Bananas in zone 8a

Anyone growing bananas in colder zones? My banana finally flowered! I was really surprised considering how short it is, and I thought a really late cold snap killed the flower. I am wondering how these are going to develop without leaves? Can bananas grow leaves as they fruit?

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I’d be amazed if that shoot grows any leaves. Without leaves I doubt that the fruit will develop very far.

It would have to sprout another shoot to have leaves.

That’s what I figured, the late frost we got killed the leave that was emerging just before the flower.

The only way you’re going to pull that off is to build a cage around it and covered with plastic and a heat lamp as the temperatures dipped down.

Which part of Virginia are you located at?

I am close to VB. Why would I need a heat lamp?

Gotcha, I’m just above you!

In order to get bananas!

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Awesome!

This is a very successful way to do it in 7b from this link: Banana Trees - Apeeling Plants for the Garden

Procedure for overwintering banana trees in the ground is as follows:

  1. Once freezing temperatures have caused the leaves to turn brown and collapse, cut off the top of the plant, leaving 3-4’ of pseudostem remaining. It is okay to leave the brown leaves on the plant since they will provide additional insulation.

  2. Construct a cage around the trunk using rebar and concrete reinforcing wire (this is a sturdier material than chicken wire). Drive the rebar into the ground 2’ from the outermost pseudostem to create supports for the wire. Two or three should be sufficient. Use the concrete reinforcing wire to wrap the stakes, forming a cage. Secure the wire to the stakes with zip ties or string.

  3. Fill the cage with shredded leaves. It is important to shred the leaves since whole leaves can hold water, clump together and cause the plant to rot. We rake the leaves onto a lawn area and use a mulching mower to bag them for use. Most municipalities which collect leaves run them though a large shredder, and the result is usually perfect for this purpose. Do not use pine straw, hay, or grass clippings since they don’t provide the proper amount of insulation and aeration. Without this protection, the plant would die to the ground and need to begin from the soil line in spring.

  4. When new banana leavesstart to emerge in spring, remove the cage and spread the shredded leaf mixture around the base of the plant where it will continue to decompose and provide rich compost for your banana plant.

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Here is the plant after a couple of months. It never produced any leaves, but it did make pups and formed some fruit.

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It’s looking great! Congratulations! :+1:

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In bananas, cental command is in the underground corm. It could very well be that the pup is feeding the bananas in the older stem. It’s all one organism. I congratulate you for being patient!!

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Looks amazing!

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My “Helen’s hybrid” banana that was killed to the ground in the 16°F freeze this winter is finally getting going here in 8b Seattle:

If the corm can survive that, seems like it’ll be ok here long-term, and may even fruit if we can string together a couple milder winters in a row.

You can see the original pseudostem stump to the left of that new pup.

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I sure hope so! I really hope I can get these to ripen. They have already far exceeded my expectations given that freeze in March.

Thanks I’m lucky they formed! I’ll update as these go along.

As long as the main stem is covered and the base is mulched you should be fine. I also had a 16 degree freeze last winter. I used a layer of bubble wrap and duck tape and it held up fine.

I actually found an old pic I took last fall.

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Once the flower ascends and becomes visible - that is the meristem - there will be no more leaves.

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