Cold Hardy Banana

Musa_basjooSochi1The Basjoo Banana is the hardiest ornamental banana variety known to tropical plant lovers the world over. Strategically planted Basjoos will help you create the perfect backyard retreat in just about any climate—even as far north as Minnesota! Its quick growth won’t keep you waiting either. Follow these helpful instructions and you can expect your Basjoo to grow as much as an amazing 2’ per week.

Location:  Place your Basjoo Banana plant in a warm, sunny spot that has good protection from high winds. Ample sun is necessary in order to encourage the giant banana leaves to reach their full growth potential.

Hardiness:  With mulch added to supply insulation, your Basjoo can withstand temperatures as low as -20 F. That makes this variety the cold hardiest banana plant in existence. Keep in mind that growth rates will slow as temperatures approach 40F. Remember to mulch heavily when temperatures fall below freezing.

Soil:  The Basjoo will thrive in rich loamy soil that contain generous amounts of amendments like composted cow manure, shredded leaves,pine bark, top soil etc.

Planting Instructions:

1.  Choose and clear the planting site.  Select a site that’s large enough to support the mature size of your Basjoo Banana.  Even with a mature height of 10-18 feet, this banana plant can fit in some pretty tight spaces, offering a variety of planting location choices throughout your yard or garden. Clear the planting area of all weeds and any plant life immediately surrounding the designated planting location.

2.  Dig the hole to the depth and width necessary to accommodate the root system—typically twice as wide as, and slightly deeper than the root ball. Resist the temptation to amend the removed soil. Early root development will be more successful if the surrounding soil contains the same nutrients as the soil beyond the hole. Be sure to measure the root ball against the hole before positioning the plant to ensure proper depth and diameter is achieved.

3.  Loosen the Roots then place the Basjoo Banana plant in the hole.  Before setting your plant, loosen any tangled roots by hand to separate them and encourage rapid growth. Be sure the plant is in an upright position before covering with the removed soil. Make sure the base of the trunk (just above the roots) is no more than 1 inch below the soil level. Gently fill the hole and tamp the soil working around the plant with your feet.

4.  To help retain moisture, apply organic mulch around the base of the tree keeping a slight distance from the trunk.

5.  Water in your banana tree.

Winter care:  Proper care just after your Basjoo experiences its first frost is key to promote healthy growth. After the initial frost, trim back the hardy banana to the ground. Allowing the tree to rot back naturally is not advisable as the rot can spread to the root system. Next, cover the plant area with about 6 inches of mulch. Finally, place and secure a plastic sheet over the mulch, ensuring the mulch stays dry to avoid the possibility of root rot.  Remove the plastic and most of the mulch in the early spring prior to the start of any growth. The tree will begin its quick growth when the ground becomes warm enough.Musa-Basjoo-Container

Watering:  The Basjoo, like other hardy banana trees love moist, well-draining soil. This is imperative to ensure and maintain proper health as wet soil will promote plant and root rot. With the correct soil composition, you’re likely to find yourself watering your Basjoo more often than other plants in your garden.

Fertilization:  Like water, Basjoo requires more fertilization than the typical garden plant in order to supply key nutrients continuously throughout the growing season. A layer of compost at the base of the plant applied every 2 weeks should do the trick. We recommend a 28-8-16 water soluble fertilizer. Look for new leaf growth about every 5-7 days as a guide to proper application. For optimal growth, apply a dry fertilizer 2-3 times each growing season. Make sure to water after application to prevent burning.

Pests:  The main pests to watch for are spider mites. Control these by wiping them off with a damp towel and applying an insecticidal soap.

Tips:

  • Place wire mesh protection around the base of your plant if animals are eating your plants.
  • Protect leaves from shredding by providing adequate shelter from winds.