Basjoo's Doing Great In Illinois

rosekucharJune 15, 2008

I am about 30 miles south of Chicago, In New Lenox Illinois and have been growing Basjoo Bananas since 2004. I just mulch them in and uncover them in the spring. They come back bigger and better every year. Here is a picture from Sept. 2007 of my 3 year old grove.

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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

Awesome bananas! How much and what kind of mulch do you use?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 9:33PM
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rosekuchar

Watergal,

At the end of the season I just cut the grove down even with the dirt and then layer the leaves on top of the mound and then just throw 1 bag of the plain red garden mulch on top. In April when it starts to rain and warm up a bit I uncover it and they come back.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 12:10PM
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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

Wow, I had no idea they would do so well in zone 5. My mulching technique is similar. I cut off all the leaves but leave the stem and top leaf standing. I pile on all of the cut off banana leaves and some cut down canna stems. I wait to uncover until it gets warm, usually late April. Most years I manage to overwinter 6 - 18" of pseudostem.

The one year I tried the chicken wire cage with leaves thing, I had rodents move in and eat the entire corm, nothing left at all. I guess my mulch pile is not as warm and cozy, as I haven't had rodent problems with that, and I know I still have rodents (they ate part of my car this winter!)

We live near a horse farm, so we have field mice, chipmunks, squirrels, and I even saw a rat once (ew).

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 8:36AM
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rosekuchar

Watergal,

I don't understand why everyone try's to save the stem and not cut it to ground level why is that? I also planted a Windmill Palm this year. Now this one is going to need some protection.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 8:44AM
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nucci60(6 Ma.)

Basjoos look great. Good luck with the trachy, they are tough in zone 6 or 5.Mine is growing again, but will never get any size to it if it keeps dying back every year.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 11:15AM
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rosekuchar

I am going to try to keep the windmill above freezing, I bought a pop up greenhouse, a remote thermometer and a little heater so we will see.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 12:05PM
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larry_joliet(5)

I have tryed to grow....Basjoo for the past 4 years...one year the plants just died. The next year I got more plants and dug them up at the end of the year (i didnt think they were big enough) and replanted them in the fall.
They got to be about....4 ft and last fall cut them back, and built a cage, filled it with mulch and wraped in in plastic. I thought they were in good shape. This spring, they were dead, and the corn was gone. I think I about gave up on trying to grow them.
I still grow 3 different banana's in the house thou.
Any advice would be great if I do try again would be Agreat help

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 1:23AM
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rosekuchar

Larry,

When I planted my basjoo I dug out a big hole we have a lot of clay and made a mix of top soil and mushroom composte I planted it in May of 2004, That fall I cut it even with the ground and used the leaves to protect it and a layer of red mulch. In the spring around April I uncovered it and it was all mush I thought it was dead but left it alone and kept watering it and it came back every year since.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 4:22PM
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larry_joliet(5)

you didnt have it covered in plastic? Just the leaves and than a bag of mulch?
Mine have been uncoverred since may 1 and there is nothing growing from were they were planted...i think they are dead.
I was thinking that if I do try again like the 3-4 time. and i do get small plants they will have to be taken in for the winter again? Unless I can find bigger plants at home depot, or some garden center?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 12:36PM
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rosekuchar

Larry,

The first 2 years I had them in I did put a little pop up tent over them after the leaves & mulch but after that just leaves & mulch.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 2:25PM
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nucci60(6 Ma.)

Larry joliet, here is was worked for me. I took an old 32 galloon plastic trash barrel that needed replacing any way. I cut it in half. I filled the bottom half with dry leaves and turned it over on the basjoo that was cut down to about 6". The top half was put around the othe basjoo, filled with dry leaves and the lid was put on it.I just shoved some thin bamboo stakes around the barrel halfs so the wind couldn't blow them away.The whole process took about 15 minutes.Both came back

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 9:32PM
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larry_joliet(5)

I was thinking that maybe i can try this one more time. I really tried last year, when I wintered them over! If i order plants off of Ebay or a online garden center. They will be small plants, if I cover them (the trash can sounded good!) Do you think they will make it? Or would I have to dig them up and winter them over in the house?
I went to 2 garden centers today and no one had Banana plants so I think im gonna have to order them off line.
If I get them in the ground by the start of July, that leaves 3ish months for them to grow...is that enough time or should i not risk it this winter and bring them in...and than put them back out next spring...???

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 9:58PM
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