Banana Plant in the Winter - Help Me!!

dbistolaAugust 18, 2013

I live in Michigan (Zone 6A) and purchased a Banana Plant in May - at the time it was about a foot high and honestly looked like it was dying. Well, fast forward 3 months and my plant is almost 5 feet tall and has been growing like crazy. It has even sprouted three pups. The plant is potted and honestly it's been awesome to watch this thing grow - - I am growing an attachment to it.

My question is this - how do I keep this thing alive and growing over the winter? I refuse to let this die and start over next year. I have a South Facing "Florida Room" enclosed with glass that I plan on putting it in at first - but it will get too cold when the real winter hits. I plan on taking it inside and keep it near a window for the rest of the winter.

Advice from everyone will be appreciated - care, tips etc. for indoor and winter care? Is it even possible for me to keep it alive indoors? Should I get a growing light to give it a little more light? How often should I water and fertilize?

Also, what should I do with the pups? They are not large right now and I dont know if I should seperate them or not. There are three of them.

Thanks in advance!

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Looks like what you have there is a healthy looking dwarf Cavendish.

Most bananas are rather hardy under the right growing conditions. Yes, it would be wise to bring it indoors during the Winter months especially in your growing zone. It should be safe inside. Give it the brightest and warmest part of the room and adding a florescent light is helpful.

With regards to watering and fertilizing during the colder months, since it's going to be indoors, it will not grow as much. If you do use fertilizers, do it lightly (twice a month should be plenty) and water whenever it feels dry 1-2" from the top.

As to the pups--they still look very tiny to me. They should be ok in the pot with the Mommy until next Spring. Also, it's better to split the pup when it's at least 1-2 ft tall if not taller. If you do it too early, the pups may be too weak to survive the trauma and or not have enough root system to survive.

I hope that helps and enjoy your beautiful banana.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 4:49PM
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Hi. I'm in zone 5a and I have 2 banana plants - different varieties. I also have a sun-room but before it gets cold, I just bring them directly indoors. For me, in late September, I take them inside along with all my palms, my grapefruit tree, my pineapple plants, papaya tree, passion fruit vine, prickly pear cactus, bird of paradise, aloe and yucca plants. I have plant lights that are on timers and go one during the day and off at night. My grapefruit requires a heating pad but the rest including the banana plants just need the light. They suffer a little bit, but they stay alive until early June when I bring them outdoors again. One word of caution: When you bring them outside in the spring, they will get SUNBURNED just like you would if you went out in the sun all day after being inside all winter. All the leaves will turn brown and fall off, but it generally won't kill the plant. New ones will begin to grow. So it is best to start them in a shady area for a few weeks to acclimate them.

However, I have a neighbor who's banana trees grow to about 10 feet every year! They swear by cutting the plant down all the way to the stalk, and keeping it in a dark cellar and just watering it all winter. They say they basically hibernate. In the spring they cut off any new leaves that may have grown and fertilize it well. I just don't have the heart to cut mine down. I'm afraid I will kill it!

The pups can be carefully separated as they get bigger. I just let mine grow where they are.

The pineapple plants are the EASIEST thing to grow. Just plant the crown from a pineapple in the dirt. They are quite hardy. I have one that is 4 ft tall now. The growing lights work well for them. One of mine actually grew a pineapple one winter and since then several pups have grown.

PS: with all my plants I have 20 grow lights. My electric bill could be better.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 2:51AM
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Yes. I was wondering if the cellar thing worked...

I have no choise but to do this since I have absolutely no room in the house for a plant of this size..Mines is going on 6 feet and I live in good ole New England which gives me very short summers...Stinks! It's so beautiful right now and I have to cut it way back and dig it out from the ground..:-()(

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 12:35PM
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Bamatufa(7 - Trussville, AL)

Good advice all ! I hope this winter is mild for me. I just mulch and hope for the best.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 8:43PM
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grabmebymyhandle(6 Kentucky)

There's no benifit to cutting the trunk!
Quite the opposite, if done properly, the last leaf from this year will be the first leaf next year, this gets you a much bigger plant much earlier, and is the key to getting flowers and fruit outside of the tropics...

The trunk also serves as protection to corm, and the stored nutrients in it feed the corm in winter!

If left potted in winter, it's not too hard to acclimate banana in spring either.
Just start with bright shade or morning sun and inch it out every other day, or a few hours a day of sun is ok, if it's too cold to leave it out...

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 1:18AM
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I don't understand...

Are you saying to leave all the leaves on or to cut back my leaves to a certain point?

I don't have any room at all in my home...Let me know..Really appreciate it..

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 1:15PM
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