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What is your method for 'hardening off' bananas back outdoors

Posted by glen3a Winnipeg MB 3A (My Page) on
Thu, May 13, 10 at 22:49

Just curious - for people who dig up their bananas and store them in a cool basement, garage, or root cellar for winter, how do you go about re-introducing your plants to outdoors in spring?

For the plants that I grew over winter as houseplants, or even the one that's in a pot that was stored in the semi dark basement, I put on the north deck and even draped a burlap screen in front of it - hoping to gradually get it used to sun once again.

Then I have another plant that I dug up in fall and stored the root in the basement. It does have some green growth. I am wondering how adapt this one to outdoors. That is, wait until the proper time and just dig a hole and plant in the flower bed, or maybe pot up temporarily and then gradually get it used to better light? Maybe if I plant directly in the flower bed I could screen it for a few days to get it used to sun once again?

No matter how I try, the 'indoor' leaves always seem to gradually be damaged but the new growth seems okay. I just don't want to kill the plants after trying to store over the winter.

Last year I had one plant that I stored the root and then potted up and it rotted, so I know I have to be careful not to overwater until it's in active growth.

Thanks!
Glen


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What is your method for 'hardening off' bananas back outdoors

I think the best way to acclimate it to being outdoors is to cut off all the leaves. This year mother nature did this for me when a nor'easter came with wind gusts of 75 mph ripping all the leaves off. Then a late frost in mid to late march browned some of the leaves. Now the new leaves comming out are not burned and look good.
I had mine in a closet in my basement with a light on all winter long. It did manage to grow a few leaves but those leaves were weak and had no chance of lasting outdoors.

Good luck!
-Alex


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RE: What is your method for 'hardening off' bananas back outdoors

  • Posted by glen3a Winnipeg MB 3A (My Page) on
    Sat, May 15, 10 at 8:24

Thanks Alex. It is true, no matter how hard you try, the leaves the plants develops outdoors usually get ripped and then yellow and fall off. I guess the exception to this would be if a person was lucky enough to have a greenhouse where the plant got great light year round. But, I guess the important thing is that the plant survives, as the ones you buy at the garden center aren't as big.


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whoops

  • Posted by glen3a Winnipeg MB 3A (My Page) on
    Sat, May 15, 10 at 8:28

I meant to say that the leaves that the plant develops indoors, overwinter, are the ones that get ripped and fall off. The ones it grows while outdoors are obviously stronger/nicer.


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RE: What is your method for 'hardening off' bananas back outdoors

Same here. I dont have a greenhouse and all the sunny windows are usually taken up by plants that need it more so it gets stuck in the basement closet. I think the main goal is to keep that stalk alive and green because we all want them to get bigger since, like you said, bananas are hard to get at a big size especially out of the tropics.

Good luck!
-Alex


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Glen

Glen do you find that even outdoor produce Musa Basjoo leaves get torn from the winds here on the prairies. Here in Edmonton, my potted basjoo always looks pretty ragged and it doesnt grow very fast for me. How about you?? Does it grow fast in Winnipeg and get big like they do in southern gardens???

I have found that the Red Abyssinian banana looks better and is more wind-tolerant here in Alberta. Also it grows consistenly throughout the summer. What are your thoughts on bananas in the prairies??? Do you plant the basjoo in the ground or keep it container grown. I have a new basjoo and I dont know if I should plant it in the ground or in a larger pot...


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RE: What is your method for 'hardening off' bananas back outdoors

  • Posted by glen3a Winnipeg MB 3A (My Page) on
    Thu, May 20, 10 at 0:36

Hi Andres,

I don't find that basjoo gets more torn leaves than abyssinian but maybe I just never noticed. My yard is pretty sheltered but it's true we can get some nasty wind. On the internet you do see some pictures of large plants with torn leaves but I think it makes them look sort of "palm tree" like.

I am sure my bananas don't grow as big as southern gardens. Mainly because the growing season is shorter.

As for pot versus ground, the first year it probably doesn't make as much difference, but after the first year they need quite a big pot or else plant in the ground. I started an ensete from seed and it did good the first year in a pot. The second year I transplanted into a slightly bigger pot but it really didn't get that much bigger. Of course, it did spend part of the summer just replacing 'indoor' leaves.

I prefer to put them in the ground but love the tropical look on the deck so will definitely have some in pots. Especially smaller ones like zebrina.

Good luck!


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RE: What is your method for 'hardening off' bananas back outdoors

For those in warmer climates, where the corm is able to survive the winter in the ground, I've found I'll have much bigger plants by the end of May from ones that sprout from the mother in the spring, than if I had dug one up from the previous season. I think having established roots vs. cutting them when digging helps them grow faster than previously dug up plants. And they have the benefit of developing into a nice grove of a couple dozen plants within about 3 years. Now, the only time I'll dig any up in the fall is to thin out the groves where they overtake my walks or shade other plants too much.


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RE: What is your method for 'hardening off' bananas back outdoors

After growing both ensete and musa for several years, in your climate, the Abysinnian bananas do best. Musa don't seem to tolerate cool nights as well as the ensete. Yes! Cut off the leaves most of the way down towards the stalk. They will just break off anyway. I moved three 12-14 foot tall ensete, and four smaller musa outside two weeks ago, and I cut off all of their beautiful leaves. It's OK. The ensete has started pushing up new leaves even in our cold rainy weather (in the low 40's F.) the last several days. The musa are just sitting there waiting for warmer weather.


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