The Q&A Archives: Growing Banana Trees

Question: Every year around the cold season our banana trees die or we'll dig them up and store them in a warm place. This year we now have 5 trees. Question is how do we keep them in the ground in the winter time so during the hot season they'll grow bigger than the year before? We've seen banana trees in other yards that are 10-15 feet high. How can we get ours to grow that high?

Answer: There are many varieties of Musa paradisiaca, the banana tree. The roots are hardy on these tree-like tropicals, but the leaves and trunk can die down to the ground in cold winter weather. Established plants will regrow new tops in the spring after frost has wiped them out. The key here is that it takes 2-3 years for the roots to establish themselves. I'd recommend against planting them in the ground now - they may suffer transplant shock and not be ready for cold weather. If you can take yours in again this year to protect them, you can plant them in a permanent place in the garden next spring. Then, if the weather cooperates, your trees will become established in another year and should be able to rebound if the winter weather freezes them back. Being in the ground in the very early spring will give the trees a jump-start on their growth spurt. Mature Musa's attain a height of about 20'.

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