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Experiences Overwintering Orinoco

Posted by gaalan z8 Atlanta (My Page) on
Thu, Feb 9, 06 at 11:32

I have two of what I believe to be Orinoco bananas. Received in trade as such. I have them caged and covered with pine straw. My goal is to overwinter enough p-stem to possibly get some fruit. This winter, so far, may prove to be a really good chance at having a lot of stem survive. Lowest temp to this point is 22F. Has anyone in a similar zone tried their hand at this? I am officially listed as 7b, but only once in 10 years have my observations reflected this designation. My basic question is, what is the lowest temp someone has had Orinoco stems survive? What a treat it would be to harvest even a few bananas from the garden!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Experiences Overwintering Orinoco

i'll let ya know in spring..
a as i sold most of mine and left this mat out for the winter.

i know of 27 so far and lived, but in atl. yu know we can be hit pretty hard..

Here is a link that might be useful: banana pics

RE: Experiences Overwintering Orinoco

Out of curiosity, is this what a typical banana tree looks like during/after Winter? My Dwarf Grand Nain looks almost exactly like this (but much smaller). Will it grow new stuff out of this in the Spring?

This is my first Winter with a banana tree, and I'm just wondering what to expect.

Thanks in advance...

RE: Experiences Overwintering Orinoco

I grow Orinoco in the UK and it does not loose leaves until almost 0C (32F) and restarts growing at only one or two degrees above that and is fairly fungus resistant. I would have thought it best to keep it cool like it clearly is, or it will exhaust itself growing, dying back,growing,dying back...

Its about as hardy as M Paradisiaca if that helps.

RE: Experiences Overwintering Orinoco

gaalan can you let me know how your banana does. I would love to try to grow one. I am 90 miles SW of you. We do get low's in the 20's also and have had them go to the teens so I would love to know how it goes for you.

RE: Experiences Overwintering Orinoco

  • Posted by gaalan z8 Atlanta (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 12, 06 at 17:15

Hydro I do want to hear from you this spring about your plant there. Is that dwarf Orinoco? That seems pretty short to have such a big stem!

Goataster, I'll certainly let you know! I am anxious to see what happens. Pretty cold here today(high of 39F), so my plants may be in for more of a test than I thought!

Rubbleshop have had your Orinoco(s) bear any fruit? How long have you had it? It would be really neat to be able to go out in the garden, bring in a banana, and make a sandwich!

I planted my Orinocos in spring 2004. They survived last winter, but had to sprout from the corm. My lowest temp last winter was 16F. I didn't have them covered as well then, as I do now.

I have overwintered as much as 8' of p-stem on M. basjoo using the same method I'm using with my Orinocos. I know, of course, it is currently the hardiest known species. Do you think even a slight bit of that hardiness is present in its p-stems? If this is the case, I may be fooling myself to think I could ever overwinter stems of any of the edible bananas. This is the essence of gardening I guess!

RE: Experiences Overwintering Orinoco

Hi Gaalan,
My Orinocos are only 2 years old so are not big enough to fruit yet. They dont lose any pseudostem here in winter- just leaves, so should get big enough to fruit. They will probably reach 5 or so first though, due to our short growing season.

RE: Experiences Overwintering Orinoco

I never have tried to protect the pseudostems over Winter. I either just leave them alone or dig them up and store under the house (usually the latter). I can tell you that the pseudostems will take a relatively hard freeze without collapsing, as long as it is short-lived. Multiple exposures to hard freezes will do away with the stem over a period of time. In NC, at Plant Delights Nursery, they protect the pseudostems every year and get fruit too. A cage of leaves should be more than sufficient in your climate, assuming you have a normal or mild winter. Even if some of the top dies back, you can just cut it back until you find green in the center of the stem. It's worth a shot! I would try it if I were in your climate. I am in a 7a climate, even though we haven't had single digit temps since 2003, so I don't bother with protection.

RE: Experiences Overwintering Orinoco

I have two orinocos that just since fall started, the leaf would unfurl out and look beautiful and then stop. No growth after would even kinda turn a yellowish color. Is it the season change? If it were the coolness, I would imagine it would stop growing but not change colors. It only gets mid 40s here at night with windchill.


RE: Experiences Overwintering Orinoco

Hi gaalan,

I'm really interested to know how your Orinocos did in the winter as I plan to try some in zone 8b. Thanks a lot

RE: Experiences Overwintering Orinoco

I've had a "regifted" Orinoco for three years now. For each of the previous two winters, the bed has been encircled with a decorative iron-wire fence and filled with leaves and pine straw to a depth of 3' or so.

The first summer in the ground, the 3' high plant grew to 18'.

The second summer, 5 stems grew to 22' and one produced fruit. That bunch had to be picked in mid-November, just before the first hard freeze. We only had one night down to 23F and only a few nights below freezing.

This year, I've got 25 plants, with the largest headed to 25'. No fruiting as yet, but I think that's because of over-crowding. I'm not sure if I will even bother with winter protection this year.

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