Can you grow pineapple or bananas in South Carolia (Zone 7)

Soul_Flower(7)June 6, 2011

I have been growing veggies for a while and really enjoy

the fruits of my labor. I have been trying all varieties of edible plants and really would like to grow some fruit. I have multiple types of berries and plan on eventually planting some fruit trees that I know will grow well in my area. I have heard that you can also grow certain species of tropical plants in the south (South Carolina is a zone 7). Can you grow bananas or pineapples in South Carolina?

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dellis326 (Danny)

There are several species of bananas that are cold hardy but most of them do not produce an edible fruit. Do a google search for "hardy banana" and you'll find plenty of info on them.

Pineapples would not survive your winters but they are easy to grow in a pot and bring indoors during the winter.

Danny

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 9:35PM
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tropicalzone7(7b)

Pineapples will not be worth your time. You can keep then as potted plants and they will bloom and fruit eventually, but the fruit wont taste very good They are really interesting plants though so I would give them a try just because of that.

Bananas are a great choice for your area. It will take a few years to get fruit, but once your plants are mature, you will be getting fruit (or at least blooms) every year. Again, its not really a plant that you can grow for fruit in your area, but they are really beautiful and you will get fruit eventually if you give them lots of care (and sun, water, plant food, and heat). Here are some varieties with a short description

Musa Basjoo- They will survive your winters and they are the most cold hardy banana currently known. I would mulch them during the winter just to make sure they come back, but if you get them from a good nursery they should be fine. They are not evergreen and they will not make edible fruit. However, they look beautiful and they will make bananas (just ones with lots of seeds). They can grow 20 feet tall or more when older and they grow at least 5-10 feet in height a year!

Musa Velutina- They might survive your winters. You can easily dig it up if you dont want to risk it. They are small plants as far as bananas are concerned. The fruit is very interesting because its a pink color. Its edible, but you have to work around the large seeds. Apparently they taste pretty decent, but I never tried them. They look beautiful in bloom anyway.

Musa Saba- They could also be hardy, but I would dig it up and store it in a garage or your home just to be safe. Bananas are actually very easy to store. You just dig them up around the time of first frost (probably best to dig them up right before first frost) and you can pot them up and bring them in. They wont grow much indoors, but you cant take them back out in the spring and they will grow again. Musa Saba is one of the largest bananas in the world. They can grow up to 40 feet! They make edible bananas but I think you can only eat them if you cook them. These bananas taste pretty good!

Musa "Ice cream"- A very popular banana because it taste very good. They are especially popular in Hawaii. I have seen people get these to fruit in pretty cold climates. They dig them up and bring them in for the year and you should do the same. They can reach 20-30 feet tall according to conditions. The bananas are kind of bluish so some people call them "Java Blue Bananas". They are not cold hardy to your area so definitely dig them up.

There are tons of other banana species (1000's) and you can try to grow them. They all grow the same way and to be honest, the plants themselves look pretty similar to each other unless you really know a bit about banana plants.
Good luck! Banana plants are really fun plants to watch grow. You should at least grow them for the tropical look and if you get them to fruit, you will instantly feel like you have been transported to the tropics!
-Alex

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 10:40PM
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caseyst_sc

I realize I'm late to this party - but I wanted to make an argument for the taste of South Carolina pineapples. I've been growing them for about 10 years now, in pots on my porch (inside when it gets cold) and I've gotten a good bit of fruit from them. The taste is most certainly worth it - I've never had better pineapple. Just be sure to leave them on the plant until they've turned a nice golden color. They will be smaller than the ones you buy at the store, but they're very well worth the trouble. And, save the top from your home grown pineapple, it can be planted too!

    Bookmark   October 28, 2014 at 11:45AM
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