Minimally edible cold hardy bananas?


I’ve read that some cultivars of plants in the banana family are both cold hardy with minimal or no protection in zone 7 and can produce fruit in a zone 7 growing season. I’ve even seen little bananas – I think they were pink – on a “tree” planted outside in Winston-Salem (in a very protected space at the county Cooperative Extension office). Apart from the seeds is the fruit of any such cultivars edible, though, even if it’s full of inedible seeds? Is the flesh ever any good (apart from the seeds)? Are there any such bananas that I could grow in zone 7 North Carolina and process to remove the seeds and for banana pulp?


@JoeReal has a list of the most cold hardy bananas on GW
Hopefully he will comment here.
I have dreams of laying the trunks down and protecting over winter.
I have, namwa, California gold , sweetheart , hoping to try laying down this year, or maybe bring trunk into garage .?
Probably just wishful thinking ? Or a lot of work for …?
Outside basjo is the only one that survives here. So far…
A spectacular plant ,not edible .


It doesn’t even fruit in colder climates like ours, does it?

I wish I knew what’s growing in Winston-Salem. I saw the fruit on it, whatever it is, so I know it fruits in this area. I was told they weren’t edible, but I wonder if they aren’t somehow minimally edible. I should be able to ask and find out what they are and report back. I wonder if it could be musa velutina, of which says, “Delicious sweet small fruits. There are many seeds, but if you want to work and scrape the flesh off the seeds with your teeth as you eat it, you’ll have yourself one tasty treat.” One nursery selling them (and not claiming any edible use) says they’re zone 7b hardy.


Basjo has not fruited here.
I did have one plant flower in late fall.
At 18ft.
Here is some good reading;

May be best to buy a plane ticket south ?


@Richard has a list on the above link.
Maybe he will comment here.


In my experience Joe Real’s cold hardy list is great for sellers but not so great for buyers.

Here’s a document that answers many questions about growing bananas – indoors and outside:


Thanks Richard .


I’m in zone 9B and I can barely grow edible fruit. Good luck in zone 7. :roll_eyes:


I’m in zone 9a and produce tons of fruit.


Calron, you’re talking about real bananas, though, right? I’m wondering about bananas that most people wouldn’t even consider edible like Musa velutina and/or whatever I’ve seen fruiting in Winston-Salem.


Yeah Florida 9A and California zone 9 two TOTALLY different climates, As I’m sure you’re aware.


Which of you is in Florida and which in California? And what makes a zone 9 in one better for bananas than a zone 9 in the other? I’m guessing Florida has more summer heat which bananas like?


I know there are many cultivars that will do just fine. The problem becomes enough growing hours in your season to fruit. Here in 9B California why it’s still a challenge is although we don’t get cold enough to kill the pstem we certainly get enough frosty mornings to take the leaves out by late Nov. So to bring a banana to full edible fruit it takes 16-18 months. In a cooler climate on the East Coast it can get cold enough to completely kill the pstem on most edible varieties, unless you dig up your plants and store in a cool dark place over the real winter months.


I’m in California, and we can actually be hotter for a good chunk of summer. The big difference is they have a much longer sustained heat vs. our cool winters. And their overnight temps are much warmer. But a fun fact is most Florida has had MUCH colder all time winter lows then us on the West Coast, due to the continental air which can invade far south during the winter. An issue we seldom have to worry about on the West coast.


[quote=“Calron, post:13, topic:20555”]
(“unless you dig up your plants and store in a cool dark place over the real winter months.”)
Has anyone done this and got fruit?
Can anyone give a report,?
I feel this would be my best chance of ever getting fruit,
That is: grow outside in ground for the season, cut off leafs , dig root ball, put in frost free area over winter, replant
Or ; lay trunk down in fall , mulch 2 ft or so.

Has anyone here tried this .


I haven’t personally tried it, and I’d definitely like to hear from anyone that has, but I’ve heard pretty credible reports of at least limited success with that method. I took an apple grafting course at a community college that was taught by a local commercial orchardist who another small-scale commercial fruit growing friend of mine told me had fruited bananas like that (in the Brushy Mountains where they both live.)


Yes, you can meet several of them who do this every Fall and Spring at


As Richard says above, plenty of folks even in PA getting edible fruit this way.


I have a ten year plus giant clump of Musa basjoo growing outdoors with only heavy mulch for protection in Zone 6b Southern Pennsylvania. Generally it does not flower, but, two years it has flowered and even matured a few fruit. Both of the flowering years were after extremely cold winters that nearly killed the bananas- I suspect that stress initiated the flowering response. The fruits were very small, dry, astringent, full of seeds, and generally awful. It’s very unusual for them to flower and fruit but it can happen.


Richard Frost, Banana research,

Thats just to perfect.