winter care for Red Banana tree

Discussion in 'Outdoor Tropicals' started by gardenmistress2003, Oct 30, 2006.

  1. gardenmistress2003

    gardenmistress2003 Member

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    I am growing a couple of Banana trees in outdoor containers for the first time this year. I am not sure how much protection they will need. One is approx. 1.5 metres, in a very large ironstone urn; one is in a metal container and plant is approx. 1 metre tall. Container is copper and quite thin, although I did line it with some styrofoam when I initially planted it up.
    Should I wrap the containers with insullation or the entire plant and pot? I suppose leaves and burlap will work, but should I avoid plastic wrap to prevent rot? It would be a lot easier if they were in the ground, I think. I have assured my clients that Bananas can overwinter in Vancouver outside, so I hope someone can advise me on this.
    Loved the igloo, lichen-growing, polar bear, Great White North discussion. Over here on the North Shore we already have our annual Permafrost going on!
     
  2. palmera

    palmera Active Member

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    I over winter my red bananas in pots in the garage or greenhouse. They do very well there. I would be very nervous to leave them outside. Only my green Musa Bajoo and Hookeri stay outside and they are in the ground (and wrapped to save the trunk).
    Can you bring them in?
     
  3. gardenmistress2003

    gardenmistress2003 Member

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    Hi,
    Thanks for reply. I don't have anywhere to store the Banana plants, unfortunately. One pot could be moved undercover near the house, but the other is in a really big ironstone container on a patio. If I dug them out and put them in big nursery pots, would they need light or heat over the winter? I store Fuschias, Cannas and Dahlia tubers in a dark, unheated shed and they are fine. Could I do that with the Bananas? I assume the wet is probably as fatal as the cold.
     
  4. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years of Activity

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    If by "Red Banana Tree" you mean Ensete ventricosum 'Maurellii', then all I do is move them into a cool (45f -50f) storage area with 8 hrs of light. Remove most of the leaves and rarely water. These get very heavy is just one season. Next year I'm planting mine out and will devise a plan to over-winter the beast. I've stressed mine badly this year keeping it contained in a 20 gallon pot. It's very root bound and needs to get out in the garden next spring.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
    Delvi83 likes this.
  5. jaymay

    jaymay Member

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    I had a question about winter care and it looks like you guys know what your talking about. I live in wisconsin and have brought my banana plant in for the winter becuz there's no way it would survive -24F. What should I do with it inside to make sure it lasts the winter? If you know please tell me everything becuz I have just started this fall and would like to keep it goin for a long time.
    Thanx
     
  6. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years of Activity

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    "it looks like you guys know what your talking about."

    Personally, no one's ever said that to me before. These will only take a very lite freeze and even that will damage your Ensete banana plant, much more and it will kill it outright.
    A coolish area (45f - 55f), garage or some such area is fine. Greatly reduced watering and about 8hrs of light will get it through the winter.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  7. Georgina McGuire

    Georgina McGuire Member

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    Hi Everyone
    I have regular banana trees in Langley,B.C planted outside. If you don't have a greenhouse for your potted tree you maybe able to use this method and cover the pot as well as the plant. I keep my trees alive by insulating with all the leaves that fall off the trees in the back yard. I first clip all the leaves off the banana tree and keep a 41/2 - 5 foot high stock. (its to hard to insulate a highter tree)
    We put a plastic netting around the tree at least 15 inches from the stock on each side and fill it with leaves. Then we put a plastic cover over top. Its a great insulator. The plants come back beautiful every year.

    If you don't have leaves in your back yard, maybe your neighbour does.

    Hope this helps you
    Have a great week
    Georgina
     
  8. honolua

    honolua Active Member

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    Hi,
    In one of the previous notes up top, it says to place the red banana in a cool, but not cold garage or the like with light. I have a shed that could comfortably hold my red banana in it's pot, but there is no light. I heard that when the leaves are cut off and you drastically reduce the watering to barely a dribble all season, they go dormant and thus, do not need light.....is this true?

    I hope it's true, because then I could move it (with lots of help) into my shed and hope it survives, only to be brought out next spring to new growth!
     
