Sunday, January 23, 2011

Growing Bananas in the North?!!

Musa
A genus of close to 40 species of suckering, evergreen perennials.
They prefer full sun on moist, fertile, humus-rich, well drained soil on a site protected from excessive wind that can tear the leaves. Fertilize and water frequently during the growing season.
Propagation from division of suckers and seed sown during spring.

* photos of unknown internet source




* historical archive photo


Musa acuminata
Also called Musa cavendishii. It is a large, suckering Banana, reaching a maximum height of 25 feet, that is native to far southern China, Southeast Asia and the northern part of Queensland, Australia. Some records include: first year - 8 feet.
The paddle-shaped leaves, up to 10 feet x 28 inches ( rarely as much as 19 feet x 28 inches ), are mid green.
The pendant, white to yellow pear-shaped flowers are borne on long clusters.
They are followed by yellow, edible fruits, up to 8 inches in length.
Hardy zones 9 to 11

'Dwarf Cavendish'
Smaller growing, reaching a maximum height of 10 ( rarely over 6 ) feet. The yellow flowers are backed by purple bracts.

'Mysore'
Tall growing producing great tasting fruits which are great for desserts.
Hardy zones 9 to 11 ( also zones 6 to 8 as a perennial however not fruiting ).

'Orinoco'
Fruits have flesh that is tinged pink. Hardy zones 9 to 11 ( also zones 6 to 8 as a perennial however not fruiting ).

'Rajapuri'
Smaller and hardy north to zone 8 ( even zone 7 if protected ).
Some records include: largest on record - 8 x 16 feet.

Musa balbisiana ( Wild Banana )
A very majestic Banana, reaching a maximum height of 25 feet with diameter of 1 foot, that is native from India to southern China and Japan, south to New Guinea and the Phillipines.
The leaves, up to 10 x 3 feet in size, are mid-green.
The flowers are purple.
They are followed by pale yellow fruits, up to 5 x 1.6 inches in size.
Hardy zones 9 to 12

Musa banksii ( Maroon Stemmed Banana )
A clump-forming Banana reaching a maximum height of 22 feet, that is native to Queensland Province of Australia, New Guinea and Samoa.
The huge leathery leaves, up to 12 x 2.6 feet in size, are deep green.
The flowers with large overlapping, reddish bracts are borne on pendulous spikes.
They are followed by yellow, cylindrical fruits, up to 5.5 x 1 inches in size, that are borne on stalks, up to 2.5 inches in length.
Hardy zones 10 to 12

Musa basjoo ( Japanese Banana )
A fast growing, very large perennial, reaching up to 20 ( rarely over 12 ) feet, that is native to the Ryukyu Islands off the south coast of Japan.
It grows to 25 feet and produces a small non edible fruit. It is an excellent landscape plant and provides an instant tropical look. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 14 feet; first year - 12 feet ( typically 6 feet from gallon size ); largest on record - 25 x 13 feet with a trunk diameter of 6 inches. The clump spreads by up to 2 feet per year. Extremely fast growing, it can grow up to 2 feet per week during late spring and early summer.
The very large leaves, up to 10 x 2.5 feet in size, are glossy bright green.
The yellow flowers are showy.
The fruit is not edible.
Evergreen to 30 F but stem hardy to 2 F ( preferrably wrapped ) and root hardy as a perennial to zone 6 ( even zones 4 and 5 if mulched ). It's hardy to around 0°F without mulch and has survived -20°F in both the midwest and northeast when mulched with a pile of leaves or pine boughs 2 feet high.

* photo taken on May 16 2011 in Washington, D.C.

* coming up during spring in Maryland

* photos taken on Aug 25 2011 @ Scott Arboretum, Swarthmore College, PA



* photos taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photo taken on Oct 31 2013 in Towson, MD

* photos taken @ Smithsonian Inst, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014

* photo taken on Sep 3 2017 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* historical archive photo


Musa coccinea ( Red Banana )
Reaching up to 10 feet in height, the Red Banana is native to far southern China & Vietnam.
The leaves, up to 7 x 2.6 inches in size, are yellowish-green on both sides.
The red flowers are borne during autumn.
The bananas are up to 5 x 1.6 inches in size.
Hardy zones 10 to 12 in full sun to partial shade.

Musa ensete ( Abyssinian Banana )
Reaches a maximum size of 40 x 27 feet ( typically closer to 25 x 20 feet ).
The massive leaves are up to 20 x 5 feet.
Hardy zones 10 to 12

Musa itenerans ( Yunnan Banana )
An elegant, graceful, very tall Banana reaching up to 35 feet that is native from India to southern Yunnan Province of China; south to Burma & Thailand.
The leaves, up to 10 x 3 feet in size, are mid-green above, bright green beneath.
The fruits, up to 5.5 x 1.5 inches in size, are borne in clusters of up to 18.
It could prove to be hardy in zone 7 or 8 ( possibly even zone 4 as a perennial ). Prefers partial shade.

