Overwintering: Musa basjoo

Continuing the documentation of my overwintering efforts, today it's my hardy banana, Musa basjoo.


This is one of the easiest plants to overwinter for me, as although it's not hardy enough to just leave alone all winter, I don't have to bring it into the garage. So no digging or heavy lifting required!

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The image above was taken just before our first freeze. I didn't take a photo of the freeze-damaged leaves because it was getting quite dark when I cut them off, so you only get to see the "after" photo:


Cutting the tops of these plants off is one of my favorite activities, because I get to use my machete! One swing and they're off -- sometimes I can get two or more with a single shot. Fun!

Step two is to put up the fencing around the pseudostems. (Note that banana plants are not trees so don't have trunks or even true stems. The pseudostem is made from the bases of the leaves.)


I actually had to add a bit more fencing this year, as my plant seems to have gotten wider.

Step three is the hardest: rake leaves and pile them into the fencing, burying the pseudostems. I pack the leaves down a bit as they'll do this over the winter anyway.


Technically I don't need to pile the leaves up this high, but the more of the pseudostem I can protect, the bigger the plant next year -- or at least that's what I think. It may be that I only need to protect the base of the plant and the underground corm.


And that's it -- this plant is protected for the winter!

Why can't they all be this easy?

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Steve Lau  – (November 14, 2013 at 8:48 AM)  

I just form fit a 55 gallon barrel over mine, but yours is bigger so it needs more room eh.

Gerhard Bock (Bamboo, Succulents and More)  – (November 14, 2013 at 10:21 AM)  

I can't believe how large your clump has gotten. Very beautiful! So you don't try to waterproof the leaf-filled cage like some people do?

Alan  – (November 14, 2013 at 1:06 PM)  

Steve: the barrel sounds like a good solution, but I suspect I'd find other uses for them over the summer (like fill them with rainwater) and then I'd need to find another solution for the basjoo anyway. :)

Gerhard: I expect they would have been even bigger if we had gotten any rain this summer. Waterproof them? No, never thought of it. At the Missouri Botanical Garden I read that they just dump 2' of leaves on theirs and they come back strong every year. Are you trying to make more work for me? ;P

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