getting Musa Basjoo to fruit in zone 6

andyandy(6bMI)December 30, 2005

I understand that one would not eat the fruit from this type of banana. From a decoratice standpoint is there any way to extend the growing season in zone 6 long enough to get Basjoo to fruit. Planting outdoors early (April) with some form of protection in case of frost or start indoors early (March-April)and transplant out side in May.

Thank you for your suggestions,

Andy

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bihai(zone 9)

I hafta tell you, IMO the flower of Basjoo is nothing to write home about. Its not very spectacular, and it does NOT produce anything like a hand of edible bananas. The "bananas" are very tiny, almost nonexistant. But the bloom DOES attract a lot of bees and wasps. Its only purpose, as far as I am concerned, is to let you know that you can chop down that particular Basjoo tree.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2005 at 11:27PM
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GAAlan(z7b(on map) 8(imby) Atlanta)

I think it would be iffy for you to get one to fruit in zone 6, but it would be fun to try. I enjoy seeing my basjoos flower. As Bihai said they do attract a lot of wildlife, which for me also includes hummingbirds. It would also take more than one growing season to get flowers. I observed one of mine, planted on June 6, 2003, began blooming in late September 2004. It was almost exactly 15 months(only two weeks longer) I cage my stems during winter to make them as tall as possible the next spring. The coldest temp I've had in the last 9 years is 9F, which occured during the winter of 02/03. That year even with cover I lost 4' of stem to the cold. To give you some inspiration here is picture of one of my basjoos in bloom this summer.....

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 3, 2006 at 9:14AM
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andyandy(6bMI)

Alan-
That looks great. It sounds like I'd have an uphill battle trying to get them to blossom. Unless I really went overboard trying to over winter them as we hit below zero usually a couple of times a year. I believe I'm going to try starting some indoors in March and then move them outside. I will also just put some in the ground in late April/May and compare how the two sets do.

thanx, Andy

    Bookmark   January 3, 2006 at 10:08AM
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laterita(7b Holland (dr))

In your zone, a basjoo will take at least 3 years to flower. Think about good overwintering.
Simon

    Bookmark   January 6, 2006 at 4:12PM
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andyandy(6bMI)

Laterita-
My understanding is that in my zone I would need to cut them down to 1-2 feet and mulch for the winter. Are you saying doing that it would take 3 years to flower. I figured by cutting them back you would basically be starting from scratch the next spring. Or are you saing I would have to somehow try and mulch the entire plant to get them to flower in three years. Please let me know what you think.

thanx,
Andy

    Bookmark   January 6, 2006 at 4:21PM
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gardenguy_(z6b PA)

Andy, I think what she is saying that, if you cut down a Basjoo to a certain height, mulch it properly then in the spring the basjoo will take off from the protected height. So if you have a 3 foot tall basjoo, and cut off all the leaves and reduce it to a height of 2 feet, the plant will produce leaves as if it were a 3 foot plant in the late spring. You should not have to cut the plant down to 1-2 feet. Most people do this anyways because it's more easy to mulch than say a 4-6 foot plant. If you have the time and resources, try to mulch as high as you can with out cutting off any height, except the leaves of course.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2006 at 1:54AM
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andyandy(6bMI)

Gardenguy-
Thank you for the insight. I thought cutting them down to 1-2 feet was essential for it's survival. I will have no problem mulching the plants at as high a level as I can. I can use my 8 foot tomato stakes to create a mulch perimeter.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2006 at 9:50AM
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gardenguy_(z6b PA)

Andy, the higher you leave the stem, the more care you need to mulch. Obviously a higher stem which is more exposed to colder air will require more mulching than say a shorter stem. Also, if you do find the top half of the stem has froze and turned mushy, no need to worry. Just cut off every part of the stem where it's dead. Leave only the healthy, firm green part of the stem and it should take back off from that height.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2006 at 12:01AM
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tsmith2579(7B)

It has been my experience and research has told me that different varieties of banans require different lengths of time to produce fruit. Several years ago I took a current year, mid-summer basjoo pup, dug it up before frost and put it in the greenhouse. The next spring I planted it outside. My growing season is from 1 April through 15 October. It produced fruit in September of the second year. The info I read said 15-18 months of growing season to fruit and that proved about right. That means constantly growing, not cutting down to the ground. If you can provide that, either in a greenhouse, basement or sunroom, you may have a chance to produce fruit. My mother grew fruit by digging them and overwintering them in the garage.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2006 at 11:32PM
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mrbungalow(Z8, SW-Norway)

Basjoo has even fruited in outside in sweden. This banana is amazing.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2006 at 7:31AM
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bihai(zone 9)

I think tsmith is right. The "routine" flowering times of different bananas are looking at the overall period of uninterrupted growth that it takes to get a plant to flower. Uninterrupted growth here at my house means that even though the leaves get frosted and may brown in the winter, the stems of my bananas are rarely affected and leaf growth returns almost immediately in February and early March when the weather really warms up kinda "for good". Our growing season here is March 10-about November 15...I quit fertilizing Nov 15 whether its cold or not. My basjoo pups attain a height of 8-10 feet in one season, leaves freeze off, then the next season they start from 8-10 ft and get to about 12-15 ft before they flower. So here its about 15-18 months as well for flowering on basjoo. I can also get Raja Puri to flower and produce fruit in the same timeframe but the bananas get frosted.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2006 at 1:26PM
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Boca_Joe(zone 7A)

Andy ,

save yourself the trouble and grow the Musa ornatas instead outside each summer. They clump easily and reliably bloom and fruit (non- edible but gorgeous!) every year.

see photos below.

