How hardy is the Ice Cream Banana?

tey157(8b)May 1, 2008

How hardy is the Ice Cream Banana?

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lac1361(z9a Lake Charles, LA)

I've only grown this banana for 2 years but the pseudostem survived a low this winter of 24 in a semi protected spot. It was the second to show growth right behind California Gold. I expect it to bloom sometime later in the summer.

Steve

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 9:50AM
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tey157(8b)

Steve,

Thanks for your post. Hopefully, it will make it here in 8b.

I also wish you luck getting yours to flower.

Dean

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 4:02PM
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lac1361(z9a Lake Charles, LA)

Dean,

I am certain Ice Cream will at least be root hardy for you in zone 8b. The question will be whether or not the pseudostem will live or die in your zone. An effective way to protect a pseudostem is to wrap it in a blanket all the way to the top of the pseudostem when temps are predicted to drop below freezing. Stokes Tropicals lists it as root hardy to zone 8 and I know Mr. Stokes has told me he has fruited Ice Cream at his house which is outside of New Iberia and probably borderline zone8b/9a. Where in Texas are you located?

Steve

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 4:36PM
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tey157(8b)

Steve,

I live in Cedar Park just North of Austin, Texas. Yes, perhaps I'll have to wrap the pseudostem. Since I initially posted this I did a little research and it seems it is hardy to zone8. However, that dosen't take into account the pseudostem I'm sure. Wish me luck.

Dean

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 5:04PM
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tropicallvr(11)

They are better in cold areas, so they don't melt.

Just kidding.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 2:28PM
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tey157(8b)

LOL!!!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 3:23PM
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bob3

We're in Sacramento; zone 9.
I'm down low, just above "flood stage" of the river & have been wrapping or tenting my Ice Cream bananas over winter. Blossoms & fruit don't winter over well but my friend's plants (at about 300' higher elevation) winter over just fine, including fruit that goes into hibernation over winter.
This info probably doesn't help the original poster any but may be handy for folks using the "search" function in the future.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 8:34PM
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tey157(8b)

Bob, thanks for the information. Yes, it's helpful.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 10:25PM
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spikec(z7GA)

I have several ice creams that have been in the ground for 3 years now. At first frost, I whack them to the ground and cover them with 2' of mulch. Each spring they pop back up. I'd say they grow to 12-18' each season. A few of them have flowered in late summer, but unfoprtunately the fruit never gets to the ripe stage before the first frost. I am in metro Atlanta...

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 12:55PM
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tey157(8b)

Spike, that's good to know. Thanks for sharing that with me.

Dean

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 7:05PM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

It holds up really well in the greenhouse too. Mine looked just as good as when we put it in. Until this big thunderstorm this morning, since we put it outside last night.
NOTE:tall bananas put outside for the first time attract thunderstorms....lol...

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 8:34PM
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coco-mut

I am from the suburbs of Los Angeles. I have grown Ice Cream Bananas with no problem and in abundance. I'm in zone 9 but how far off is 8b than 9? It might work.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 10:35AM
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tey157(8b)

Thanks Sandy and coco-mut. No, green house sorry to hear about the thunderstorm, Sandy. coco-mut, there is not much difference between 8b and 9 so it should do okay.

Thanks everyone,
Dean

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 10:44AM
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bcfromfl(z8a NW FL)

I'm Zone 8a in the Florida panhandle, and Ice Cream is my most reliable grower/fruiter. I also have CalGold, and wish I hadn't made space for this variety. While CalGold is easily winter-hardy, it tends to bloom later in the season and, quite honestly, I'm not into plaintains. Didn't know that was what CalGold produced when I bought it. (Grrr.)

In order for me to be guaranteed fruit, my banana plants have to bloom by July 1st. Ice Cream is the earliest bloomer of all my varieties, and the yield per bunch is excellent. Taste is everything a home hobbyist could want and more...

Trunks almost always survive the winter, although this winter had more lower temps and was wetter, and I only had the 4-6 footers survive, with only one 10-footer. (Our low this winter was 24F, but two years ago was 20F and I had better survival.) This will probably be a lean year for nanners. :(

-Bruce C.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 2:56PM
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tey157(8b)

Bruce, Thanks for the information. I didn't know it was an early bloomer which is great for zone 8.

I didn't realize CalGold was a plantain either. I don't have any of this one, but it's good to know.

You must have quite a mat of bananas there in Florida. Good luck next year.

Dean

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 4:33PM
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bcfromfl(z8a NW FL)

I just sliced off a five-foot pup from my Ice Cream mat this afternoon, to pot it up and get it rooted for a friend that wanted one. Holy cow did it take a lot of hacking and pounding with the shovel!

Yeah, definitely don't buy into the hype about the CalGold -- especially if you have a shorter season. In my experience, it tends to bloom August-September, which just isn't enough time to ripen before frost in late November/early December. I did get one that fruited earlier last year, and it was such a massive bunch that I had to prop it to keep it from pulling the trunk over. But, like I mentioned, plaintains...

