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European Section This forum is for members of the Banana Society from anywhere in all of the European Union to discuss things about banana plants, to discuss issues of getting banana plants in and into Europe, to discuss the things that bother the region, etc.. The forum exists to allow every new European member to get in touch with his/her European colleagues, exchange plants, give advice, and more efficiently organize the European banana community.


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Old 08-26-2013, 06:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Musa Basjoo in zone 8b

Hi all,

I'm a new member, first post here. I need your advice as I'm a beginner. I want to plant some musa basjoo in my garden in Greece, in zone 8b. Yes, I know, living in a country which is mostly zone 9 and 10, I had to have a garden in zone 8b, frustrating The average minimum in December and January is +1 C, and most days and nights are not too cold but we do get the occasional frost and the temperature may go down to -5 or -6 C some nights. This normally doesn't last for more than a few days and then the temperature rises again. Wind and snow are rare.

Now, my question is, do I have to cut the musa basjoo to the ground? I want her to grow really big, 3-4m tall with a thick trunk, and many many leaves like those nice banana trees we see in South America; I don't want it to stay 2m tall with a weak thin trunk for ever. Do you think I can only cut the leaves and leave the trunk intact for the winter? Of course I will wrap it in bubble wrap. I'd be grateful for your advice. Also the same question about elephant ears if you know

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Old 08-27-2013, 02:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Hiya Re: Musa Basjoo in zone 8b

No need to turn it down to the ground.This wonderful climate I think that even without winter protection will not have a problem
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Old 08-28-2013, 05:29 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa Basjoo in zone 8b

Thanks for this Miroslav. According to yr.no Varna's winter temperatures are very similar to where I live. So I would love to hear about your experiences. What types of bananas do you grow and how do you overwinter them? Thanks
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Old 08-28-2013, 12:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Musa Basjoo in zone 8b

I only have a few types of bananas
Musa Basjoo,Ensete Maurelii,Ensete Glaucum,Super Dwarf Cavendish,Musa Cavendish.But all only Musa Basjoo winter outdoors.All other bananas winter temperature of 15 to 20 degrees to me in my home.
Photo winter 2012
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Old 08-28-2013, 02:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa Basjoo in zone 8b

oh wow! You have an entire collection! the one on the right is really big! I have 2 questions for you: 1. where did you buy these bananas from? and 2. how do you protect musa basjoo in the winter? Do you cover it? Do you cut the leaves?
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Old 08-29-2013, 03:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Musa Basjoo in zone 8b

All bananas are my Bulgaria of shops and some are my gift from friends.I have grown from seed.They grow up here at 30 degrees


Unfortunately I have no pictures of wintering bananas.But this winter will do.
See here
Musa Basjoo bananas winter protection - YouTube
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Old 08-02-2014, 02:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa Basjoo in zone 8b

Hi again

I finally bought a tiny musa basjoo. It's only 10cm tall with three small leaves. I was planning to put it on the ground now but then I thought that it won't be long till cold starts (November where I live), so it will still be tiny by then. I was thinking of cutting the leaves and covering with mulch but do you think it will have more chances of survival if I keep it indoors the first winter and put it in the ground in March? Lowest night temperature here is -6 C but only occasionally. Usually -1, -2 C.

Thanks
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Old 08-02-2014, 02:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Smile Re: Musa Basjoo in zone 8b

Quote:
Originally Posted by ego View Post
Hi again

I finally bought a tiny musa basjoo. It's only 10cm tall with three small leaves. I was planning to put it on the ground now but then I thought that it won't be long till cold starts (November where I live), so it will still be tiny by then. I was thinking of cutting the leaves and covering with mulch but do you think it will have more chances of survival if I keep it indoors the first winter and put it in the ground in March? Lowest night temperature here is -6 C but only occasionally. Usually -1, -2 C.

Thanks
I would keep it in its container till spring and plant that small plant outdoors.
That way the plant has all season to grow in the ground.
If you plant it in the ground now there could be a chance that it might not establish its roots for the winter.
Hibernating a basjoo
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Old 08-03-2014, 11:59 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa Basjoo in zone 8b

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Originally Posted by cincinnana View Post
I would keep it in its container till spring and plant that small plant outdoors.
That way the plant has all season to grow in the ground.
If you plant it in the ground now there could be a chance that it might not establish its roots for the winter.
Hibernating a basjoo
thanks for the link, i was going to look that up today,you saved me the trouble. thanks again.
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Old 06-14-2015, 07:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa Basjoo in zone 8b

How did they fare, Ego? In your area, you shouldn't have to do a thing to the basjoos; just let them die back for the winter. The same holds true for the elephant ears as well. They'll keep coming back year after year, multiplying each time.
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Old 06-15-2015, 07:56 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa Basjoo in zone 8b

Yeah it survived. I'm sure it was the sun stroke at the beginning. It's getting hotter and hotter now, it will be 37 C tomorrow and humidity will be very low, like 20% during midday, which I guess bananas don't like. Unfortunately humidity is the only thing I cannot control. I water her almost every day.

