Bananas in containers

Discussion in 'Outdoor Tropicals' started by soccerdad, May 29, 2009.

  1. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    428
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Dunbar area
    I have a musa basjoo about 2.5' tall that I bought a month ago, an unknown banana about 3' tall that I bought a week ago, and a musa sikkimensis about 3" tall that I have grown from seed and that germinated two weeks ago.

    Until I organize my garden on a more permanent basis, I'd like to keep them in containers. But they evidently spread out quite a bit, so can anyone tell me if this is sensible and if so what width of contained you would suggest? Also, assuming that I get them ready for it, is full sun good, bad, or neutral?
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2009
  2. honolua

    honolua Active Member

    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Hi,
    I had purchased a musa basjoo last year that was 1-2 feet tall (on sale), to add to my garden. We were re-landscaping, so I had to plant it in a pot temporarily. I used a large square cedar pot (2-3 feet by 2-3 feet cubic) to give it lots of room. I had planted it around April. By September, it had completely out-grown it, with 5 pups growing out of it, and it had reached a 8 foot tall height. I transplanted it into the ground and basically, the whole cedar pot was root. These grow very fast (which is part of what makes them so nice), so use as big a pot as you can, in case your "temporary" turns out to be a bit longer.....

    Cheers
     
  3. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    428
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Dunbar area
    *Gulp* I don't have that much disposable space if each banana ends up that large. But we are eliminating some of the lawn now that the kids don't play on it, so maybe we can do something ...

    Am i correct in assuming that you wrapped it to enable it to survive the winter, which everyone in Canada seems to have to do?

    Thanks
     
  4. honolua

    honolua Active Member

    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Hi,
    There are a couple of ways you can go about it. One is to wait until the first heavy frost turns all the leaves a horrible light brown and the plant looks quite dead. Then, you cut those dead leaves off, put a chicken wire cage around the plant and fill it with straw or such. Then, put a tarp around it so water does not get in, and thus freeze the plant. Then in spring, when heavy frost/snow is no longer a threat, take all that off and watch it miraculously grow back very quickly. Another method is to do nothing, let it die to the ground and it grows back in the spring, albeit shorter as it starts closer to the ground. Here in the lower mainland, many do that as they can't be bothered to cover them up. Even after this past horrible winter, my neighbour's which was left uncovered, has sprung to life. As long as the base of the plant, or the underneath the soil part (rhizome) does not freeze, the above-the-ground stuff can and the plant will survive. They are completely full of water, so if you cut it down to cover it in the winter, stand back as you will get sprayed when you cut it!

    They are lovely plants that add a great feel to your yard. They do spread into a nice thick grove though, so don't be surprised when a secondary and third and so on...shoot comes out in the pot. Take a look at the photo gallery on www.hardypalm.com and many gardens have mature plants. As well, buy "Palms Don't Grow Here and other Myths" (book) as it has a ton of info on palms and bananas. Another good site (which won't be up much longer as he is moving) is www.tropic.ca. Find the section under plants/bananas/winter care. This also has good pictures to guide you.

    Go for it!
     
  5. Canadianplant

    Canadianplant Active Member

    Messages:
    457
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Thunder Bay
    Bananas are basicaly big grass in a sense. You can try to dig up the pups in the spring. I have a feeling that cutting any of the pups or mature plants will make it want to spread out more.
     
  6. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

    Messages:
    739
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    London, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5b)
    Thank you for all the great information - I am looking so forward to growing a banana plant soon, if I can get my hands on some seeds or pups.

    All the pics I've seen leave me drooling! What amazing and lovely plants they are. I want to have a yard filled with them one day!

    : )
     
  7. Canadianplant

    Canadianplant Active Member

    Messages:
    457
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Thunder Bay
    You can try canadian tire. I got some ensete ventricosum seeds for like 2 bucks. Nothing has happened yet. \They wont survive the winter outside there, but youc an dig them up and store them like a giant canna, or dahlia.
     
