06-2012, 06:17 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
Location: Pageland SC- Zone7b/8a line
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Default Re: Zone 8 growing?

For the Ensete you'll need a really big pot- I drive by a fruit stand that had some giant ones that they planted in containers that looked to be as big as a pallet and about 3' high. They moved them in and out every winter with a forklift...
They have the potential to get huge-
Things to know about these Ensetes:

1. No edible fruit
2. No pups- they eventually (years in our area) get big, flower, and then die.

I live near Charlotte NC (SC side), and have Orinoco- I had one in one season get huge 12' before the first leaf- I kept in in the garage and it flowered, but not fruit because it had no leaves or roots in the garage. I may have one flower this year, but I still doubt it will have time to let the fruit mature.
Enjoy your bananas in SC!
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Old 06-06-2012, 07:31 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Zone 8 growing?

Can you leave these in the big pot all year if you cover the pot in cold weather? Do you cut it back in the winter to a stump or how low do you cut it and when (if ever)?

Also, does the tree grow to the size of the pot? With some plants they only get as large as the pot allows.
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:37 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Zone 8 growing?

Tim ------ Covering outside won't work. Use a hand truck to move it into the garage and run a space heater like I do.

Figure a 45 or 50 gal pot will let it grow out to as big as you would want to, and can manage to transport.

Here's my 2 new guys growing fast.

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