Musa Basjoo Growing Tips

the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)August 29, 2007

I have been monitoring this group and have noticed that a lot of you have questions and concerns when it comes to growing Musa Basjoo. Some of you are disappointed in the rate of growth that you have gotten from your Musa Basjoos and other bananas. Well, let not your heart be troubled as I have some tips that I am all too happy to pass along that virtually guarantee success.

Soil: Bananas in general like deep, rich loamy soil so, before you plant till in generous amounts of soil amendments like composted cow manure, old potting soil, shredded leaves, compost, pine bark, top soil etc. and plenty of MILORGANITE fertilizer from Lowes or Home Depot. Be very generous in the amounts of the soil amendments and MILORGANITE as it will make a huge difference during the growing season.

Mulch: Use ONLY organic mulches and NEVER shredded tires or white rock as this is very important to keeping growth and nutirent exchange sustained. Pine straw, wood based mulch of any kind, hay, straw, shredded leaves or grass clippings will do just as long as the area has some mulch during the growing season. This helps retain the moisture that keeps bananas growing in the heat.

Water and liquid fertilizer: Bananas will only grow well if they are watered well and need to be watered and fertilized much more than any other plant in your garden. I recommend 3 to 4 times per week and atleast once a week use Miracle Gro or other water based fertilizer while you water. If you don't do this you will be disappointed with substandard growth.

Dry Fertilizer: 2-3 times per growing season this needs to be applied heavily and if not done will not yield the sustained growth desired. I recommend Milorganite, but almost any good NKP ratioed fertilizer will do.

Again if you think you have added too much, add some more. It is also critical that watering be done right after the application of the dry fertilizer to prevent any chance of burning..yet it has never happend to my bananas even when mounds of Milorganite was applied.

Sun to Part sun sitting is critical to produce the large leaves and tall stems of bananas. If you follow these directions you too can expect 15-20 foot bananas by the end of the growing season that will shock the neighborhood.

Good luck!

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Great advice,

Now I need to find out if Milogranite is available in Ontario.
On average my psuedostem reach about 6ft and another four to six feet worth of leaves, for a total height of about 10-12ft. I would love to get them over 15ft the only problem I have is discipline.


    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 11:49AM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

There might be another sewage type fertilizer available in Canada that will do the same thing if you can't find it up there. Go to the Milorganite website by doing a google search and you might find out if it is sold in Canada.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 11:37AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Keep them protected from rabbits. I had rabbits that kept eating my leaves this spring. Set one of my plants behind... Still hasn't caught up to his brother.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 1:34PM
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Here's mine.6-9-07

Same tree with the new one I got on 8-27-07

The one on the right is the little guy pictured above 2 1/2 months later. The one on the left is from the same nusery that I got for free on Monday the 27th. The lady kept it in a pot all summer. I dont know how it managed to put out such large pups in a container that small. When I got it I just sunk the whole pot into the ground because there's no sense in planting it in the ground this late. I'm going to keep them dormant in my basements unheated storage room. I know they can stay in the ground but I want to keep the height. All of the pups will go into pots and be kept growing in my house over the winter. Some will be given away to friends and family.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2007 at 2:21AM
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Hey Virginian where about are you from? I grew up in Woodbridge/Dale City VA.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 12:43AM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

Josh: I am in Southern Loudoun County in Potomac Falls/ Sterling, Virginia, a bit northwest of where you grew up, but still in the area. If you drive down before the frost hits, let me know as I would be happy to give you a tour of my garden loaded with palms, bananas, cannas, gingers and other cold hardy and tender tropicals.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 4:04AM
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WOW! Panama John! HeHe. Boca Joe gave me the link to smug mug. I saw the Virginia Palm Society post a while back. It's an honor to talk to you guys. "I'm not worthy" lol! Your house looks beautiful. Send me an e-mail and let me know what weekend would be good for you. My wife and kids could come down and get the grand tour. It's such a small world. My brother lives in Stafford and is a police officer in Arlington. About a month ago he showed me a 10-12ft Trachy in one of the neighborhoods he rides through. It's a nasty neighborhood but an awesome tree. My brother discovered it in the middle of a snow storm last winter. Go figure. We are both obsessed with palms, tropicals, cycads, etc... I just wish our parents would've realized what types of plants we could've had when we lived there. I would have alot more experience with this stuff now. I've only been interested since I went to Florida in Feb 06. Drop me a line! I'm only about 70 miles away. Josh.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 1:07PM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)


I will be in contact soon. Boca is an awesome guy who really helped me get started in this hobby way back in 2005. You are more than welcome to come take a tour. Check out the latest on my website.

Here is a link that might be useful: Panama John's Tropical Zone

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 3:44AM
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I'm speachless John. That's amazing! I now have more faith that I can do this here in PA. The only difference between your area and mine is two tiny little mountains between here and Frederick,MD. That's what makes you a zone 7 and me a zone 6b. Although, on average S.Central Pennsylvania is a zone 7. It's those couple days every 7-10 winters that it drops to -10F for a few hours that screws it all up. It's definately worth the investment though. I just wish more people in areas like yours and mine that want and love tropicals would realize they can have it. I guess it's up to people like us to inspire them. You've got a huge headstart on me though. Talk to you later.


    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 6:29PM
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