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What mulch to use for wintering musa basjoo outside?

Posted by pmac22 Zone 6 (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 10, 11 at 22:15

I am attempting to overwinter my musa basjoo outside this year in the Philadelphia area. The technique I will try is to cut down to the ground and mulch. Is there a specific kind of mulch I need to use for this?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What mulch to use for wintering musa basjoo outside?

I never successfully overwintered a Basjoo but I believe it was because they never grew big enough to survive the winter. A local person in my garden club has been keeping and spreading her Basjoo for several years now. Besides most of them being protected by a fence or the house, she just lets them die back and mulch themselves. Spent leaves and trunk sheathes are all her plants get. Another mat at a house that had been sold was simply cut back and covered with a tarp with bricks placed at the edges. Not sure if they used straw or cypress mulch. The person that used to live there (now deceased) used to keep the trunks of the Basjoo alive with a wire cage stuffed with straw and covered with a tarp. Got to see a Basjoo flower becasue of his practices.

RE: What mulch to use for wintering musa basjoo outside?

Ugly but it worked.

RE: What mulch to use for wintering musa basjoo outside?

They need to be big enough to pup.

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RE: What mulch to use for wintering musa basjoo outside?

Thank you for the great info and pics everybody!

RE: What mulch to use for wintering musa basjoo outside?

I'm going to try something similar....

I was given a banana of unknown species. It was re-gifted several times and was in a pot, about 4-5 feet tall when I planted it in a raised bed with lots of peat and other organic matter. It exploded. Grew to 16-18 feet, and other than the HUGE leaves being shredded by hurricane-force winds, the plant is happy as it can be.

The pseudostem is a foot in diameter with half a dozen goodly sized pups. Early December and the lowest temp so far has been 36F, so it is still producing new leaves. It's in a protected place with the greenhouse and hot tub to the north and east and warmth-retaining patio stones all around.

My plan is to surround the bed with low wire fencing and fill with leaves and pine needles. The question is should the main stalk be cut back before or after a killing freeze?

RE: What mulch to use for wintering musa basjoo outside?

I've noticed as the frosts have come that the banana plant's own dying leaves tend to bend down and make a tent over the stem and roots. Why remove the leaves if they can help protect the plant?

Also, removing the stem removes a large part of the plant's total mass and energy- seems to me that this would weaken the plant.

My bigger clump of bananas has a wire cage filled with leaves, and then plastic sheet over that. Protected this way I managed to save about 2-4ft of stem that didnt freeze back.

I have a couple of smaller ones that are only protected by their own dead leaves hanging down, but some people might think it looks messy. (Looks better than plastic tents everywhere though)

RE: What mulch to use for wintering musa basjoo outside?

Got the banana 'plantation' tucked in for the winter: a surrounding fence filled with pine needles and leaves.

...but what winter? Worked in a t-shirt today (Jan. 1) and still harvesting roma tomatoes and peppers....


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