In Ground Overwintering Varieties

montyburns(z6a MA)September 27, 2006

I was wondering if you good folks could helpmedecide what to do regarding overwintering a few of my bananas.

I have a Sikkimensis which I plan to leave in the ground. I also have 2 Ice Cream (aka Blue Java) potted, they are small, maybe only 2-3 feet, what is the hardiness of those??

Last, I have a Lasiocarpa (golden Lotus Banana), I hear these are hardy, any experiences??

I am in zone 6, southern Mass, in ground overwintering will be with the heavy mulching with pine bark mulch, as well as the cage full o' leaves deal to try to save as much stalk height as possible. Inside overwintering will probably be in pot with zero water and light, as I lost all my bananas last winter by saving bareroot wrapped in plastic.

Thanks in advance


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Well, i'm in need of similar advice.

I've got a nice musella lasiocarpa which spent last winter in the outside loo(1 window but virtually no light) with its leaves hacked off, it seemed to enjoy that experience so it'll get the same treatment again. I've got a Musa sikkimensis seedling that must be about 1yr old now, it's probably 3 - 4' with leaves, would it be ok in with the musella or should i attempt to keep it growing?

My other problem is around 8 Musa cheesmani and sikkimensis seedlings, germinated this summer, anything from 6" to 2' in height. I'm guessing these are too small to survive total darkness, is there any chance that they could make it if kept in a frost free shed with some daylight?

    Bookmark   September 30, 2006 at 4:07PM
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laterita(7b Holland (dr))

Here, zone 7-8, Ice Cleam won't survive a winter.
Sikkimensis might, but with heavy mulch. We only let them outside if they're big enough to have some suckers. Smaller plants will die. Musella will survive our regions, but wth heavy mulch and completely dry. Don't expect a flower or a large plant.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2006 at 5:13PM
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nucci60(6 Ma.)

montyburns, I too live in ma.and was going to do te bare root in plastic bag trick, but now I don't know. What happened to yours? Did they dry up or were they frozen? I go on a great banana site, ( and they have great info. we really need help!!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2006 at 8:23PM
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montyburns(z6a MA)


Last year I had 3 I tried to overwinter bare root. I had a large (4') Ice Cream, a 2' Lotus and a 4' Blood, all in pots. Initially I tried to keep them growing in our sun room as indoor potted plants. I don't think they liked the lack of humididty (they were probably trting to go dormant anyhow. I know they didn't like the wife's cats digging in them!! So in late November I took them out of the pots, removed all the dirt around the corms, wrapped them lightly in newspaper, then lightly in a plastic shopping bag and put them in a area in my cellar.

Come spring, they were shriveled to nothing and covered in a white powdery mildew or mold. I thought they might bounce back, but no dice.

This year I plan on letting the frost knock the potted ones out for the winter, and placing them as they are - in the pots - in the cellar where they will remain dry and untouched until March or so. Not sure where I went wrong last year, I think the plants mayhave been stored in a place that had a bit of moisture, which caused them to rot, so the process itself may not be too blame.

Where in MA are you, I'll be intersted to see how your plants do over the winter.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 1:44PM
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I really don't take chances with any of the Musa. I even take my basjoo in as a couple of years ago, I lost a container of basjoo in an unheated garage (although it does not experience hard frost on a regular basis. I just lop off all the foliage and some of the trunk if too high for inside and stand them in my mild basement in brown paper bags until about March 1. I treat my Himalayan bananas similarly and just noticed that one has started to flower in the yard. It is about 7-8 feet. The only other one I have regularly had flower is the chinese lasiocarpa so I am thrilled! I suspect that very wet winters are a problem for even the cold hardy varieties so I don't want to chance rotting them.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 2:38PM
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nucci60(6 Ma.)

montyburns, I am in Amesbury, next to newburyport, about 4 miles from the coast zone6. I have a basjoo, and two palms and six bamboos in the ground for their first winter. should be interesting.Two basjoos and a zebrina are going to be put into (hopefully) dormancy.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 2:55PM
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mrbungalow(Z8, SW-Norway)

Also, if the basement/overwintering area is too warm, they will rot. 50 degrees F is usually too warm, depending on the species. Ideal is 35-45 degrees F. You want them to sleep, not grow.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2006 at 5:50AM
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