Boca Joe

Here is a link that might be useful: Boca Joe's Ornata

    Bookmark   January 21, 2006 at 9:45PM
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Boca_Joe(zone 7A)

oops sorry Andy try this link

Here is a link that might be useful: Ornata

    Bookmark   January 21, 2006 at 9:47PM
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rokal(LongIsland/z6b)

boca_joe,

Can Musa Ornata be over-wintered in a dormant state similar to cannas? This seems like a great plant. Does anyone have experience growing it from seed?

Thanks,

Rokal

    Bookmark   January 22, 2006 at 11:11AM
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Boca_Joe(zone 7A)

Rokal,

I have had no problem overwintering the corms/clumps inside in a cool dormant state. I have heard they are pretty easy from seed and will tend to bloom the first year that way too.

Boca Joe

    Bookmark   January 23, 2006 at 7:15AM
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rubbleshop(UK zone 9)

Yes, grow ornata or velutina and they will flower first year. Save small pups indoors for next year... Much prettier than basjoo flowers too.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2006 at 2:38PM
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blondboy47(z6b(almost 7) ON,Canada)

I wish that we could find those 2 around these parts! We're lucky to find Basjoos.

It seems that one of the growers in Ontario grow banana plants....but they don't state what kind they are! Nice! (detect sarcasm ON) :)

    Bookmark   March 6, 2006 at 2:55PM
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andyandy(6bMI)

An update on my Basjoo plants. I have been growing two indoors since December. 1 is now 15 inches tall and growing fast. It is producing two pups of its own. The other is about a foot tall and continues to grow but each new leaf browns as soon as it opens. I do not know why that is. I re-potted the taller one recently and I believe it may get to about 3 feet by the time it gos in the ground. Can anyone tell me how tall these could get if they are already three feet come May. Any ideas why the other one keeps browning. It is also producing a small pup and I plan on re-potting it this week. I have been buying the old bananas at the grocery store that they are tryng to dump and starting a compost pile in my back yard. Thank you for any insight.

Andy

    Bookmark   March 6, 2006 at 6:21PM
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blondboy47(z6b(almost 7) ON,Canada)

Browning may indicate either too wet or too dry soil conditions. Check the moisture deep down into the pot, near the roots.

Good draining soil, I find, is important.

As for height! You gonna have fun!

When we bought our first ones, we had the same experience as you. They started off pretty small and then grew quite a bit inside the house.

We planted all 3 of them in 21" pots (where they are today) and in the first summer, grew to 7' to 10' tall.

I don't know if we'll get fruit while they are in pots, but I hope so. We might decide to put them into larger pots this spring..... pots? did I say pots? I mean TUBS! LOL :)

    Bookmark   March 7, 2006 at 8:04AM
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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

Growth will depend a great deal on the temperatures and amount of water and fertilizer that you use. My 3 foot basjoo got to at least 6 feet the first year, and probably could have done more if I had really pushed the fertilizer. I left it in the ground and the next year the plants went from nothing to about 10 feet.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2006 at 10:42AM
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andyandy(6bMI)

Well I can't control the temperatures this summer but watter and fertilizer won't be a problem. I have started a compost pile of old bananas that the grocery store is trying to dump. I buy 3 or 4 packs of five for about $.50 a pack a couple times a week. I trow them in a hole I have dug and throw soil over them. I'll keep doing that for the next couple of months until they go in the ground. Knock on wood it's supposed to be sunny and 60 Sunday so I can start digging wholes in the ground where I will be planting the bananas and start composting directly into those holes.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2006 at 12:18PM
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tropicalintoronto(5b/6a)

Blondboy,

Why not put one of those Basjoos in the ground this year? If I remember correctly you live between Hamilton and Niagara Falls, which is a good zone better than North Toronto. (I've got to move there soon!) You should have no problems with them.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2006 at 12:10PM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

I think your efforts might be, well, "fruitless." Pun intended. :')

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 4:23PM
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andyandy(6bMI)

I will take that as a challenge. While one of my plants is dying the other continues to shoot up. On sunny days it's putting on a couple of inches a day. I guess we'll see.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 5:27PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

so what happened?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 12:31AM
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tropichris

Well, in Maryland zone 7a how long will a musa basjoo flower??? :)

    Bookmark   October 5, 2008 at 3:18PM
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