  9. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years of Activity

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    As stated in the above posts, about 8 hrs of light during the winter months is required.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  10. DC United Palm Fan

    DC United Palm Fan Member

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    I'm not so sure about this. I think they actually can/ DO go dormant. Where I am, they are corm hardy, which means they die back to the ground. (most people cut them down after the first frost) but the corms stay alive in a dormant stage during the colder months. So they most definitely do not need much light nor water during cold months of storage. I know this because I have seen people store them in different ways, most of which they get no light. There are plenty of yards around here with differing varieties of Banana, and I can tell you both the Red Abyssinian (Ensete ventricosum 'Maurellii',), and Musa Basjoo are left out year around, and come back bigger and better each year. Some heavily mulch over top the corm during winter, some do not. But this does suggest that they do NOT need any light when they go into a dormant stage. Remember, Banana's are actually a grass, and like grass, they can be cut down, and regrow from the cut, and can also go dormant in cold weather so long as the corm does not rot/ fully freeze.

    Here is my response to someone asking about overwintering Musa Basjoo in another thread.

     
  11. betwixtapair

    betwixtapair Member

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    Actually, bananas ARE NOT a grass, as stated above. They are an herb.
     
  12. lansur

    lansur Member

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    Hi, I too am from Langley BC and I failed to save a banana tree last year. It rotted from the mulch (used leaves which became soggy). This year I have a gorgeous new red banana plant that I have cut the leaves off leaving a stem of about 3 feet. I have bubble wrap in the wings ready for wrapping the plant after I get suitable mulch. Does anyone have recommendations for some insulation other than leaves? I'm told by some bloggers that I should use the banana leaves for insulation but likely don't have enough and they are very wet - as most know, banana plants contain much water. Should I spray with funcicide? Will bubble wrap 'cook' the plant? Thanks in advance. Gordon
     
  13. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor

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    Bubble wrap and frost cloth were always my go-tos when I was in Canada - and if you're worried about harder chills, wrap the stem in conventional (ie incandescent) christmas lights - the heat they generate is enough to keep frost off, but not enough to cook the plant.
     
  14. ajprevost

    ajprevost New Member

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    The more I read, the more unsure I am about trying to save my 2 potted Red Abyssinians over the winter here in North Vancouver BC. I don't have room in my small condo to bring in two 6 foot plants, and I don't have any cold storage options. All the I have is my terrace (facing north) and a corner along the fence which is has a balcony overhead (and near my patio window). I don't know anything about the Red Abyssinians other then both having become such beautiful plants which I would hate to lose. I was thinking that my only option was to create a temporary plastic shelter in that corner under the balcony and set the two pots on a piece of insulation foam (2") to insulate the pots from the cold ceramic floor; and maybe wrapping some insulation around the pots.

    Some suggest cutting the plants down to 3 - 4 feet and then protecting them with leaf mulch. I don't have access to leaf mulch as I only have over a dozen potted cedars on my terrace.

    Am I just best to try the plastic shelter idea? I don't have any outdoor plug-ins to add any heating of any kind, unless I run an extension chord out the my patio door and leave it partly ajar... I'm wondering whether, given that I have one storage option on my terrace in any case, it is just as well to leave the plants without cutting it down.

    I may be fighting a lost cause, but I just love these two beautiful plants.
     
  15. Aisya

    Aisya Member

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    Its an Ensete which needs draining before storing.

    Ensete do not tolerate freeze. Normally kept indoors, example might be an attic or conservatory.

    Here is a site on storing.
    Wintering over your Red Abyssinian Banana (Ensete ventricosum 'Maureli')

    Good luck everyone, hope they come through winter. I use mine as bedding plants due to no real frost free place.
     
  16. DonGab

    DonGab New Member

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    We brought a couple home in a pot from a nursery about 12 years ago. After two years they outgrew the pots so I planted them permanently in a planter. I use to try and cover them for the winter until they got about 6' tall. After that I just piled some mulch around the bases. The leaves would freeze and turn brown during the winter but in the spring I would just hack the stalk back until I saw life in the centre of the stalk and new growth would push up from there. Last winter was warm enough that the leaves really didn't freeze and new leaves started from the top. A couple are over 12' tall already this spring. Last year three plants produced a flower stalk and small bananas. The stalk dies after it has flowered and I cut them back to ground level. The plants also push up "pups" from the roots. I have to keep thinning them out by cutting them away from the root and giving them away to friends and anyone that wants some.
     

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