How to prep my Banana tree for winter

joenflowermoundOctober 25, 2007

Greetings from a first time poster. We bought a house in the Dallas are in June, and were excited to find that our banana trees (plants?) by the pool grew to about 16-18' and have lots of bananas! Now I'm worried about how to care for them over the winter. The nursery told me to cut them all the way to the ground and cover with mulch before the first freeze, but I'm worried they won't grow as big by next summer. Could I just trim them all the way back and leave a stalk 6-8' high? Also, each of three bunches has maybe a dozen separate plants - can I thin some of these out?



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ltcollins1949(9a TX)

I don't know what to tell you about growing banans in DFW. I have a banana grove that keeps getting larger and produces lots of bananas, but I live in south Texas where we seldom get freezes. I never cut back my bananas in the fall, but always in the spring and let them grow throughout the summer. However, I just stopped cutting them and let them go year round. After a hard winter, I just cut off any of the leaves that look bad.

Here is an article by the University of Florida about bananas and one by TAMU about growing bananas.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 9:19AM
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Thanks for those links! I'm going to be busily studying before the first freeze!


    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 11:30AM
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I only have dwarf red bananas, but they reach full height pretty quickly each spring/early summer.

They pretty much die back at first frost and then I cut the ugly stuff back and throw lots of leaf mulch on top.

There is a nursery here that has a grove of inground bananas - those things are HUGE and neglected. I think that the only care they receive is the backwash after watering the nursery stock. They grow back every year as well.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2007 at 10:03AM
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Joeray(Z9 LA)

Check the bananas forum. I don't think you need to cut the stalk to the ground. I have a new Raja Puri banana plant that has grown quite a bite since I planted it in June. I plan to cut off the dead leaves after the frost kills them and then cover the stalk with insulation (fallen tree leaves, hay, etc.) to protect it from further freeze damage. In order to get bananas, I've read that you should not let more than 3 stalks to grow at a time.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 12:01AM
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scuba-gal(8a ~ Keller)

We are in Tarrant Co./FTW and when ours get the 1st freeze they drop/droop & turn brown/black and we cut them to the ground and mulch as you were told - they do grow back EVERY year BIGGER than the prior year. It is too late this year to divide - usually we do that early Sept. to give them time to get new roots well before the 1st frost/freeze. We use a sharp shooter to divide and get at much of the "babies" roots as possible. They multiply like crazy and really do get bigger EVERY year. I know a few people who have tried to not cut them back all the way - but they tend to rot, since they are nothing but water and it is freezing and re-thawing over and over when left tall. When you cut one you will see - they drip like faucet...LOL
Best of Luck!!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 11:15AM
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ltcollins1949(9a TX)

Just a note on growing bananas in south Texas, I've lived here almost 12 years now, and my grove, yes, it is a grove, gets bigger and bigger every year. Like I mentioned I don't cut mine back at all unless we get a terrible freeze. Even then, a lot of the smaller plants that are protected manage to make it through the winter. I do nothing special for my bananas, and they just keep growing and getting bigger. My grove is probably about 15' x 10'.


I've never heard In order to get bananas, I've read that you should not let more than 3 stalks to grow at a time. I can tell you that I just let mine go, and every year I get far more bananas than I can use. I give them to a friend of mine that is a chef, and he uses them in different recipes.

Also I have read However, do not expect the bananas to turn yellow on the stalk. Maturity is achieved when the individual bananas become full and rounded, after which they can be cut and hung or placed in a warm area to ripen to good eating quality. I have left the bananas on the tree to ripen and pull them off when they turn yellow, and I have cut the stalk and hung it. The ones that ripen on the stalks are far better tasting than the ones that are cut and hung to ripen.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 9:38AM
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Hello everyone I am a new member of this forum and I had question about my 2 dwarf Cavendish banana trees. I live in Brooklyn NY (not the most tropical of locations) and purchased 2, 6 inch pups around march this past spring. I potted them and pretty much left them on my fire escape all summer long. They grew like weeds all summer long and are about 4ft now! So it's gotten pretty chilly here and mid-September I brought them inside. I now see that my trees are turning yellow and brown around the edges of the leaves. Each pot has 2 pups, one on each side of the mom plant and one of my pups is getting the same yellow/brown edging. In the summer they grew about 2 leaves per week now I'm lucky if I get a leaf every 2 1/2 weeks and the leaves are growing out with yellow and brown edges!!!!! I've since bought plant lights from Home Depot and put them in my bathroom so that they can get some humidity when either my Boyfriend or I shower. I figured that they were just going through a winter period and will be fine come next summer but my boyfriend is convinced that they are GONERS!! Which of us is right? I really love my trees :(

    Bookmark   November 4, 2007 at 3:11PM
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I just joined and i know it's been a 1 1/2 years since your inquiry but for what it's worth i have had banana trees since about 95/96 and my mother tree came from all places from our in laws in tennessee! i have learned a lot since that first tree; one, i have cut them back to within a foot of the ground and i have left them as they were and it didn't matter they came back i have chosen to just leave them as they are pull all the leaves off in early spring lop off about 2 ft and beleive me they will do fine; second, split off as many offshoots as you want in the early spring make sure you use a very sharp cutting tool most people including my self use a sharp shooter make sure you have at least 3 or more roots on the one you remove i know there are some that disagree with this but i have accidently separated one last year without any roots and for funzies i put in a small bucket of water and it grew roots and leafed out!;third, if you want to spend the money for the fancy dancy specilized fertilizer go ahead but i have use the old reliable miracle gro and by mid summer my back yard looks just like the caribean islands (the 3 palm trees help); fourth, by now you have figured it out banana trees love the sun the more the merrier; fifth, i have a sprinkler system and around the palm and banana trees i use soaker hoses and they get watered every 4th day and do great; sixth, the banana tree i have and more than likely you do as well is called a plaintin banana they get about 6" long and for cooking when ready to pick you can split the banana in half (lengthway) smuther in butter, sprinkle sinnamin and sugar on it bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees remove the meat from the skin and either eat with a fork or make you a nanner sandwich by the way did you know that when you heard of Elvis Presly eating a nanner sandwich this is what he was eating! we learned while visiting Graceland Elvis was that just about everything Elvis ate was fried! and finally if you wish to learn more contact the 'county extension office' in ft worth and they will send you information on this subject or any other subject dealing with plants in texas if your curious about your soil you can request a soil sampling kit they come in 2 varieties low cost and high cost (it's been over 15 years but the last time i did this it cost me about $15 for the basic and it was about $30 for the more extensive but i imagine it cost a lot more now). I hope this helps oh! one other thing banana trees grown in north texas love high acid soil.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2009 at 10:42PM
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We moved to Fort Worth-by-Keller from Arkansas last fall and our gardner suggested we cut all the way to the ground. We did. Although we did not know to mulch--thank you for that--our banannas survived and thrived; we hope very much to have bananas this fall. Have not seen any flowers however. Not sure what type they are. Enjoyed reading everyone's ideas and thoughts.

Lovin' Texas,


    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 6:26PM
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