1st time grower of Musa Basjoo

andyandy(6bMI)December 2, 2005

I live in Michigan and want to grow bananas outside next year. Based on feedback I've gotten on this forum it looks like my best bet is Musa Basjoo. I have a couple of questions.

1) can I order small ones now and grow in pots until spring?

2) If not at what point can I plant them in spring?

3) Usually we consider May 15th up here to be the last chance at frost. How big can they get between mid-May and October.

4) I would love suggestions on where I can order some small plants.

Thank you for your time and responces


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I'd wait until spring unless your neighbor has some and won't mind you taking a few divisions. Maybe your local nurseries have a few tucked away and you can strike a deal.
How big? ... depends on what you start with, and what you do during the growing season. I freeze mine out to ground level and by Labor Day they're 12' - 15' tall.
These bananas are everywhere and you should have no trouble finding these even in Alaska!

Cheers, Barrie.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 7:24PM
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Thank you Berrie. I never new you could grow anykind of bananas in Michigan. I already have a spot picked out for them. Can I assume that the more sun the better. I've also heard that the best fertalizer for them is fish. Is it safe to put them in the ground once the threat of frost is gone?

thanx, Andy

    Bookmark   December 6, 2005 at 8:52AM
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weatherguy(z6 Illinois)

I got mine @ http://www.bananaplants.net/bananaplants.html , GreenEarth Inc. I order 4 Tissue cultured plants, and by the end of October they had nearly 8 feet of p-stem, and were about 14 feet overall.

They also have them at:
(Both owned by Redland Nursery)
-bananaaaa-treee.com/ (spelled correctly, because it's blocked on this forumn for spam reasons)
(also have Musa sikkemensis, another banana almost hardy as the basjoo)

I have herd good things about all these places...good luck next spring, they will be a new addiction!!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2005 at 5:51PM
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They look great, I can't wait until spring. I'll definately get some attention from the neighbors. I would like to get them going as early as possible so I can get them as big as possible by the end of summer. I'd also like to try and see if I can get them to fruit. I know you can't eat it but i think that would be really cool. I start my tomatoes in pots in February maybe I can start bananas as well. Please let me know what you think.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 9:17AM
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Well, This is my first time in this forum outside of palms. I never new you get grow bannana's in cold areas. What would be the best choice for me to try to grow? I live in chicago which i guess is zone 6. Also can i cut these plants down to the ground level in the late fall and will they grow back in the spring? Also from what andy said i didn't know you can;t eat the fruit? Why is that and also what bannana plant can i grow that will actually grow bannana's that i can eat? thanks

    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 6:32PM
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The reason you can't eat these bananas is that they are small with a large pit inside. They're not poisonous they just wouldn't taste very good. There are other bananas you can grow up here that you would need to dig up in the fall and store until spring. Some of these are bananas you can eat but the growing season up here is too short for that. That's why I was wondering if I started them indoors I could extend the growing season.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2005 at 8:36AM
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weatherguy(z6 Illinois)

I live outside Chicago and yes I grow bananas, they are in leaf cages now to protect them through the winter. The fruit of the Musa basjoo isn't that edible, but another species: Musa orinoco, can produce edible fruit if you dig up the pseudostem (false stem) for the winter, you may get fruit within 2 growing seasons. Starting to grow bananas indoors if you don't have a greenhouse or really warm temperatures almost isn't worth it. They grow so fast once in the ground you will be amazed. Also, inside you have the risk of rot and getting mites. But, I guess you could try.

Here's a correction:
"(also have Musa sikkemensis, another banana almost hardy as the basjoo)"
Correct Spelling: Musa sikkimensis
This website is streaching the sikkimensis' banana hardiness (zone 4b), but it still has some good info, I especially like this hardy banana because it has some red coloring on its leaves.

Here is a link that might be useful: Musa sikkimensis

    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 7:00PM
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Thank you for the tips. I don't really care if I get bananans I can eat (although that would be cool). I just think seeing the fruit on the plant would complete the immage. My understanding is that while the Basjoo can grow like weeds up here the growing season is just too short to get fruit. What I was hoping to do is extend the growing season by a couple of months by starting them in March or so. I do not have a greenhouse but I do have a spare bedroom that I've turned into a greenhouse of sorts. It has a large (3x5) south facing window. Even on the coldest days if the sun is out the tepmerature can get upto 75 in there. In the spring on sunny days the temp can push into the low 80s if its 40 or 50 outside. I already have a number of palms in there including a coconut. I also have a fan run in there for about 10 hours a day to help control mites. Please let me know how you think that sounds. Also in reference to the orinoco it sounds like what your saying is you can grow them to a certain point then in the fall you can dig them up and re-plant in the spring and they'll pick up where they left off and fruit. Am I correct in that assumption.

