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Old 09-06-2010, 05:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default How to cut them down for inside storage

Can I just cut the tops off my banana's anywhere along the stem? I don't want to kill them. Right now they are 8ft or so and in another month or less I will have to bring them indoors. I have a 9ft ceiling so I don't have much room for overwintering. I will keep the room around 60 or so to not get a lot of winter growth. Can I cut anywhere along the stem even if a new leaf is emerging? Thanks
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: How to cut them down for inside storage

Yes you can cut them anywhere.The only problem would be if there was a bud in the P-stem and you cut below it. I guess to be safe cut as little as needed to fit inside.
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Thumbs up Re: How to cut them down for inside storage

Good advice, Tony.


I am concerned about this myself and don't want to cut too far down when I bring a certain banana plant in for the Winter. How awful that would be...to cut off the flower!


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Old 09-07-2010, 07:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: How to cut them down for inside storage

And what are the cons of cutting the flower. Will the plant die? I don't count on getting fruit up here anyway just using them for that "tropical feel". thanks guys
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: How to cut them down for inside storage

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And what are the cons of cutting the flower. Will the plant die? I don't count on getting fruit up here anyway just using them for that "tropical feel". thanks guys
No it wont kill the plant, just delay the bud from flowering for a season or so. I say chop it down to 6 ft
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Old 09-07-2010, 09:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: How to cut them down for inside storage

Im no expert but i though if you cut a plant down past a flower that plant will die...Its pups will live on but that specific p-stem will die...
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Old 09-08-2010, 04:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to cut them down for inside storage

Once you've cut past the flower it's done but since you're only looking for the tropical look the mother corm of the "dead" plant will still supply any pups left behind. If you do happen to cut beneath an emerging flower just chop it to the base and grow out the biggest pup which will grow all that much more vigorously from the added nutrient supply from a larger corm. Sometimes you can give an educated guess by the age of the plant and the tapering of the p-stem if there is a chance of a bud being present but not always. Everyone in a cold climate should be familiar with this thread , it's a gem.

Time to put the bananas to sleep for the Winter
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Old 09-08-2010, 04:13 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to cut them down for inside storage

Cut it as high as it is possible. The stem will most likely slightly dry up at the top and you will have to remove several inches. Other than that, if you cut off the flower bud in the P-stem, you will kill the flowering process and the mother plant will just die off. So no need to chop the P-stem up, just remove the leaves, close to the p-stem and the plant is ready to be stored. Good luck.
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Old 09-08-2010, 04:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: How to cut them down for inside storage

Wow, thanks for the great information everyone.


This banana flower stuff has got me so excited...especially seeing Bob's amazing success with his Ice Cream banana plant, and living only 10 hours away from me!


I can only hope and dream that I too will get a flower someday...



and not cut it off!!!



Great thread....learning tons.


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Old 09-08-2010, 07:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: How to cut them down for inside storage

I think it is probably easier to leave them in the ground and wrap them up as good as possible. I plan on using many layers of plastic to wrap up the p-stem to try and keep moisture out, a few layers of old clothes, then more plastic and finally leaf filled bags which will eventually be covered in something like a trash can or foam container to keep the moisture and cold out. A couple layers of tarp could be used to seal the deal and I could just leave everything on until the middle of May when I expect new leaves to come out again.

I tried growing bananas indoors last year and even with little watering, the plant still rotted and dried up due to a lack of sunlight which allowed the p-stem to get thinner and thinner until it eventually couldn't support itself. Maybe it was too small at the time.
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Old 09-08-2010, 08:14 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: How to cut them down for inside storage

I grew mine indoors last year just fine but they were small and not near as large as this year. They had window light and 10,00k 4oo watt MH to supplement that. THey grew from about 4 inches to over 3ft in about 5 months. My only problem now is the size and how much "more" light to add, so I don't break the bank buying lights.
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:46 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to cut them down for inside storage

If your ceiling is 9 feet, I'd cut it back to about 5 feet. That will leave a little room for new leaves to expand out and still not be up towards the ceiling too far where it's not as bright.
If your plant is two years old, or even three in Wisconsin, you're not real likely to cut off the bud. But if you want to know for sure, after you cut it off, cut the part you cut off longways and examine it to see if it's in there. Then use the leaves to cook yourself up a good meal in the crockpot. I have a good recipe for a pork roast in banana leaves on here, or you could use beef, chicken, deer, or fish.
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:40 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: How to cut them down for inside storage

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If your plant is two years old, or even three in Wisconsin, you're not real likely to cut off the bud. But if you want to know for sure, after you cut it off, cut the part you cut off longways and examine it to see if it's in there.
Isn't it too late then? Could you slice off thin sections of the p-stem to see if you are getting to the bud, and stop when you reach it? How can you tell what the bud looks like in this immature stage?
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Old 09-10-2010, 05:58 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to cut them down for inside storage

Well, yeah, it's too late if you already sliced it off. but usually you don't. When you slice the stem open lengthwise, you'll normally just see a lot of rings like a tree ripped down the middle, the bud looks different, kind of fat and when you slice it open a little like a button or a sponge mushroom rolled up tightly in a leaf. You're really just looking to reassure yourself that you didn't cut the bud off and then you can breathe easy again!
It takes me 4 years to get blooms on most of them around here, so you're almost 100% good in two years in Wisconsin. But then after it blooms the first time if you don't divide up the plant, my ice cream did bloom the next year too.
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Old 09-10-2010, 06:45 PM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: How to cut them down for inside storage

What about stripping the lower leaves? If I cut the top down should I leave all the smaller lower leaves on? IT would be easier to cut them off to give all the plants room to grow and prevent "shading".
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Old 09-10-2010, 06:45 PM   #16 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: How to cut them down for inside storage

Oh by the way thanks for the Borneo Giants Sandy they are great!!
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Old 09-10-2010, 06:48 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: How to cut them down for inside storage

Do you just use a large kitchen knife, like a bread knife, to cut them down? What's the best way? Is there a possibility of disease or infection after cutting?
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Old 09-13-2010, 06:49 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to cut them down for inside storage

You just use a sharp knife to cut them down. If you are worried about disease or infection I suppose you could dip your knife in rubbing alcohol between plants. They are not hard to cut down at all.
I've always left any leaves below the cut so that the plant can use them to make more food for itself. Remember, and this is important...after you cut them, they don't need much water until they have leaves again. It's easy to overwater them after you cut them off. So back off on the watering after you cut them off.
I think I'm going to have to repot or cut back those borneo giants, I think I have them as big as I can get them in 4" pots don't you think?LOL...
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Old 09-14-2010, 01:27 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to cut them down for inside storage

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I think it is probably easier to leave them in the ground and wrap them up as good as possible.
Unless the ground is heated, leaving a banana corm in the ground in central Wisconsin is certain death, unless it's a Basjoo or other very cold hardy specimen. Even then you'll need to keep the frost out of the soil. I have seen the ground frozen to over a foot deep in Illinois which is several hundred miles south of Timmko.
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Old 09-14-2010, 02:27 PM   #20 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: How to cut them down for inside storage

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Unless the ground is heated, leaving a banana corm in the ground in central Wisconsin is certain death, unless it's a Basjoo or other very cold hardy specimen. Even then you'll need to keep the frost out of the soil. I have seen the ground frozen to over a foot deep in Illinois which is several hundred miles south of Timmko.
I don't know about Wisconson, but around here, I have been able to just put a leaf bag over my gunneras which is enough to prevent the above ground bulb from freezing so I really doubt it freezes that deep around here especially with regular residual snow fall in zone 6.
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