Goodbye for now bananas

With a freeze expected last night I spent the last hour of yesterday's daylight digging up my tropical bananas. When I first started gardening I shunned these plants as I didn't like their ratty, shredded-leaf look.


Now I have several varieties, and really appreciate what their big leaves add to the garden, especially as contrast to the small-leaved bamboos you see everywhere you look in my yard.

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So I always wait until the last minute to dig them up -- their removal is the sign that gardening season is finally over and I won't see any big leaves for months.


This clump didn't get a big as I had hoped it would this year, but ended up being just the right scale.

The Ensete in the front garden is too big to be very attractive anymore:


I like them more when they're small and leafy, but I'm committed to this one now, and want to see how big it can get. It's not ugly, just not as nice as when it was a small, bushy plant:



The Musa basjoo is cold-hardy with a thick layer of mulch so I won't worry about it yet:


The others though...



Off with the leaves!  (Except for the one leaf that's just emerging from each pseudostem's tip.)


This clump had the remnants of last year's parent plants (which rotted over the winter) in the center, so I had to chop it in half -- it would be much too big to lift out if left intact.


That might be a problem (potentially leading to rot) but I'm not going to worry about it. I really just need one of these to make it through the winter.


Then it's just a matter of finding space in the garage for them. It stays in the 40's F all winter in here, which is perfect for dormancy. There always looks like there's plenty of space in here, but it fills up quickly.



I'm missing the big leaves already.


(I don't think it actually got to freezing last night, but tonight is almost guaranteed, with a low of 27ºF/-3ºC forecast.)

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Steve Lau  – (October 24, 2013 at 10:05 AM)  

Is your ensete in the shade?

It looks like that may have caused it to stretch out. How much is yours weighing in at?

Gerhard Bock (Bamboo, Succulents and More)  – (October 24, 2013 at 10:26 AM)  

Your bananas are impressive. I was never able to get them to grow that big because water is such a scarce commodity around here and I'm trying to be as miserly as I can.

BTW, I love your 'Ensete'. I don't think it's too big.

Alan  – (October 24, 2013 at 12:33 PM)  

Steve: it's been in what I'd call partial sun for the last 2 years. I believe it's 4 years old now. You said you had a neighbor that has some large, older plants -- do they look like this?

Steve Lau  – (October 24, 2013 at 4:45 PM)  

My neighbor's bananas are almost in full sun and now exceed 1ft in diameter with far more leaves. They are kind of tall like yours, but he cuts off the lower leaves, and I think his must be at least 3 years or older. He simply moves it into his heated greenhouse for the winter which is a really easy way to over-winter them. It must be tough hauling these things around though.

I've seen ensete maurelii in a gardening center greenhouse which had to have been in the 20-25ft range and almost 2ft in diameter so these things have an enormous size potential. I bet they must need a fork lift to get it around in its giant 150 gallon pot.

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