PlantsBananas→Japanese Hardy Banana (Musa basjoo)

Common names:
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General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 5a -28.9 °C (-20 °F) to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 10b
Plant Height: 12-15 feet
Plant Spread: 10-12 feet
Leaves: Unusual foliage color
Other: Large, paddle shaped leaves, 2 feet wide and 6 feet long.
Fruit: Showy
Other: 2 to 4 inch long, yellowish-green, inedible fruits contain numerous black seeds. Plant can be overwintered in a pot and kept growing, which is the only way it can be made to fruit in northern regions as it requires 12-24 months of warmth to bloom.
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Yellow
Other: Cream to yellow
Bloom Size: Over 12"
Flower Time: Other: Seasonal. Bloom can occur in any season depending on size of plant and climate.
Underground structures: Rhizome
Resistances: Humidity tolerant
Propagation: Other methods: Division
Stolons and runners
Containers: Suitable in 3 gallon or larger
Needs excellent drainage in pots
Miscellaneous: Monoecious

Several pups have been removed from this 3 year old clump.

Summer Stars of My 'Dog Days' GardenSummer Stars of My 'Dog Days' Garden
By SongofJoy on August 31, 2011

The move from California to Tennessee brought with it a change in plant selections and gardening techniques. What grows well there frequently does not grow here at all. The most prominent plant diseases and pests in the two locations can also differ quite markedly. Starting over has been a real challenge.

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Posted by agreenerside (Quantico maryland - Zone 7b) on Sep 3, 2015 7:53 PM

Survived the coldest recent winter of -3f with only a sheet of plastic over it, which in reality does not thermally insulate. It only allows it to leaf out earlier and sheds water away from the crown, which is beneficial so that it will not rot.
They love nitrogen and "moisture" to go along with it. I gave copious amounts of blood in midsummer and was rewarded with rich green leaves. Urea is very efficient also. The only time I've seen these struggle is when they dry out or lack nitrogen.
As their crown rises to the surface each growing season, there is more winter exposure to surface freezing on the mother plant, which may result in only pups arising in spring.
Makes a great sacrifice to the first frost and may even put out another new leaf before first freeze

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Posted by eclayne (Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA - Zone 6a) on Nov 22, 2011 9:15 PM

To overwinter, in early to mid November I cut the pseudo-stem(s) to about 1' above the ground. Create a mulch pile of straw to about 2'H x 6'W. Place a plastic sheet over the pile large enough (about 3x3') to cover the p-stems, then add leaves and more straw to about 3'H. I'll add more straw a few weeks later after the pile has settled. A finished pile 3'H x 6' diameter worked for me. This may be overkill for my zone.

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Posted by JRsbugs (Near Lincoln UK) on Dec 1, 2011 4:35 PM

Basjoo gave up the ghost for me in the UK, even kept inside over winter! After a couple of cold summers with temperatures mostly between 14-16C I guess it didn't have the will to grow and flourish, bananas stop growing at those temperatures.

I still have a lone Musa sikkimensis I grew from seed which is hanging on, it does better although it's not that great, I bring it inside over winter now I'm down to one. If we have warmth in spring that does help if put in a greenhouse but springs of the last few years have been lousy too, at times 4-6C in April. Spring often doesn't roll on until three weeks into April, then it can be sporadic.

USDA zones don't reflect the growing season or maximum temperatures, they only reflect the expected minimum which puts us in zone 8a although every 20 to 30 years we get an exceptionally cold winter as we had last winter with temps. at or below freezing for 7 weeks and down to -17C at night.

The tall and short of it is you need a good long season and more warmth than we get for any Musa to grow and survive.

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Posted by lauribob (N Central Wash. - the dry side - Zone 5b) on Jul 14, 2019 11:26 AM

I was able to successfully overwinter this plant for a few years in my zone 5 garden with heavy mulching and a couple feet of snow to insulate it. The problem I had was that it's just too windy here for it, even on the lee side of the house. The leaves always ended up getting shredded and looking awful. It never attained any height to speak of in our short growing season. I decided it wasn't worth it after a few seasons.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Beautiful clump by eclayne Oct 13, 2011 4:20 PM 7
I need some tips on where to plant my Banana trees. by makap Oct 9, 2013 11:17 AM 3
size by jmorth Nov 9, 2013 10:01 PM 3
Elephant ears or bird of paradise? by Aferri710 May 15, 2021 1:53 PM 19
What type of banana tree is this??? by LibbyDrum Mar 27, 2021 6:16 PM 2
Musa Banana Tree offset - can I propagate? by elliecng Mar 6, 2021 3:43 AM 10
Potted patio Hardy Banana in zone 6b? by SunnySoCal Jan 30, 2021 4:15 PM 21
Palms or Yucca trees on the Jersey shore by gwuenn Jan 24, 2021 11:18 AM 3
Moving to Tallahassee by Seacrest950 Oct 24, 2020 7:43 AM 24
Growing Aroids in 8b? by cupbeep Aug 11, 2020 10:24 AM 5
Help with my indoor musa basjoo banana tree! by Jmasestro Dec 27, 2019 10:09 AM 8
Should I winterize my banana trees this winter (NC)? by WalterYensid Feb 1, 2021 10:07 AM 5
Banana Tree Pruning by mikaylagardens Jul 2, 2019 10:19 AM 3

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