Hardy Banana - Musa bajoo

Musa basjoo has been extensively cultivated for fibre and as an ornamental plant in gardens outside its natural range, first into Japan, and from the late 19th century, in parts of northern Europe (north to Britain), the United States, and Canada. Although the pseudostem may only cope with a few degrees below freezing, the underground rhizome is considered frost hardy, if well insulated with thick mulch, in areas with winter temperatures down to -15°C. If the pseudostem is killed, the banana will resprout from the ground where it rapidly grows to full size in a season under optimal conditions. It can also be overwintered under cover in a pot and kept growing, which is the only way it can be made to fruit in northern regions as it requires 12–24 months of warmth to bloom.

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Showy Flowers
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Full Sun
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Zone 5
Average: 5 (4 votes)

Best growth occurs with consistently moist soils that do not dry out. Fertilize plants regularly during the growing season. Site plants in areas protected from strong winds which can severely damage the large leaves. For containers, use a well-drained potting soil mix. Keep container soils consistently moist but not wet. In USDA Zones 9-10, this banana is basically evergreen and may be grown outdoors year round. In USDA Zones 5-8, plant growth will die to the ground in winter (at 40 degrees F. additional growth stops and at 32 degrees F. the leaves die and tree can be cut back to 2-3'). Options for overwintering include: (1) For plants grown directly in the ground, cut stems back to 2' after frost kills the leaves, wrap stems with burlap, bubble wrap or plastic and apply a thick mulch to the ground to protect the roots; (2) For container plants, bring container indoors in fall before first frost and place in a large sunny room for overwintering as a houseplant, with reduced water and fertilization, or trim foliage and store container in the basement in a cool frost free corner, providing just an occasional touch of moisture in winter to prevent the soils from totally drying out; (3) For large plants (whether grown directly in the ground or in containers), cut foliage back in fall after first frost, trim plus wrap roots in plastic and store plants in a cool, dark, frost-free corner of the basement until spring.

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