Frost damaged Banana Plants?

echobellyJanuary 8, 2012

Luckily, the only thing in my yard that was damaged by the frost were the bananas. I tried to play it safe and mostly planted hardy native plants, but love the exotic look of banana trees. They don't look so exotic anymore. I just planed them last summer, so this is their first winter. Most of the leaves on the large plants are brown. Should I cut them off, or cut the whole stalk down? The small shoots on the side look ok, I'll try to protect them from any more frosts. I asked my neighbor what to do with the dead bananas, and she looked at me confused, and said she just leaves them be. Maybe that's best. What do you think? Just so you know, I don't have a manicured yard, I'm going more for a wild jungle look with too many plants planted too close. I'm more concerned with the health of the banana trees.

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If you like the wild look, just let them be. Depending on the low and the variety, they should come back - if only from the root/stem. I have a couple varieties that went to 27 degrees last year and have already had ripe fruit. The dwarf Cavendish came back, but it looks like they require more than a year frost-free to fruit. I plan to get rid of almost all of them this year. If anyone wants to pick up plants in Tampa, you can have them.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 1:04PM
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Why are you getting rid of them??? I could use a couple where in tampa are you!?

Im including my blog if you'd like to see what I am doing here in N. Tampa!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: My gardening blog

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 4:00PM
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organicmamma, I am getting rid of them because I haven't had a crop in several years. Back when we didn't have a freeze every year I used to get good crops. I am keeping a few in case the weather ever gets back to normal. Right now, I need the space. I think you can e-mail me to get an address. I am very close to Dale Mabry and Kennedy. I also have lots of lobster claw heliconias and a variety of heliconia that I lost the name of. It is a 6 to 8 foot tall plant that is supposed to have big red flowers. Same story, these heliconias are in the way. If you have any nice cannas, I would accept a trade. But not necessary. I am going to get rid of these one way or another.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 4:31PM
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This has been really a strange year for bananas. About November or so, my trees decided to sprout fruit, after staying inactive all summer. I picked them before the recent cold snap. Now I have over 300 green but rapidly ripening bananas that will be ready to eat in a week or so.

Echobelly, don't worry, your banana trees are okay, at least at ground level. You may have to chop down those that got hit by the cold but by spring you will have new pups coming up. Mine did the same thing last year; I pruned all the brown off, chopped down the stalks and waited for spring.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 9:31PM
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Thanks! I guess I'll leave them for a while, and then cut them back when there are new sprouts. I didn't realize they were so frost sensitive, they make a great screen from the road, hopefully it won't always be seasonal. If they fruit, that's just a plus.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 9:47AM
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I used to dig up my bananas every year and put them in the garage during cold spells. In SC, I dug them, wrapped them in newspapers, and threw them under the house, where the heating ductwork kept them very warm. Never had bananas in either place.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 9:30PM
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DunedinDan(z9b FL)

I would just leave them. There's a good chance the stalks are ok. After the hard freezes of the last few years, I just removed the brown leaves and left the stalks. (I also left about 1/3 of the top leaf since the next new leaf will come out of that one). New leaves sprouted from the top of almost all of the stalks.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 10:05PM
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I lived in Jax and had bananas. I took a hacksaw to them every spring to get rid of the frozen stuff. The old dead part protects the healthy part inside.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2012 at 8:54AM
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Thanks dunedindan, I did notice there are signs of new leaves at the top of the stalk, I'll just cut off the dead ones after they've died back.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2012 at 9:36AM
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