looking for container banana recs for the northern US
Haven't grown bananas before, but thinking it would be fun next year.
As I am in Wisconsin growing in the ground year round is clearly not an option and I would prefer to grow them in a container year round. I would over winter them in my basement which averages 55-60F. They could either be put near a sunny patio door or away from sun/light entirely depending on what seems to work best in keeping them alive over the winter (any thoughts on this?).
I have a few questions that I would appreciate input on, particularly from those growing bananas in containers in areas they must be overwintered indoors.
First question, and I suppose an odd one, but are the cultural requirements of banana similar to elephant ears? In other words they like lots of water and fertilizer and don't care much for any real cold and seem to just keep getting bigger and bigger each year?
The next question is what sized container is reasonable for the various sized plants? As I have never seen the root systems these plants put out I am uncertain if a whiskey barrel half (holds 4 cubic feet/30 gallons) is large enough for a larger variety plant. If not, what size would you recommend? Watering/fertilizing daily isn't an issue, but I would want to match the container size to the plant such that watering more often than daily wasn't necessary.
I would love a variety that eventually produces edible bananas, but this isn't critical. Any particular varieties I should lean toward or away from if my primary concern is a large (10+' tall) plant within a couple years of growth in a northern summer?
Any mail order sources you would recommend?