Ask a Question forum: How/Where to plant a banana tree.

Views: 1538, Replies: 11 » Jump to the end

kmtmimi
May 25, 2015 11:16 AM CST
I am in North Alabama & want to try my hand at a banana tree. What type of soil do I need to add to my sandy soil? What are the light requirements. I have mixed local opinion.
Kentucky 😔 (Zone 6a)
Region: Kentucky Tropicals Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
Plant Identifier
Image
Swayback
May 25, 2015 11:20 AM CST
The first question is what species?

I'd pick one that's known to be hardy in your area!

Almost all banana want very rich, loose, well draining soil. I add tons of rotted compost and I dump the ashes from my grill in the hole before mixing the dirt and planting the tree.



They need lots of sun, for most types, you can't give them too much!
Please tree mail me for trades, I'm ALWAYS actively looking for more new plants, and love to trade!
Kentucky 😔 (Zone 6a)
Region: Kentucky Tropicals Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
Plant Identifier
Image
Swayback
May 25, 2015 12:32 PM CST
Also forgot to mention, wind shreds the leaves, I like the look either way, shredded or not, but if you can provide some shelter from the wind it'll help keep the leaves intact.

Be sure to give it plenty of room!

Even here in Kentucky, I have bananas go from 6" tall in a 6" pot, up to 10-15' is one season, they don't all get so big, but once established, almost all of them grow really REALLY fast!
Please tree mail me for trades, I'm ALWAYS actively looking for more new plants, and love to trade!
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
Image
greene
May 25, 2015 2:26 PM CST
I agree The leaves need protection from the wind.

Where I live (Savannah) most folks locate the banana plants close to a house or other building to have some protection from the wind. Lots of organic material mixed into the native soil; mulch heavily; plenty of sunshine.

My gardening friend here in Savannah plants hers in a slightly wind-sheltered area and has success:


Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Kentucky 😔 (Zone 6a)
Region: Kentucky Tropicals Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
Plant Identifier
Image
Swayback
May 25, 2015 3:05 PM CST
Any idea what banana that is?
Seems like it might be a good one for Alabama too!

I'm pretty sure I've read that the leaves gettin shredded doesn't slow their growth, and I think they claimed it might even speed growth up, was a long time ago that I read it, I'll never find the link.

I'm not sure that's all true but I know mine grew fine after getting absolutely blasted by wind.
They do deal cyclones and hurricanes, so obviously they can tolerate wind.

Shredded leaves really look a lot different that their huge untorn leaves... Some folks really dislike the shredded the look
Please tree mail me for trades, I'm ALWAYS actively looking for more new plants, and love to trade!
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
Image
greene
May 25, 2015 3:46 PM CST
At our house we use the leaves when cooking so we prefer they not be shredded. I think it makes not difference to the plant. Confused

Don't know the variety but it only fruits in some years and not in others.

Try researching Rajapuri/Raja Puri, supposed to survive to zone 8 so may need to be over-wintered indoors; leaves are less likely to shred.

Musa velutina - is an ornamental banana plant that can fruit if you have (I think) 20 good growing weeks availble. The fruit is full of big seeds but is tasty. There is an ATP member living in Florida who occasionally has seeds for this one.

Look up the dwarf type of Orinoco, also "Ice Cream" aka blue Java, and maybe Goldfinger - which is not as sweet as a grocery store banana, but what the heck, it would be free if grown in the back garden.

Georgia has been doing trials to see if they can develop a viable banana industry in the state. Armstrong Atlantic (Savannah) and UGA at Tifton had success for 3 years with Veinte Cohol.

We are a warmer climate here than the OP in northern Alabama, so I would recommend kmtmimi to follow the research going on at Auburn where two of 13 varieties being trialed are showing promise. See this link:

https://shooflyfarmblog.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/auburn-alab...

