Plant of the Month: Bananas!

by

red siam

Many of you may know that the majority of plants displayed at the Flower Show are forced into season at a gem of a place, a garden center and gift shop called Meadowbrook Farm in Abington Township, Pa.

Well, Meadowbrook’s plant-of-the-month for August is bananas, which are fun and easy to care for in a container.

From the wonderful experts at Meadowbrook Farm:

There is even a banana that has proved hardy in Zone 6 (Musa basjoo) if placed in a protected area or kept well mulched. You’ll likely only get fruit from the dwarf varieties (since bananas need a year of frost-free growing to set flowers and fruit).

“Non-edible” fruit is flavorless and seedy, but not toxic. Some popular varieties include:

‘Siam Ruby’ – This beauty has red-and-green-splashed leaves, very colorful. It grows to 10’ and is non-edible.

‘Dwarf Cavendish’ – The edible species can set fruit when under 5’ tall.

‘Rojo’ – Also known as blood banana, this variety has green leaves with red splotches and a solid red underside. It grows from 6 to 8 feet and is non-edible.

 ‘Basjoo’ – The hardy banana! If over-wintered outdoors, ‘basjoo’ will not produce flowers/fruit.

Between 10 to 12’ tall, it is reportedly edible, but grown as ornamental.

‘Maurelli’ – With greenish-bronze leaves and a short deep red trunk, ‘maurelli’ grows to 10’ and is non-edible.

Growing Conditions

Sun: Most tolerate full sun to part shade, although all bananas—and especially younger bananas

—appreciate some protection from harsh afternoon sun.

Temperature: For non-hardy types, keep over 50°F.

Water: Keep moist when growing in summer. Hose the leaves daily, top and bottom, to control spider mites.

Fertilizer: Bananas are heavy feeders, so can use lots of a balanced fertilizer or high-potassium fertilizer. Specialty banana fertilizers can be found online. For liquid fertilizers, feed half-strength at every watering.

Planting: Use a large enough pot, as bananas are very vigorous, and many send out “pups” (baby banana shoots). Protect your banana from winds outdoors, or use a heavy (not plastic) pot since a windy thunderstorm can easily blow them over.

Pests: Spider mites and mealy bug can become a problem, especially in winter.

Overwintering (hardy banana): The goal is the keep the corm from rotting. Cut off leaves after first frost. Build an enclosure around the stem (material doesn’t matter) and fill with dry leaves, straw or other insulating material. Cover with a tarp and secure. Another option is cutting the stem to the ground after frost, cover with at least 12” of insulating material, drape over a tarp, and secure. The first method will lead to a taller plant the following year.

Overwintering (tender banana): If small enough, you can treat it like a houseplant in a sunny window. Otherwise, remove all but the newest leaves and hold dormant by allowing it to dry for a week or so and putting it in a cool, dark place protected from frost. Inspect leaves for pests.

Many Varieties Available at Meadowbrook Farm!

Also enjoy 25% Off All Hardy Trees and Shrubs*

Choose from Roses, Azaleas, Hydrangeas, Rhododendron, Hibiscus, Spiraea, Japanese Maple, Magnolias and more. Planting instructions included with all woody plant purchases.

*Sale does not apply to special orders and pre-orders. Discount taken at time of sale.

 Plus, enjoy summer savings in the gift shop:

 65% off all jewelry

10-30% off garden hats, bags and aprons

PHS Members save 10% on plants year-round!

One Response to “Plant of the Month: Bananas!”

  1. Daron Briere Says:

    I must say this is the second time I have visited your site and Im loving it! I added your site to my rss reader. Cant wait to see more blog posts!

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