My dwarf Namwah likes the cooler weather, but it too tends to be a fall bloomer. Typical tasty smaller fruits.

My dwarf Brazilian is the only other variety that tends to fruit earlier like the Ice Cream, but the bunches are smaller so you don't get the same "bang for the buck". Better off making room for the larger Ice Creams.

You can get lucky with just about any cool-hardy variety, and have a trunk get "almost there" in the fall, so when it starts back up again in the spring out pops the inflorescence. But in my experience, most of these varieties tend not to stray too far from seasonal patterns.

-Bruce

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 6:36PM
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tey157(8b)

Bruce,
LOL!!! I know once there established they can be monsters.

Good to know about the Namwah. I have one on the way. I think there the small fruited varities you can find in Asian markets.

Thanks, Bruce, for all the information. It's really helpful.

Dean

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 10:00PM
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bob3

"I am from the suburbs of Los Angeles. I have grown Ice Cream Bananas with no problem and in abundance. I'm in zone 9 ..."

I'd have thought that L.A. was a tad warmer than zone 9, but I guess it depends on elevation.
We're supposedly zone 9 here in Sacramento & we can't grow jacaranda up here but I know that they grow OK around Los Angeles.

If you can get away with planting your bananas next to the south face of your house it would be a BIG help.

Bananas work a lot spiffier than pulling the blinds, too.

It got to around 100° here today (it's after midnight & still over 90°) & the Ice Creams must have grown at least 6" today. About time, too!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 3:37AM
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tey157(8b)

Thanks, bob!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2008 at 2:37PM
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wilmington_islander(9A/Sunset 28)

They ahve been an every other year fruiter for me, here 10 miles east of Savannah..but delicious. I can't find any rhyme or reason for psudostem survival. I have seen 10 foot trunks survive 23 degrees, and 6 foor trunks killed to the ground at 26. Go figure. Stay away from Raja Puri....6 years and only one ripened hand. My most reliable is mysore, for year in year out. small, sweet, excellent baananas that always flower prior to the endo if July...and have only needed @ 1 week per hand of fruit for ripening...anywhere from 6 hands all the way up to 14.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 12:13AM
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donnafreeman1975(9)

I've never tried or tasted ice cream bananas. How big does the fruit get? Does anyone know any stores that I could try one? (Rancho Cucamonga, CA)

I planted a tree last year around April. It keeps putting up leaves but no flowers. It seemed to survive the winter without any damage. Any ideas when I should expect a flower? Anything I should be doing to help it?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 11:13AM
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dolphin_79605

I purchased three pencil sized ice cream blue java's from Jon in the DFW area last year. The cost was 20 bucks for three and included shiping. These were my first inroduction to the wonderfuf and crazy world of musas.

Those original banana plants were 6 inches in length and about 1/4 inch in diameter. Now, they are 4-5 feet tall. I trimmed the leaves back and over wintered the psuedostem in my spare bath shower stall. I kept the temp 50-55, room darkened and watered only very sparingly. When cold weather danger past, I moved them back outside and they woke right up.

I also have a dwarf cavendish from last year that recently I parted from 2 pups, a dwarf brazilian, a CA gold, 1 bazoo that came back from the ground (one didn't).

I may have left one or two out; I will have to go look. Old guy here, alzheimers, mad cow, aneurism, CRS and other afflictions besides musas... I also run in and seem to be in near constant training for marathons. Will run for bananas (good t-shirt idea!).

Pax, amor et Musas! Mick -- Abilene (zone 7b), Texas

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 12:52PM
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godsdog(z10 LA ss22)

My micro climate is zone nine winters and zone 10 summers, and 2 years ago we had 6 days in a row of 28 degrees, the Ice cream bananas were unprotected and other than for a few leaf ends, was no damage.

donnafreeman. they should do well in Cuchamunga. Mine tend to be about half the size of store bananas, much sweeter, and have nore of an acid aftertaste. Skin is thin and flesh is firm, As it gets 'over ripe', it stays firm and probably sweeter. I had some concern that the melting flesh meant that is was soft like an over ripe grand nain, but not the case
I think it has less fiber than the commercial varieties so has a different texture. Mine has a lot of pups, and to start I didn't keep them removed. Fruit size and production was affected . so as difficult as it is to remove good plants, next year leave just replacement pups.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 1:13PM
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islandmanmitch(z 8/9 FL)

Hey bcfromfl I live in NWF also (Santa Rosa County) and would like to know if you have dwarf cavendish? If so do you have any luck with them producing fruit? Thanks, Mitch

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 10:02PM
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raregingers(z9a LA)

I've been growing it outside for 6 years in Louisiana. It has survived wonderfully through a few freezes at the 25 degree mark. It has actually been one of the hardiest Musa in my collection.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2008 at 4:53PM
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