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Starting Banana's from seed

Posted by Jerimah3 6a MA (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 16, 12 at 0:14

For my area and zone I figure there are three banana tree's I can grow:

Dwarf Cavendish banana
Musa Basjoo banana
California Gold banana

Would these be feasible to grow from seed, germinating in an ideal environment (which would be...?), then planted either in a big pot or outdoors?
I've heard they can be cut down and survive freezes and snowfall, is this true? They'll come back every spring?

Any other information would be greatly appreciated!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Starting Banana's from seed

  • Posted by mksmth oklahoma 7a (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 16, 12 at 9:01

Just curious why from seed? I grow both the cavendish and basjoo and each pup very profusely. You can buy them both pretty cheap and already of decent size. From my mother basjoo last year I have had 12 pups and the cavendish has had 3. The basjoo is very hardy the cavendish will need to be brought inside. I dont know anything about the California gold but I have read that it is pretty hardy. I cut my basjoo down to the ground mulched with only its own leaves and it came back even stronger this year. We did have a very mild winter by our standards but we did have a few days in the teens.


RE: Starting Banana's from seed

I prefer to grow plants from seed over other methods, unless I've grown that plant I'm gathering cuttings from, but honestly I wouldn't mind growing banana's from cuttings or pups. The problem is I'm not sure where I would go to buy any sort of banana cutting or sapling.

Around here it gets cold, many days close to 0 usually, and lots of snow, would the basjoo still be able to survive a winter being cut down and mulched with leaves? or should I get some actually mulch to give it a little extra warmth?

By the sounds of it they aren't the best thing to grow from seed? Is there any reason why this is not recommended?

RE: Starting Banana's from seed

  • Posted by mksmth oklahoma 7a (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 16, 12 at 14:05

Im not sure the specific reasons why from seed its not recommend or if its not that its not recommended. I know the ensete bananas dont typically pup so from seed is the only way. You can mail order any kind of banana you could ever want. Many that are mail ordered are TC or tissue culture plants. They have been grown in a lab and are disease free and identical to the mother. Of course pups are identical but Tissue culture is a way to mass produce banana trees versus waiting on plants to produce offshoots.

There are thousand of ways to overwinter bananas. Some will build cages filled with leaves, just wrapping the stem, or even digging up and storing dry in a cool dark place. The key is to not just keep from freezing but also to keep them dry so they dont rot. Covering the basjoo with mulch and then a tarp to keep water away is one way that seems to work well.


RE: Starting Banana's from seed

I've noted in my reading that those in the very cold places are better off digging them up and storing them in an unheated garage or cool basement.

In my zone I have to deal with brief periods of around 20F which may be followed by following temperatures in the sixties even seventies so my storage must be able to breath on those warm days to prevent rot or so it seems with this being my first banana boat year.

RE: Starting Banana's from seed

Randy in Georgia:

I live in 8A in North Georgia and I never dig up my Musa Basjoo or Musa Sikkimensis. Actually, some of my Basjoos were not protected at all last winter, and they came back fine.
I've had temps down to the mid teens and they've come back.

Being that you are South of me, I wouldn't worry about digging up hardy bananas. Less hardy varieties / edible types maybe so, but I don't have any experience with those yet.

RE: Starting Banana's from seed

Edible bananas to not have seed.

RE: Starting Banana's from seed

Tried some seeds twice, just for fun.... And got nothing. So disappointed.
Pups are the way to go.

As for your area, go with a basjoo and read up on them a little, because the rule of thumb here recently has been to bury them deep... Worked for me. BUT, I always keep at least one in a pot just for insurance that I always have one.
If you have a lowes or home depot around, they occasionally get bananas in.

Good luck,

RE: Starting Banana's from seed

I put a square of hay bales around the base of my Basjoo mat and then fill it with chopped leaves. I cut the stems level with the top of the leaves and cover the whole thing with a sheet of heavy duty plastic to keep it all dry. The stems survive this way, as do the pups. Since the bananas from Basjoo are not edible I am growing this primarily for the exotic foliage, though will be pleased if I get flowers. This past winter was mild and I had to cut the stems that were poking up through the mulch, down several times as I didn't want them freezing and rotting and causing a problem.

I removed the bales and mulch at the end of April and the plants are already 5 ft high, though still pretty ragged. Once they get some good growth on them I will start removing the outer leaves to get them looking good.

You can see pics of them from last year (after a "normal" winter - temps down to -9) at the end of the pages at this link -


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