Tropicals forum: Musa Basjoo

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Name: Aaron
New York (Zone 7a)
Aroids
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Araceae
Apr 29, 2018 12:28 PM CST
Hi all! Just got two small musa basjoo banana plants shipped to my house (they arrived sort of mangled but definitely alive).

Does anyone have information about how quickly these grow and when to plant them (the low temperature for tonight is 41° but this next week we will see temperatures in the 80's ... and then next Saturday we will have 40's again). Is there any winning in the state of New York? Anyway, would it be wise to plant them outdoors sometime tomorrow or should I give it a week or two? I have a reasonably sunny window in the house that I could temporarily use for these juveniles!

Thanks any info is appreciated. Green Grin!



Name: Alice
St. Johns, FL (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Apr 29, 2018 1:51 PM CST
Once established could easily handle those temperatures but, they have probably just come out of a warm greenhouse and their growth could be stunted if they were shocked by cold right now. I would wait until the soil warms up before planting them. They are such fast growers, you won't notice any lag in their development.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Profess plant consultant & educator
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WillC
Apr 29, 2018 2:53 PM CST
Aaron - Don't even think about moving them outdoors just yet. Even as temps rise over the next few days here, they will not stay that way this early. In addition, your plants need time to adapt to their new home. Keep them in those pots and on a sunny windowsill where it stays warm. Water them thoroughly as soon as the surface of the soil feels dry.

When night temps are consistently above 60 degrees (sometime in June), you can consider moving them outside, but into light shade. If they are exposed to direct OUTDOOR sun, they will burn up. And don't try to plant them in the ground outside.

Be patent with your new plants.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Alice
St. Johns, FL (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Master Gardener: Florida Organic Gardener Enjoys or suffers hot summers Aquaponics Hibiscus
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ardesia
Apr 29, 2018 4:24 PM CST
Will do people really keep basjoo's in containers? They get so big, I can't imagine that. I would suggest something like a M. velutina, that stays modest in size for a container. My son has M. basjoo's beside his front door and they tower up to the second story of his home. They have been in the ground for many years, he lives in 6a. In colder zones you can always dig up the trunks in the fall, they are very shallow rooted, and store the them in a basement or garage where they will not freeze. You trim all the roots off and and only store the corm and lower part of the trunk, maybe 3'. Come spring pot them up and as soon the soil warms up you will be able to get them back in the ground.

We used to have a Musa research farm nearby and every fall they would dig the corms and sell the extras like I described above, bare corm with some trunk. Some varieties could be planted right away here, other more tender varieties needed to be protected for the winter and planted in the spring.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Aaron
New York (Zone 7a)
Aroids
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Araceae
Apr 29, 2018 7:41 PM CST
Thank you all!!!

@WillC Your advice is always appreciated. I will keep the juveniles in my windowsill until (hopefully mid May but like you said I might have to wait until June). You recommend light shade? So do you think that putting it under a very large oak tree might do? (Also I do have a large pot to put it in).
But that's interesting, @ardesia, I also thought it might be better to have them in the ground (for winter mostly)...but maybe I should bring them indoors when they become dormant.

By the way just as a fun aside, I was looking for musa velutina plants but could not find any live plants so I bought 100 musa velutina seeds. So I'm going to be getting very experimental! nodding
Name: Alice
St. Johns, FL (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Master Gardener: Florida Organic Gardener Enjoys or suffers hot summers Aquaponics Hibiscus
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ardesia
Apr 30, 2018 4:46 AM CST
Velutinas grow easily from seed, you should have no trouble experimenting with them.
I didn't realize you are in zone 7, you probably would not have to dig up a basjoo - at least until they spread too far Hilarious! , they can be thugs.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Aaron
New York (Zone 7a)
Aroids
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Araceae
Apr 30, 2018 7:06 AM CST
Very good to know! Thank you @ardesia

One last thing...are bananas from Musa Basjoo edible??? Drooling
Name: Alice
St. Johns, FL (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Master Gardener: Florida Organic Gardener Enjoys or suffers hot summers Aquaponics Hibiscus
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ardesia
Apr 30, 2018 10:34 AM CST
Sadly, no. They are not toxic or anything it is just that they are filled with hard, break you teeth hard, seeds. The flowers are an dusky gold color.

