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Best banana for shade?

Posted by dissmith z8b SC (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 4, 06 at 11:48

I have been building my tropicalesque shade garden over the summer and have a perfect spot for a banana plant. I'm hoping someone can tell me which variety would do best in shade? It's not "dense" shade but the only actual sun is late in the day and filtered. (and someday I hope to gather enough knowledge to be the one answering the questions instead of asking so many! Thanks.)


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RE: Best banana for shade?

I am a beginner to bananas but since no one has answered yet I will tell you what has worked for me.

Before I planted mine I looked at pictures of other peoples bananas that live in this area and visited a few private gardens.

'Almost' all of the tropical looking plants seemed to do best in at least dappled shade. My bananas have at least some shade at some point during the day. They all recieve some morning sun but then are sheltered from sun or get just dappled sunlight the rest of the day.

The only tropical type plants that I have in full sun are cannas and elephant ears and datura. I have the following in full or part shade:
A couple of types of ginger
Four different bananas
Root beer plant
Brugamansia

Sorry I don't know the correct name for the root beer plant - there are a couple of things called that.

I also have some other tropical type plants in shade but don't know the names.

It seems to me that our full sun here in this part of South Carolina just seems to be a lot meaner than in some other areas. Many plants that usually are planted in full sun don't seem to mind at least a little afternoon shade.


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RE: Best banana for shade?

gurley157: Thanks so much for the reply. I agree that full sun here seems more intense than in cooler zones. They had some Musa Basjoo and some "blood" bananas at Home Depot yesterday, so I took a chance and brought home the former. I'll try it in the least shady end and see what happens! I looked at your garden photos by the way. Your tropicals look great! Thanks again-


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RE: Best banana for shade?

Musa basjoo is hardy, but the 'Blood' bananas aren't(you'll have to dig that one up). If you can find one, I recommend Musella lasiocarpa. They perform wonderfully in the shade and don't seem to have a problem with winter rot like many of the other 'Hardy' bananas.

Here is a picture of my Musella blooming. This clump is over eight years old and in the shade.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


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RE: Best banana for shade?

Dwayne: Yes, I resisted the temptation to bring home the blood banana since I really wasn't sure it would make it. Thanks for the suggestion of Musella lasiocarpa, though. I'll look for it. Hopefully the Basjoo will get just enough light to be happy. (Fingers crossed.)


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RE: Best banana for shade?

  • Posted by randit z8 southern NM (My Page) on
    Mon, Oct 2, 06 at 23:35

Musa zebrina...which is likely the "Blood Banana" should perform admireably in shade, given your climate. I had many divisions of these, living very happily under the edge of dark canopies formed by huge Live Oaks, in Coastal GA. They prospered in the protection offered by the Live Oaks, and did not seem to mind the shade. The best plants were backlit by the setting western sun..giving them some veeeery late evening sun.


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RE: Best banana for shade?

Check out Musa Itinerans. Its a forest banana from China. Apparently strong sunlight will burn its leaves. Its grows to like 40ft in Yunnan. I have had it for about a year and it hasn't grown that much, maybe 10ft. But then again it is in an area that I don't water that often and it has been a real dry summer here. I put it in the ground this spring so I will see how cold hardy it is this winter in 9A.... Dwayne nice pic! Is that Manihot Grahamii in the background? I just got one of those and thought they were a sun lover. Very cool leaf.


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RE: Best banana for shade?

Thanks! I will look for M. Itinerans and Zebrina for next season. Many thanks for your replies. I think I'll have to make a bigger bed. :)


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RE: Best banana for shade?

Although I live in SoCal with a milder year-round climate (z10)...I am also experimenting with different bananas to determine which grow best in a shaded microclimate.

I planted two months ago what I believe to be (based on photo comparisons) a musa lasiocarpa and a red abyssinian side by side in my courtyard garden. The area receives very little direct sunlight at all. The lasiocarpa seems to be doing VERY well...but the red is not and clearly needs more light.

Sooo...I'm uprooting the red and moving it to a better lit area...and probably planting a lasiocarpa in its place.

Just thought I'd share this with you. Hope this helps!

Cheers from Venice Beach, CA!


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RE: Best banana for shade?

As far south as you live, the blood bananas should be hardy for you. They might freeze down to the ground, throw some mulch around them and they should do fine. "blood banana" also "christmas banana" is just another common name for a zebrina.
I'm growing some basjoo bananas by my sidewalk here in Indiana near a large tulip tree,they are going on three years old, they get morning sun only, because of the house being to the west of them, and the morning sun they get, well,that's even filtered by the tree.
The only thing I've noticed is that they don't get as tall as the others. They usually get to be about 3-4 feet tall each year here. But with your longer season, yours will probably be taller.
You will want that zebrina to go with your other banana, they look so pretty together. If the zebrina isn't getting enough sun, the red blotches will fade off the top of the new leaves, so that is a good test. If it does that, then move it.
(mandatory inspirational picture attached!LOL)
The small banana leaf in the bottom right hand corner is a zebrina.

Here is a link that might be useful: pond picture


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