Fastest growing tallest bananas for zone 6b

andyandy(6bMI)March 6, 2006

What is the fastest growing tallest banana I could plant up here in Michigan. I realize it may be one that can't be over-wintered but maybe pups could be stored in a cool dry place over the winter. Would Ice Cream Bananas be the tallest. I would appreciate any suggestions.

thanx,

Andy

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weatherguy(z6 Illinois)

Most bananas, after temperatures are consistantly warm, say above 80F, grow at WARP SPEED. I don't think variety really matters for speed (beside dwarf species which don't gain as much height with each leaf and are fuller). A banana will grow and grow until frost here, so most regular bananas will reach pretty much the same height in the same amount of time. Musa saba is the tallest banana but doesn't take off until temperatures are in the upper 80s. As for storing, non-hardy varieties can be overwintered in the basement or crawl space much like a giant canna tuber. Just dig the whole plant up, cut off all the leaves except the still furled one, and let it rest. In the Spring, just plant it back out and it will get bigger and bigger every year. This is a way to reach fruiting size in northern areas.

Hope this helps,

Christian

Here is a link that might be useful: Dave's Garden: Musa saba

    Bookmark   March 6, 2006 at 7:52PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

I live in Northern VA. I've tried a number of tender varieties in my garden -- Rojo, Mahoi, Raja puri, Cavendish, Brazilian tall, etc. The Raja puri did well and got quite tall. I've dug a large pup of Brazilian to plant back out this summer, so I suspect it to get quite tall too. But by far the tallest will always be the Basjoo that I leave in the ground and heavily mulch each winter. It starts growing in March already and gets around 15 feet by August.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2006 at 8:13AM
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weatherguy(z6 Illinois)

Wow! looks the most cold hardy is also one of the largest and fastest! (at least out of traditional banana country................:>)

    Bookmark   March 7, 2006 at 6:49PM
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andyandy(6bMI)

Dave-
I have my bananas (Basjoo) and many of my palms in a spare bedroom that I have turned into a greenhouse. It has a south facing window (5x3 feet). I also have two grow lights and two 200 watt bulbs in the ceiling. With all of that and a cloud free sky today it warmed up in there between 78-80 degrees. My tallest basjoo grew 2 INCHES since last night. Given that type of growth if in theory I could have a couple of Basjoo 4-5 feet tall by the time I put them in the ground in May could they end up being 14 or more feet by August and is there any chance they could flower. Please let me know what you think.

thanx, Andy

    Bookmark   March 7, 2006 at 9:27PM
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weatherguy(z6 Illinois)

Nope they probably will not flower this year. Maybe during the end part of next Fall I would imagine as long as you save the full pseudostem each winter. I would reccommed you get a Musa Orinoco that you could store each winter in the basement and eventually get fruit from. They have showier blossoms (maroon/pink) than basjoo (pale yellow/cream) and plus the fruit would be edible.

Christian

    Bookmark   March 7, 2006 at 10:21PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Agreed. Basjoo blooms are not that exciting, other than being sort of interesting to show the neighbors! And the fruit remain quite small and is inedible. If your basjoos are small, you can probably expect anywhere between 4 to 8 feet by the end of the first season depending on its vigor and your culture.

This photo shows the first year's growth for mine (see below), but they get exponentially larger each year if left in the ground.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 3:45PM
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gpdirt

I would HIGHLY recomend Musa 'Orinoco' (Orinoco Banana)! I grow musa basjoo it grows well but gets about 10 feet high, i mulch and cover it for the winter. I live in greenville michigan.

But i prefer the Mush Orinoco i ordered one last spring from Plant Delights nursery (plantdelights.com) put in a large pot fertilized it regularily I started with a 2 qt pot plant about 1 foot tall. It grew very fast after it rooted in it got about 18 feet tall i kept it in my stairway this winter it is doing great it has 5 pups. I was amazed how fast and how tall this plant got. It has also done well in the house through the winter. I can email you a picture of me in front of my plant if you want

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 3:11PM
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tropicallvr(11)

If your going to leave it outside your best bet would be Musa Daj Giant. It won't produce edible bananas, but it should survive your zone with protection.
If your planning on bringing a banana in for the winter, Musa Saba, and Ensete ventricosum are some big boys, but you may get tired of hauling them in when they get a couple hundred pounds.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 11:43PM
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bananafan

Andy: Ice cream isn't the tallest banana, but it can grow rather tall up to 15 ft. A lot of people grow it for its good tasting and compare its flavor to that of vanilla custard. Some of the tallest bananas are Musa Saba (up to 20 ft) and Musa Itinerans var gigantea (up to 40 ft). The former produces edible fruit, but the latter only inedible fruit.