  8. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    4,777
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Cplant, if you separate the pups, the mother plant gets taller and is more likely to bloom and fruit that season. It actually discourages lateral spread - the pups are what make the mat bigger, not their removal.

    Soccerdad, if they're just single plants you can put them in those large-size plastic containers that are used for potted palms (I have no idea how many gallons those are, but then again, I have had great success with temporary lodging of bananas in 40-gal garbage buckets.) Don't worry about your mat getting huge - by depupping you can always control the size of your backyard plantation. And yes, you'll have to cut the leaves off and wrap the stem to overwinter them.

    In Canada, full sun will be fine for your basjoos. Warmer places need a bit more shade, but that's not really an issue in Vancouver.

    Also, if you post a picture of your 3' NOID banana, I may be able to ID it for you.
     
  9. bjo

    bjo Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    271
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    algarve portugal
    Greetings from Portugal.

    Over the years, I have grown many different bananas and Ensete in pots. I am continually amazed how big they will grow even in small pots - if kept well watered and well-fed. I have had a 3.5m (11-12 foot)Ensete in a 40cm (16 inch)diameter pot. At the moment my largest pot grown banana is a Musa sapientum at about 2m (6.5 foot) in a 30cm (12 inch) diameter pot.

    I have no doubt that they would grow faster and larger in bigger pots, but they seem happy.

    Good Luck (Boa Sorte)

    Brian
     
  10. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

    Messages:
    739
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    London, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5b)
    Love to see pictures Bjo, if you can...

    : )
     
  11. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    428
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Dunbar area
    Alas my 3" seed-grown plant has rotted. Maybe I watered it too much. Anyway, I am reduced to two store-bought ones.

    Bad weekend for the soccerdad estate. One of my sprinkler controllers gave up the ghost. Four of my outdoors light stopped working. Time to put down my trowel and get out my multimeter.
     
  12. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

    Messages:
    739
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    London, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5b)
    Sorry to hear that you're having such bad luck these days. I hope things will work out for you.

    : )
     
  13. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    428
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Dunbar area
    Located the problem with the sprinkler system: defect in recently-purchased controller (or whatever they are called). The lights must involve a break in a particular 5' length of wire - under cement. But the weather is fine and such trifles are merely the spice of life.
     
  14. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

    Messages:
    739
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    London, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5b)
    Good to hear you got it figured out, soccerdad.

    Bjo, guess what? I just received seeds today for 'musa velutina' banana!!! I already have them soaking in water. I am told they can grow in containers. The bananas turn pink when ripe, and it is very ornamental.

    I am also receiving seeds from another person, for a few kinds of other banana varieties. I am so thrilled. I am going to post pics as mine grows. A bit nervous, because I've never grown one, but with the help of the International Banana Society, I intend on learning a whole lot more. Plus people in this thread are experienced as well - Lorax knows tons.

    I am detemined to become a successful banana grower - and when I set my mind to something...



    : )
     
  15. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

    Messages:
    739
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    London, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5b)
    Oh yeah, also with the musa velutina's, I received washingtonia filifera, washingtonia robusta, and ensete ventricosm. I think the last three are palm.

    Lorax, what is the difference between these palm seeds and a banana plant?

    : )
     
  16. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    4,777
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    The Washingtonias are palms, and the Ensete is related to bananas, and indeed looks like one when you grow it. The main difference with the Ensete is that given a sunny spot in the garden, it can get quite big - to give you an idea, here, where we have no winter, E. ventricosum grows to about 50 feet of height before blooming, and the edible part is the starchy corm....

    The banana-lookin' thing with the fancy flower is an Ensete ventricosum - they're grown as landscaping "trees" here, and that one was at the gate of the Quito Botanical gardens. It bloomed at about 40' of height.

    The palm-lookin' things are Washingtonia of some description; these are common boulevard trees on Ecuador's coast. I've never seen potted ones get quite this big, but I understand that they're quite hardy and attractive as smaller plants.