My best suggestion would be to try to buy a 'dwarf' variety, suitable for a cooler zone, but as insurance keep the banana plant in a large pot and be prepared to bring it indoors to keep it safe during the cold months...unless the grower has a beautifully heated greenhouse, at least until our universities finish their trials and tell us which one or two varieties will do well in our respective zones. Thumbs up Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: Alabama Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Birds Hummingbirder
Butterflies Tropicals Bulbs Lilies Daylilies Garden Procrastinator
Image
Kabby
May 25, 2015 4:48 PM CST
Welcome! @kmtmimi to ATP. It looks like you are in zone 7a if you in NE AL, 7b if you are in NW AL. I'm talking the most extreme northern parts of the state. I am in 8a central AL and I grow Ice Cream banana. The foliage does not survive our winters, but the roots do. No mulch necessary. I too have sandy soil, my banana is located on the south side of the house . Full sun from am to pm. Bananas love water and fertilizer and sun.
This photo was taken last summer, it topped out at 13 ft before winter.

I have grown many other bananas but this is the only winter survivor. Good luck in your adventure! Hurray!
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
Image
purpleinopp
May 26, 2015 6:59 AM CST
IDK what kind I have, but they fall down to the ground at the first frost. I put them on the south side of the house, to shade the wall during the summer but let the light shine on in during winter.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
🍀👒☀🍄🍍🌱🌿🌴🎄👣🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻🌽🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌺🌸🌼🌹🌳🌲
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Kentucky 😔 (Zone 6a)
Region: Kentucky Tropicals Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
Plant Identifier
Image
Swayback
May 26, 2015 10:28 AM CST
There's a bunch of em that'll take some serious cold!
Basjoo and Mekong giant are hardy here with no or little protection... Also musella lasicarpa makes it here with with mulch on top, as will veluntina and mannii
They won't fruit tho, not really.
The only way to really get fruit on a musa outside of zone 9 is to grow the plant to a hefty size in a big pot for the first year, then plant in ground for year 2... It just takes such a long season to even get fruit, much less ripe fruit!
Please tree mail me for trades, I'm ALWAYS actively looking for more new plants, and love to trade!
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener Xeriscape
Image
tarev
May 26, 2015 2:08 PM CST
Bananas love very high humidity, high heat, lots of water and as much full sun as it can get. I really admire the tenacity of North American growers to nurture them in the 4 season weather we have here.

But I have seen them as they grow in my old home country, really towering backyard plants, at times already taken for granted, but that is how they are. Veterans of our torrential rains there even of floodings. Only the very strong winds of typhoon will truly level them down, but they are quick to rebound once temps go very warm again. Our soil there is loam soil, and it just grows so easily. Temperatures there are in the range of 79F at night and up to 108F with humidity factored in during summertime. So that is how bananas typically like it there. If you can duplicate that a bit, then you can probably grow the plant and yield the fruits it has. Otherwise, you may only get the plant growth, no fruits. Definitely not the cold weather plant, it prefers tropical warm conditions.

I guess if you can find some cold hardy varieties and fleece wrap them in winter, it may survive and resume growth again once warmer conditions return.
Kentucky 😔 (Zone 6a)
Region: Kentucky Tropicals Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Cactus and Succulents Garden Ideas: Level 1
Plant Identifier
Image
Swayback
May 26, 2015 5:14 PM CST
Once established M. Basjoo does fine here with no help, just dies back and then spreads more next year...
They can be downright pesky, I think dynamite would be my choice of how to get them out once they take over...
If I were in zone 7/8 I'd choose a different banana, but for folks in the north it's a good reliable choice if you don't want to move them back and forth...

@tarev
Thanks for sharing, I'd love to see them like that!
Please tree mail me for trades, I'm ALWAYS actively looking for more new plants, and love to trade!
Indianapolis (Zone 5b)
Image
Shade
May 30, 2015 11:43 PM CST
I had a Musa Basjoo for about 5-6 years and then we moved. I really want another one. I live in Indiana and it survived winters of 18 below zero although I did mulch it. I gave away pups to several people and one of them never mulched their's and it survived 10 below zero without the mulch. They are very hardy and proliferous.

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ask a Question forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by Whitebeard and is called "variegated impatiens"