Your choice for an ice cream seems like a good one. It's more cold hardy than others, but can't be compared to Basjoo. The only thing is its height--you will need a room with a taller ceiling to accommodate its height (that is if you plan to keep it in the pot all the time). There was a thread about an ice cream bearing fruit close to your planting zone. Here's the link if interested:

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/banana/msg0608524020197.html

It's amazing what plants can do. Growing bananas is as fun as growing palms. Once you start on it, you won't want to quit. Have fun!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2008 at 3:12PM
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lee466

Giant yunnan banana, it is the worlds tallest banana, it can reach almost 40'. It is unlike other bananas, it likes shade, direct sunlight damages the leaves. If you plant it in shade, and fertilize well, it can reach full size. Its hardiness is not known well yet, but it could be the hardiest banana. It can grow extremely fast in good weather. It is also hard to find it, it almost doesn't exist on ebay.

http://www.agristarts.com/musa_itinerans.htm

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 1:19AM
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tropicallvr(11)

The Giant yunnan banana is one of much hype, and mislabeling, and marketing. I grew a couple Musa initerans 'Gigantea' from the Yunnan seed source, and they proved to be nice looking plants, but could not be considered a cold hardy banana. The one that agri-starts is selling is actually Musa yunnaninsis, which is pretty hardy from my trials in a cold zone 8a, but isn't an interans species. It sends up pups close to the mother, unlike Musa interans Gigantea which can send runners 15 feet plus away from the original plant. Do not buy any plants called Musa initerans 'Gigantea', and expect them to be anything but the Musa yunnaninsis the Agri-starts is tissue culturing as "Musa initerans Gigantea"
Musa ingens is still the biggest of bananas, at over 50 feet tall.

Here is a link that might be useful: Musa ingens pics-last photo is best.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 10:34AM
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tropicallvr(11)

Here's a link to where Musa initerans Gigantea came from and can still be purchased. It is now called Musa xishuangbannaensis, and was also sold by the same company as Musa 'Big flower'. The one that agri-starts is selling is also on their web site, Musa yunnansis.

Here is a link that might be useful: Yunnan source

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 10:39AM
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nucci60(6 Ma.)

gpdirt, you had a two quart banana grow to 18 feet in one season in Michigan!? Did I read that correctly?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 9:59AM
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theyardman

I just planted (in April) two different kinds of bamboo and they are about 15-18 ft already with 20-30 spikes. They are still growing and not even leafing out yet. BTW, they are in 3/4 shade most of the day.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 2:53PM
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coniferfreak(z6 PA)

Highly invasive. In fact, I believe bamboo is on most states' Invasive Species List.

I'd rather plant bananas! :)

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 11:15PM
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chironex(9)

Not all bamboo is invasive. There are clumping and running varieties.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 5:27PM
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theyardman

Hey Andy Andy,

We're starting a "Tropics of Michigan; Botanical Society". There are quite a few on here from SE Michigan, and Telly's in Troy is willing to host us in Mid April (April 20th) for now. ARe you Interested? Looks like 6-10 of us from Detroit Area so far...

Let me know by responding the Tropics of Michigan thread.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 12:36AM
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gastone21

I planted a dwarf namwa, ice cream, and goldfinger from going-bananas.com last year. I received them early in the season, beginning of April, and put them in the ground after danger of frost. Each was about 12-14" when received. At the end of the growing season each was over 10' tall, with the ice cream being close to 13'.

My basjoo, which was about 5' tall when it went into the ground, got to close to 13', and threw off numerous pups. Some of the pups were almost as tall as the mother. It was quite the cluster by the end of the growing season.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 1:52PM
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srewolf(9 East Central Florida)

I have been looking for Musa Ingen seeds for 3 years now does anyone know where I might find them?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 8:32PM
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lomodor(6)

ive left posts on all kinds of sites..and no offers of m.ingens seed..:( my understanding it doesnt pup..bummer.. so a MONSTER plant or seed are only options..
i know there have been a couple people over on bananas.org that have germinated and grown m.ingens.. one guy is in hawaii..so you would think close to idea.. i dont think he was sucessful getting a mature plant..:(
that doesnt stop me wanting one..or 2 though..:)
i know alittle of the culture for growing m.ingens..
they dont like extreme heat..or high humidity. in nature they grow in mountains so they must like "coolish" nites
and i have read..where i cant remember..they may have a symbiotic relationship with a soil bacteria/fungus ..to do well..
again..that doesnt deter me from wanting it..lol
what we are willing to do for our beloved plants..
srewolf.. if u find a source for viable m.ingens seed..hope u will share the info...:)
good luck...

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 9:29PM
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