    The difference between the seeds is that the Washingtonias will be easier to germinate than the Ensetes, and of course the obvious difference in what will sprout.... I've never personally tried this type of palm from seed, but I'm sure that if you do a forum search on "Washingtonia germination" you'll find a thread where people have discussed their techniques. The Ensete germinates in the same manner as the Musas - with difficulty and care. However, since you have such a green thumb, it is likely that you'll have great success.
     

    Attached Files:

  17. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

    Messages:
    739
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    London, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5b)
    Thanks so much Lorax! Those pictures are spectacular! I think I am in love - palms are awesome. I had no idea what I actually had here. Oh boy, I am so thrilled to have seeds for all of these. That third picture is beautiful!

    I am going to grow one in a container. Do they like lots of sun? Since you have a full understanding of our weather, do you think they will do well here? Would these palms come back next Spring? Thanks for the excellent tips and information, Lorax. The shots are all terrific.

    : )
     
  18. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    4,777
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    The Washingtonia will take all of the sunlight you can give them, and need soil with good drainage. They'll do quite well in pots. However, they'll take quite a while to form up into trees like you see there in Guayaquil.
     
  19. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

    Messages:
    739
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    London, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5b)
    I think they will be well worth the wait. Thanks for the information, Lorax.

    : )
     
  20. honolua

    honolua Active Member

    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    HI,
    What would somebody out there suggest re: removing pups for musa basjoo. I have one musa (2 years old) that as I previously mentioned above, grew many pups when first in the container. Now, a year later and in the ground, the main plant died this winter, but 2 secondary shoots are now at least 3 feet tall. Suddenly, there are 8 new pups surrounding these. It is great, as I want to fill out the "grove", but is it harmfull to cut pups off if too many appear? I read above it actually makes the mother plant grow taller.....how many to cut off is "safe"?
    thanks
     
  21. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    4,777
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Weeeelllll.... Even if you cut them off you're not going to just throw them away, right? You'll put them back into pots or into the ground in the same area as the original mat - it grows your grove a bit faster this way, actually. Personally, I'd take off all 8 new pups but leave the two secondary shoots alone. It's not harmful to the mother plant to cut off pups - it's the normal mode of propagation; in "natural" conditions, all but the strongest 2 or 3 would die back, so you'll actually be increasing your plants' reproductive success.

    There's an excellent photo-tutorial on exactly how to separate pups safely at the International Banana Society.
     
  22. honolua

    honolua Active Member

    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Thanks! I shall see the tutorial. I am so pleased at how they are growing! Purchased a musa hookeri (sikkimensis) and it is so lovely too! I wish I could grow musa ensete, but my zone will not allow it. Have a great day!
     
  23. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    4,777
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    You can too grow Ensete ventricosum or E. maurelii, you just have to overwinter them indoors. I know folks in Oslo Norway who do it every year.
     
  24. honolua

    honolua Active Member

    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Hi,
    I have thought of that, but I don't have a place big enough to over-winter it (until I build a greenhouse or garage)! I had one in a pot last year, that grew well, to about 4 feet tall and about 10 inches wide (stalk). I cut it down, used dormant spray, and placed it in my shed, with mulch on top to keep it warm. I took it out this past spring, only to find it turned to mush, rotted throughout. It was one big, slimy mess. So, until I have a big space where temps will stay constant, I must admire them from afar. VanDusen Gardens in the lower mainland has a huge one, that towers above the musa basjoo. They dig it up each winter by forklift, and store it in a special giant greenhouse.

    Maybe some day...........(one can dream).
    cheers
     
  25. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

    Messages:
    739
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    London, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5b)
    Although they don't look like much just yet, here are some musa basjoo banana pups I just received a few days ago, from someone on this forum!

    They weren't really doing well at first in my cool and sunny window sill, so I now have them on my heat mat, under my fluorescent light system, and they seem to be perking up a bit.

    This variety grows 8 feet tall, and so I will likely put these guys outside once they take off for me...

    : )
     

    Attached Files:

Share This Page