Wintering Raja Puri

steveh_sw_wi_zone3August 30, 2006

In June of this year I planted a pup of Raja Puri (that a friend brought from Just Fruits Exotics in FL) in my vegetable garden. It is now over eight feet tall with a six foot culm. I suspect that bananas will not survive a winter out of doors here in Zone 3:-) Here are my choices for over-wintering:

1)Potting it and placing it in a window or under HID lights,I'd probably keep most of the leaves cut off so it would fit in the space available

2)Bare rooting it, cutting off the leaves, and placing the culm in a completely dark 55F cellar (roots wrapped or not?)

3)Bare rooting it, removing the leaves, and putting it in a dimly lit garage that runs just over freezing (Brugmansias winter there OK).

4)potting it, cutting off the leaves, and putting it in the garage--leaving the soil dry.

What are the pros and cons of each method? Will one method be more likely to let the plant fruit next year, or would the culm be too traumatized to flower. I'm willing to experiment because the plant has thrown a pup that I'll pot which I should have no trouble carrying over.

Thanks. Steve H.

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gardenguy_(z6b PA)

Wow, and I thought I was pushing it in zone 6! I guess we both have a bad case of zone denial!

1)Potting it and placing it in a window or under HID lights,I'd probably keep most of the leaves cut off so it would fit in the space available.

I would skip the grow lights, seems to be too much trouble. In the winter, due to low humidity and light, the bananas will grow at a snail's pace and the light will not make that much of a difference.

2)Bare rooting it, cutting off the leaves, and placing the culm in a completely dark 55F cellar (roots wrapped or not?)

Did you mean corm instead of culm? I would not cut down the banana to the corm. Try and save what you have.

3)Bare rooting it, removing the leaves, and putting it in a dimly lit garage that runs just over freezing (Brugmansias winter there OK).

Be extra sure that your banana is NOT exposed to freezing temps or temps that would cause frosting of the plant.

4)potting it, cutting off the leaves, and putting it in the garage--leaving the soil dry.

Again, to me that seems like a lot of work to pot an 8 foot banana. I would bare root it if it were my banana.

Me personally, I would choose to bare root it and stick it where it is cool and dry. 8 feet is a nice size, very nice work you did getting it that tall! In my case, 8 foot would be too much trouble to bring it inside, potted and try and get it to grow. Also, if you decide to put the banana in a cool dry place where it will go dormant, keep the top most unfurled leaf on the plant. It will help the banana get a head start next season.

As for the raja puri, I'm not very familiar with that type of banana, but as for the advice above, I have for bananas in general. Perhaps someone with more experience with this plant can chime in this thread. A poster by the name of fglavin has a tremendous amount of experience over wintering bananas.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 2:04AM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

My limited experience with Raja puris is they winter over pretty easily. I dug up a nice-sized pup (8-ft or so), washed off most of the soil, trimmed back roots, trimmed lower leaves off and left 2 or 3 top-most leaves, repotted in dry potting soil, kept in 60ºF basement, some light from window, but not much. It started growing in Feb, as I then increased watering. Ready to set out after frost. It bore fruit the second season, but of course there was no time for it to ripen.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2006 at 3:36PM
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nucci60(6 Ma.)

steveh, you got a six foot pseudostem in 3 months in the ground the first year? Man, what am i doing wrong? Did you have real hot weather in zone 3 for 3 months? Are raja puris real fast growers compared to basjoo? My basjoo did not get that big this season,and I planted first week of june.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2006 at 11:48PM
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