So my banana is growing but quite slowly. About 1 new leaf per month at the current rate. It should be faster, right?

Re winter, I know that the root will probably survive without protection but I'd like to try and keep the stem too so that it will grow larger on the second year. I have read that bananas are perennials though, so apparently the stem won't last for more than 18 months no matter what?
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:40 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa Basjoo in zone 8b

They should be putting out a new leaf every five days or so, so yes, they are languishing. I've seen bananas in San Diego that went through the same problem. If there is a way to keep them out of the direct sun, you're going to be much better off. 37c is like 85 degrees here, so it's not that hot, but low humidly is definitely not good.

If you can get some shading over the plant to reduce the direct sun, and place something over it to help keep humidity in, you can put a container of water next to it. The evaporation will stay contained under the cover like a miniature greenhouse, but you must reduce the sun first!

In your area, the stem will die back, but all the way to the ground. It should stay around three feet or so. bananas spread, so don't worry about the mother p-stem dieing back. By then, it will have pupped and begun spreading.
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Old 06-15-2015, 10:01 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa Basjoo in zone 8b

One leaf every 5 days?? Wow. Nah, I'm nowhere near that. I'm starting to worry now. Maybe it's just the beginning? The transplanting shock still. Or perhaps the low humidity. I already have some sort of screen that blocks the sun in the afternoon. I will also try the water container. Thanks a lot for your advice. I'll keep you updated.
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Old 06-15-2015, 10:31 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa Basjoo in zone 8b

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One leaf every 5 days??
Yeah, when the cigar is growing upwards, it's growing at the rate that the hour hand moves on a watch. You can literally almost watch it grow. It's like 1/16"-1/8" per hour, or something like that. My best plant has a cigar 6"-8" long inside the unfurling leaf already.

I'm in the same zone as you, but with a lot more humidity. That's key. Another thing you might try, is a mister on the plant at night, when the sun can't burn the leaves.

Your location is perfect for saguaro cacti and Joshua trees though. Have you considered a southwestern US climate garden at all?
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Old 06-16-2015, 05:25 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa Basjoo in zone 8b

Where I live conditions are not good for most plants apart from the native ones obviously. Summer are hot and dry, with temperatures that reach or exceed 40 C and humidity around 20-40% at around midday. At nights however humidity is around 70% so I don't see how a night mister will help. I suppose my only option is an open water container next to the plant. I just need to keep our dog away from it

Then in the winter, although most days are not too bad, we do get frosts and temperatures at nights drop to -6 and sometimes below that. So I don't think Joshua trees and saguaro cacti would survive that. What's the minimum temperature in the deserts where they live?

See when people hear Greece they assume perfect banana conditions but reality is different. Although I must say that in most parts of Greece the climate is much better, with milder temperatures and more humidity. It's just that I happen to live in a small plain surrounded by high mountains, so no sea effect on the climate, which is continental rather than mediterranean It's very similar to that of Dallas, Texas, but with less rains and humidity.

Therefore, I am not aiming high. I am not creating a full tropical garden. I'll be happy if I can grow few isolated tropical plants, like bananas, alocasias, bamboo, and perhaps a palm tree. The rest of the garden will be mediterranean. It's just the lure that those wonderful, huge, lush banana leaves have on me..

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Old 06-16-2015, 08:39 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa Basjoo in zone 8b

It's probably borderline for the saguaro, but Joshua trees should be okay. I think the Mojave Desert is a Zone 8a. Sabal palms should be okay as well. Windmill and needle palms will definitely be fine.
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Old 06-16-2015, 09:08 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa Basjoo in zone 8b

Thanks a lot for your recommendations Doug. I'll look into them for sure!

By the way, just checked the humidity outside: 15%
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Old 06-16-2015, 12:12 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa Basjoo in zone 8b

Who needs a food dehydrator with temps and humidity like that?
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Old 06-16-2015, 02:09 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa Basjoo in zone 8b

Haha! In this case the food is my banana
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Old 11-17-2015, 08:20 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Musa Basjoo in zone 8b

How did everything turn out, Ego?
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