Musa Basjoo and Other Flowering Banana
Even though it is a tropical, gardeners far north as Connecticut can grow
this cold-hardy banana species. The plant is known botanically as Musa
basjoo. The banana gets about 10 feet tall and adds great interest to the
Its cold hardiness makes it possible to grow bananas throughout the
Northeast, allowing gardens to look like tropical a paradise. Though it may
be hard to believe, well-mulched Japanese fiber bananas are known to return
from minus 20 degrees.
The flowers are among the most beautiful and exotic, but don't start
counting on a harvest -- these bananas probably won't bear fruit in the
northeast area Zone 6.
Most gardeners and garden centers do not know about the Japanese fiber
banana yet, but I predict they will soon. We offer over 7 Varieties of Musa
that will thrive in the northeast and they come back stronger every year.
Plant the Japanese fiber banana in the spring after the soil has warmed and
threats of freezing weather has past. Full sun and fertile, well-drained,
organic-rich soil is needed for both vigor and cold hardiness. Amend the
soil if needed with 3 to 4 inches of compost or humus and till to a depth of
8 to 10 inches.
For beds with bananas, add three pounds of a slow release 2-1-2 or 2-1-3
fertilizer per 100 square feet of bed space. Sometimes these formulas are
hard to find. If you can't find this ratio fertilizer, use three pounds of a
12-6-6. Plant the banana at the same depth it is growing in the container.
Bananas are heavy feeders and need light, monthly applications of fertilizer
and plenty of moisture. Keep them well mulched.
Winter Care Once the foliage has been frosted cut them at the very bottom
and mulch over. Wait till spring and remove the mulch on top they should
start popping in a few weeks growing very fast all summer long. Just
remember to keep feeding them throughout the growing season.
Uses for Musa Use the Japanese fiber banana to add coarse-textured foliage
to the perennial or cottage garden, transforming it into the look of the
islands. Plant them around swimming pools, water gardens, and next to the
deck, porch or patio. Grow with other tropical's like elephant ears,
hibiscus and allamandas.You will notice that Japanese fiber banana plants
produce suckers. Divide these suckers to place in other garden locations or
you can give some to me.
The Japanese fiber banana is sold generically and usually comes with a tag
that says Musa basjoo or basjoo. Look also for the yellow Chinese wax banana
Musella lasciocarpa, which is cold hardy throughout zone 6. We also carry a
few Flowering bananas like Musa Velutina, Musa Beccari and Musa Sikkimennis.
Here is a picture of Musa Basjoo in august 2007 at Tucked Away Farms