Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Banana Trees in Fall

I don’t actually own a banana plant but I sure see a lot of them in people’s gardens. I am amazed they still look nice in late November. This photo was taken in Woodburn at Al’s Garden Center. It will be interesting to see how it fares without being wrapped & mulched. They are pretty hardy, down to –3F & down to –20F with mulching & protection. Last year, I interviewed Bill at The Portland Classical Chinese Garden on the November 17th 2007 show ( At the PCCG, they want to ensure that the 12-15 ft trunks repel winter damage as that will help to ensure they will bloom & produce fruit. Their banana trees were beautiful this year. The banana bunches were so cute even though they are not edible.
If you are nervous about your banana tree, wrap the trunk with cardboard & burlap & cover the crown with leaves & mulch. Don’t worry about the leaves. In late winter/early spring, just cut off all the old leaves. The tree will sprout new ones. Apply fertilizer once the weather warms up. Use your favorite, general-purpose fertilizer. If the trunk does sustain some winter damage & is mushy, cut back below the damaged part. You don’t have to cut down the whole trunk. The leaves will sprout from the clean-cut healthy tissue.
I’ll put a note in my calendar to report back on the bananas at Al’s & let you know if they get a bunch of bananas.
Take Care,

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