First winter for my basjoo....what to do?

pyratejim(6b)August 22, 2006

I recently picked up my first basjoo from a local nursery. It is about 4' now and is producing a leaf about 5-7 days. Being that I live in zone 6b (just north of Detroit, I was told that it was a bit late in the season to plant it outdoors. I plan on bringing it in the house this winter (mid Oct. to mid APril) and then will plant it in the ground.

What I need to know is what should I do to it before I bring her indoors. Should I cut her down AFTER the first frost, pack mulch around/over her and then bring her indoors? Should I just leave her as she is and bring her in BEFORE or AFTER the first frost and can I put her under some plant lights to keep her growing (although slower I would imagine) over the winter?

What is the best way to go for our first winter?

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gardenguy_(z6b PA)

If the banana is in a pot, bring it in before the first frost. Do not cut anything off of your banana. Place the banana in the sunniest window. Water VERY lightly during the winter, watering when the first inch and a half of soil in the pot is dry. Do not fertilize the banana over the winter. You really do not need a special grow light because the banana will not grow much indoors over winter. You can plant the banana in the spring after the last frost. Pick the sunniest location in the yard for maximum growth. When the banana is planted outside in the ground next summer, water and fertilize regularly to promote growth.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 12:42AM
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slfairless

I am also in SE MI and I had the same question; thanks for asking pyratejim and thanks for the answer gardenguy :)

I grew 3 basjoo's last summer and covered with 12" of mulch over the winter but I still lost them to the cold. All my plants are potted this year but I plan to try them outside again next year; anyone have any luck getting through the winter? Any pointers?

Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 9:22AM
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pyratejim(6b)

Thanks for the reply. That covers about everything. Being that she is so new to me, what fertilzer is best?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 10:03AM
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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

did you get it at Soliere?

~Chills

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 1:56PM
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pyratejim(6b)

No. Got it at the "Big Red Barn" up on Hall Rd., just west of Hayes. Where is Soliere?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 2:08PM
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tropicalintoronto(5b/6a)

slfairless

Did you cover your basjoos so that no rain or snow could come in contact with the plants. I'm surprised with the mild winter we had last year that your plants died from the cold. Also applying a copper based funicide on the plants would help prevent rot. I think we all lose more basjoos to rot rather than the cold.

Just my two cents
Phil

Here is a link that might be useful: Simply Winter Protection for Basjoos

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 6:54PM
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pyratejim(6b)

What is the best way to get suckers growing? I've seen them put directly in the ground/pot and others in a glass of water/root starter. I had 2 about 5" in heigth. I put them in a pot and after a few days they started to turn black at the tips. I transfered them to a glass of root start according to my local nursery and they went completely black in 2 days. I have another one in the pot with the main plant that is about a foot tall and has approx. 7/8 leaves and is going strong. I would love to start another plant from this one, but dont want to loose it as I did the smaller ones.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 10:16PM
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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

Solliere is in St Clair Shores on Little Mack, just north of 9 mile. They had Basjoo's at the beginning of the summer. It is a good nursery, I just find them a little pricey on annuals and perennials.

~Chills

    Bookmark   August 26, 2006 at 11:09AM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

A member on Gardenweb suggested this method a couple years ago and it has worked for me. I waited until after it frosted real hard and the top of the plant was looking really rough. I cut it down to about 18" tall and put four bags of leaves, still in the bag, around the stem, surrounding it completely. Then take one more bag and put it over the top.
All of mine except one that was in totally compacted soil (where we used the loader to dig the pond) and one next to a gutter downspout came back. Duh on both of those, right? it was just a test anyway!
I didn't even rake my own leaves, I stole some when I went into town with the truck....
here's a picture of the results...this is a picture of a clump that is now going through its third summer in this location, next to a pond in my display garden at the greenhouse.

Here is a link that might be useful: basjoo clump by pond

    Bookmark   August 29, 2006 at 1:29PM
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brian_k(z6 OH)

Hey, nice bamboo around that pond! What size should basjoo be before you attempt to protect it outside? Mine is only about 4 feet tall. I do have an indoor greenhouse and can keep it indoors if necessary.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2006 at 3:01PM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

Last year if they were under three feet tall, I brought them inside. Four feet sounds like it'd be ok unless there's some other reason that you'd want to move it, like you feel you put it in a bad site, etc. If it's in a bad site, too damp, not well drained, too shady, etc. dig it up and put it in a better place in the spring. Good luck!
Sandy

    Bookmark   August 29, 2006 at 6:18PM
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pyratejim(6b)

The main reason I was planning on bringing it indoors for this winter was that it is still pot bound. I got it too late in our season to plant it in the ground and for it to acclimate itself before the cold weather comes in (approx. 6 weeks from now we can start seeing frosts). Other than that, I have no reason.

If I could be sure that planting it now would cause it no undue stress and then cutting it after the first hard frost and covering it would work towards it living through the winter and growing in the spring, I could plant it in 2 days.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2006 at 7:42PM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

No, I didn't mean plant it now, if it's not already planted. Yours should be brought in. I was just answering that other guy that already had his planted.
I've got a big 6 footer that I'm scared to plant now, too. I think they need more time to get roots established before cold weather--when you're dealing with them way up north here.
I was just telling a good way to protect them if they're already planted out and their roots are already established.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 7:50AM
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