thank you for all of the information

    Bookmark   December 12, 2005 at 2:12PM
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Growth of a banana is determined how hard you push it. Ample water, sunshine, and fertilizer will do great wonders. I didn't push my basjoo and it had a 3ft pseudostem by the end of summer.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2005 at 4:57PM
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I started with a 1ft Basjoo in May 2004 and in its first year it grew to about 6ft in total and had a couple of pups. I did try to save the Pseudostem over the winter but had no success. Should've covered the cage in plastic! As a result the stalks turned to mush. However, the plant bounced back and grew well over 10ft with a 6ft pseudostem on some stalks this past summer. This year I took more care in overwintering them. Hopefully, the stems will surive this winter. Also, if you want another great forum for bananas try http://www.bananas.org/. Loads of information.

Good luck

Here is a link that might be useful: Great Banana Forum

    Bookmark   December 13, 2005 at 4:35PM
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Thank you all for the suggestions. I wish I knew what could be done with bananas. Detroit had the warmest summer on record in 05. Unlike the summer of 04 where we only hit 90 3 times. I hope next summer is a warm one also. I can't wait to see the expression on freinds and neighbors faces when they see 8 foot banana plants growing in front of my house.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2005 at 4:45PM
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I don't know about Michigan growing conditions or how tall they will grow there. Here in suburban Birmingham, AL I often see growth through the leaf mulch in late February. By April 1, I usually have a lot of growth and I remove the leaf mulch. At that time, I fertilize with 8-8-8 with minerals or any similar formula of fertilizer which I have handy. It is hot and humid here so my air conditioner creates lots of condensate on the coils. This is routed by PVC pipe and dumps into the middle of my banana tree grove. The trunks grow to about 15 feet and the leaves reach upward to about 20 feet. I think fertilizer and moisture are VERY important. I have two clumps, within a few feet of each other. One clump shades an east window and the other a south window. I cut down about 40 trunks about 3 weeks ago before frost killed them.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2005 at 11:28PM
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hey do the musa sikki grow bananas or are they just trees.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 11:34PM
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gardenguy_(z6b PA)

I've gotten bananas here in SW-Pa and the problem is that when the bananas first form, you need almost 6 months for the bananas to ripen on the plant. Here, when my banana flower started (dwarf orinoco), it was the first week of August. Problem was that it was too close to garbage season, ahem...cough.... winter. I tried to bring in the bananas to ripen before the first frost during the last week of October but it didn't happen. Not to take away from getting edible bananas, I think that if I had gotten the flowers in early June, I would have more time for the bananas to grow on the tree before I had to bring them in to ripen. Also, just getting the flowers and seeing them form into bananas was a wonderful experience. The banana flowers, it seem to me had a very musky scent that I could smell across the yard. It's not like any other flower I've smelled. Lemon tree flowers, I'd say are the most fragrant flowers out there, but that's another topic! :)

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 1:15PM
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nucci60(6 Ma.)

AndyAndy, you think you are addicted to palms, wait 'till you start with bananas!LOL You can actually watch their progress through the summer.Basjoos are a satisfying hobby.After your first season or two, you won't know what to do with all the pups they produce.I am also in zone zix and have had no luck overwintering Musa sikkimensis, but you can try them.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 6:02PM
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beachbum_nj(N.J. z7)

AndyAndy...Here is a link on e-bay whee you can get musa basjoo right away. I got my 1st one on e-bay. That was about 3 years ago. Still going strong.

Or, if you wait, you can probably get one at Lowes or Home Depot. We got 1 there last year. They should have them in the early spring.


    Bookmark   February 13, 2009 at 1:02AM
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I didn't even remember posting this one. I just put one in the ground and have two more potted. They are gowing quickly despited the below average temps we'vew been having.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 11:59AM
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I am new to Musa Basjoo and wanted to knwo if I can plant this close to a foundation or patio. I want to make sure roots don't lift up the patio.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 10:07AM
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Norberto, Musa Basjoo is a big herb. It is not a woody plant like a tree that will lift concrete. The roots are not very strong.
In zone 6, next to a foundation or patio would be about the best place to put it, especially if it is facing South. The sun will heat the concrete and keep the plants warm at night.

Here is a link that might be useful: banana roots and concrete

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 3:16PM
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I basically planted my musa basjoo over 1ft deep, then protected them well, and both of mine are coming back. 1 died back to the ground, but the under-ground segment is still sending up a leaf, while the other one, an entire ft of it above ground survived, and it is pushing up a leaf right now.

Here's my blog on the whole experience.

Here is a link that might be useful: musa basjoo over-wintering results

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 12:04AM
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