I have had good luck ordering from this place.
http://www.going-bananas.com/b...
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Profess plant consultant & educator
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WillC
Apr 30, 2018 3:11 PM CST
Alice - Are you saying that Basjoo are winter hardy in 7b where temps can drop below zero dgrees F.?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Alice
St. Johns, FL (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Master Gardener: Florida Organic Gardener Enjoys or suffers hot summers Aquaponics Hibiscus
Orchids Fruit Growers Tropicals Hummingbirder Garden Photography Container Gardener
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ardesia
Apr 30, 2018 3:31 PM CST
My son lives north of Asheville in the NC mountains and these things are thugs there. Other than cutting down the trunks before they freeze, he does absolutely nothing to protect them in the winter either. Normal leaf fall will cover them (because he is not into raking) but he does not add anything special. He is in zone 6.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Plays in the sandbox Greenhouse
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plantmanager
Apr 30, 2018 3:51 PM CST
That is amazing! We are 7B and I can't imagine any hardy banana surviving here. I might have to try it for kicks. I certainly love their look for summer. I have a fountain I like to surround with tropicals.
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Name: Alice
St. Johns, FL (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Master Gardener: Florida Organic Gardener Enjoys or suffers hot summers Aquaponics Hibiscus
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ardesia
Apr 30, 2018 5:37 PM CST
You would not see the fountain if you planted basjoos, they get huge.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Plays in the sandbox Greenhouse
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plantmanager
Apr 30, 2018 6:23 PM CST
Maybe I could plant them quite a distance away! I'm going to give them a try.
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smckenn1
Apr 6, 2019 7:24 PM CST
WillC said:Alice - Are you saying that Basjoo are winter hardy in 7b where temps can drop below zero dgrees F.?


Yes, Musa Basjoo will easily survive winters in Zone 7 (Some have success in Zone 5 with ample winter mulching) and will tolerate low but above freezing temps. They can be planted after May 1st in 7b. When the first frost hits, cut them down to ground level, mulch liberally and cover with plastic. Around April 15th they can be uncovered. I have had them growing on Long Island for 4 years. They add a nice fast growing taste of the tropics. These pictures are my strand last October.
Thumb of 2019-04-07/smckenn1/aea652

Name: Harry T.
South Jersey (Zone 7b)
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KeyWestHarry
May 14, 2019 11:24 AM CST
Hello all. I'm not actually from Key West - I'm in South Jersey (the 51st state), but I get down to the Keys as often as possible. My dream was to retire down there, but with the birth of my granddaughter, I realized my wife would never leave here. I'm gonna die in New Jersey Sad
Maybe I'll go without her! Send her a post card now and then - LOL!

I love the look of the tropics. A couple years ago I was up in North Jersey on the job. I had to interview an Indian fellow up there. He had a half dozen eight foot banana plants in front of his house - in Jersey City! After the interview I asked about the plants. Musa Basjoo. He gave me the rundown on them.

I bought four plants in the spring of 2018. They did well over the summer. I followed directions for Zone 7 over-winter care and all four survived. Three have new growth from the center of the corm, but all four have a bunch of suckers coming up (four or five suckers each).

My question is: Do I allow these suckers to continue to grow, or are they depriving the main plant of nutrients and should be cut off? If they are to be cut off, should I wait till they are bigger and could possibly be planted to grow on their own? I don't know which are sword suckers and which are water suckers. How does one tell?

I'd appreciate any advice on this.
Name: Alice
St. Johns, FL (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Master Gardener: Florida Organic Gardener Enjoys or suffers hot summers Aquaponics Hibiscus
Orchids Fruit Growers Tropicals Hummingbirder Garden Photography Container Gardener
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ardesia
May 14, 2019 11:58 AM CST
Welcome! , Musa Basjoo do not produce edible bananas and IMO, the flowers are pretty but nothing to write home about. In your climate, especially this year, you may not even get any flowers as it takes a long, warm. growing period. I think the tropical look you are seeking will be fuller if you just leave the pups. Also, if your main corm does happen to bloom it will then die off leaving an empty spot. Better to have the side corms there to fill in. I grew basjoos for years and never pruned off any of the offsets.

In warmer climates, for those bananas that produce fruit you would divide and only leave only two pups with the mom plant. It was described to me, by a banana researcher, as a mother, daughter and grandaughter or plants of first year, second year and current year growth.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Harry T.
South Jersey (Zone 7b)
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KeyWestHarry
May 14, 2019 12:30 PM CST
Thanks for the welcome.

I was aware of the inedible fruit. I'm not concerned. I just like the look of the plants, those giant leaves! They got to be about five feet high by the end of last summer. I'll leave them then and see what we get.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Plays in the sandbox Greenhouse
Sempervivums Bromeliad Adeniums Morning Glories Avid Green Pages Reviewer Brugmansias
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plantmanager
May 14, 2019 1:01 PM CST
Good luck with them! You can also plant Colocasias, Alocasias, and Caladiums if you want big leaves and lots of color.
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Name: Alice
St. Johns, FL (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Master Gardener: Florida Organic Gardener Enjoys or suffers hot summers Aquaponics Hibiscus
Orchids Fruit Growers Tropicals Hummingbirder Garden Photography Container Gardener
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ardesia
May 14, 2019 2:46 PM CST
Don't forget Cordylines (Ti's), they are tender but in the fall you can take a cutting and root it over the winter indoors = instant plant for next year.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Plays in the sandbox Greenhouse
Sempervivums Bromeliad Adeniums Morning Glories Avid Green Pages Reviewer Brugmansias
Image
plantmanager
May 14, 2019 3:35 PM CST
Good thought, Alice. I love Ti plants.
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!

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