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Winter and temperature in overwintering

Posted by mrbungalow Z8, SW-Norway ( on
Thu, Sep 7, 06 at 3:34

King winter is standing at the door, and he's probably going to be angry this year!

My question is about overwintering cold-hardy bananas outside in the hay-filled cage.

As we know, cold hardy bananas such as sikkimensis and basjoo actually start to grow at lower temperatures, in the 40-50 degree range. Not much, but still growing. Beeing in a coastal zone 8, we can have some warm days, even in January. My guess is that it would not be a good thing to have a wrapped banana start to grow in the middle of winter? Could this also be the reason why some people are having a hard time overwintering sikkimensis, simply because it grows so well at lower temps.? Or am I way off?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Winter and temperature in overwintering

"King winter is standing at the door, and he's probably going to be angry this year!"

No Norse god for that? We have Jack Frost:

The most important temperature for any banana plant, even those that are actively growing, is the soil temperature because the growing point, meristem, is below ground.

The procedure used in zone 5 is to decapitate the plant at ground level and cover the ground with insulating material. The soil temperature under that insulating material isn't going to change much with rapid temperature fluctuations.

RE: Winter and temperature in overwintering

I have a banana plant that was given to me in mid-August. I've planted it in a sheltered area where it seems to be thriving. How should I overwinter it in Zone 7? Thanks for any suggestions.

RE: Winter and temperature in overwintering

We do have a Norse God for that. "Ull, the God of Winter"

This is what the clump looked like a couple of weeks ago. (Different kinds; left is musa basjoo, middle is sikkimensis, and right is 2 musa helen)

RE: Winter and temperature in overwintering

I want overwinter my bananas dormant in my bassement under the terrace. Ive read about different methods, but not all are succesful. I lost my sikkimensis ans basjoo last winter (pseudostems and corms rotted), both were stored in the garage where was probably too hot in autumn.

So, to avoid problems in next winer I have a few questions.

1) When should I dig up my bananas. Should I wait till the frost will damage leaves of bananas or dig up them before the first frost ???

2) I have basjoo, nagnesium, sp helen (6 to top of highest leaves germinated from seed in march), balbisiana (started the same time as helen are much smaller than Helen maybe 1/3) Itinerans, Ornata;

Is this correct to dig up all varietes at the same time , especially Ornata which is not cold
Hardy ??? Maybe Ornata earlier and rest after frost

3) Can i overwinter in dark bassement smaller ones in containers germinated this year from seeds (smallest balbisianas have 1 feet pseudostem only) ???

4) How do you start bananas overwintered in bassement , indoor in containers, or outdoor in directly in the ground ? Which method is better ? When start them indoor ??? Last frost we have in Poland around 15 may.

Thanks for all replies

RE: Winter and temperature in overwintering

Reader, I would love to see some photos! Especially of Nagensium!

1.For Musa Sikkimensis, Musa Basjoo, and Musa Helen I would wait for the first light frost before digging them. You want the plant to be in a dormant condition before storing them. The others I would take in when temperatures are low, but not freezing. You dont want to loose the stems as well!

2.Yes! See above!

3. No, atleast it did not work for me. Generally, bananas under atleast 1 meter in height do not store well in a dormant state, because of small root system. These are difficult to overwinter. Some people have success with extra plant-lights, and I will be trying that this year.

4. I really don't know, but I suppose starting them inside in march/april will make a bigger plant than planting it out as a weak dormant banana in May.

Please take some pictures, especially of nagensium!


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