Musa ornata ( Flowering Banana )
A very ornamental, suckering Banana, reaching a maximum size of 13 x 13 feet, that is native to Bangladesh and Burma. The trunk or pseudostem can reach up to 4 inches in diameter.
The leaves, up to 7 feet x 16 inches in size, are waxy green.
The inflorescences are composed of orange-yellow flowers with bright purple bracts.
They are followed by yellow or pink fruits, up to 3 x 0.7 inches.
Hardy zones 9 to 12

'Standard Lavender'
Reaching up to 12 feet with lavender flowers.

Musa x paradisiaca ( Banana )
A semi-evergreen hybrid between Musa acuminata and M. balbisiana that has become the commerical food production Banana of today. Some records include: largest on record - 45 x 15 feet.
This hybrid has been around in southeast Asia for thousands of years.
The leaves are up to 10 x 2.5 feet.
Hardy zones 10 to 12

'Lady Finger'
Reaches 16 + feet with angled, somewhat short fruits that are very sweet tasting.

'Red'
Tall and vigorous, with red stems. The sweet tasting, curved fruits are red on the outside, cream-orange on the inside.

Musa sikkimensis
A very fast growing, hardy Banana, that in native to Nepal.
Some records include: first year - 9 feet ( New York State ); largest on record - 18 x 10 feet with a trunk diameter of 1.5 feet.
The foliage is bronze at first, turning to very glossy deep green.
The foliage is evergreen to 28 F but the plant is root hardy and can be grown as a MASSIVE perennial as far north as zone 7 ( even 5 & 6 on protected sites with winter mulch ).

'Red Tiger'
Foliage is more intense in color, otherwise similar to species. This is likely the most attractive of all hardy Bananas.

Musa velutina ( Velvet Banana )
An attracitive, large, rhizomatous perennial, reaching a maximum size of 7 x 5 feet with trunks up to 3 inches in diameter. They are great for the landscape as well as patio planters. The Velvet Banana is native to northeast India.
The leaves, up to 3.5 feet x 14 inches, are deep green above, paler beneath. The leaves usually have a red midrib.
The erect, white to pale yellow flowers are backed by red bracts.
The sweet, velvety, pink fruits that follow split when ripe.
Hardy zones 9 to 12 as an evergreen, it is also hardy zones 6 to 8 as a perennial.

Musella lasiocarpa ( Golden Lotus Banana )
Also called Chinese Yellow Banana. An attractive clumping Banana reaching a maximum size of 6 x 9 ( usually 4 x 6 ) feet that is native to the mountains of Yunnan & southern Guizhou Provinces in southern China. The stems can be up to 6 inches in diameter at the base.
The narrowly-elliptical leaves are up to 20 x 8 inches in size. The attractive foliage is blue-green.
The waxy yellow flowers up to 6 inches wide, last up to 6 months.
Hardy to zone 7 with mulch. A great container plant.

* photo taken on October 17 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.


TROPICAL BANANAS

Ensete


* photo taken on 4th of July 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.


* photos taken on Aug 20 2011 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD


* photo taken on Aug 27 2011 @ Scott Arboretum, Swarthmore College, PA

Balloon Flower

Platycodon

Platycodon grandiflorum
A vigorous, long lived ( 20 + years ), deciduous clump forming perennial native to eastern Asia ( eastern Siberia; south to northern China, Korea and Japan ), that can reach a maximum size of 4 x 5 feet. The foliage is often late to appear during spring and it is recommended to mix with bulbs such as Crocuses for more of an all season effect. Balloon Flowers are deep rooted enabling them to tolerate the occasional drought.
The toothed oval leaves, up to 3.2 x 1.6 inches in size, are glossy mid green.
The clustered balloon-like buds open to bright blue, saucer-shaped flowers, up to 3.2 inches across, from early summer to early autumn.
Hardy zones 2 to 8 in full sun to partial shade on most soils as long as it is fertile and well drained. It does not like root disturbance and only very old plants should be divided. Once established, the Balloon Flower is very easy to grow. Cutting non-dwarf plants back by half during very early summer will result in compact, very full plants that are about 1.5 feet shorter at bloom time.

* photo taken on 4th of July 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photo taken on August 3 2010 @ University of Guelph Arboretum, Ontario

* photo taken on Oct 27 2013 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Nov 7 2017 in Columbia, MD

* historic archive photo


'Albus'
Forms a clump reaching a maximum size of 4 x 5 feet with large white flowers, up to 3.5 inches across early to late summer.

* photos taken on Oct 3 2012 in Columbia, MD

* historic archive photo

* historical archive photo


'Astra Blue'
A dwarf form, only reaching a maximum size of 22 inches x 2 feet ( usually under 1.5 feet ) with deep blue flowers, up to 3.5 inches across, early to late summer.
Mix with Crocus and Muscari for edging or at the front of a border.

* photo taken on June 20 2012 in Columbia, MD


'Astra Blue Double'
A dwarf form, only reaching a maximum size of 22 inches x 2 feet ( usually under 1.5 feet ) with double, deep blue flowers, up to 3.5 inches across, early to late summer.
Mix with Crocus and Muscari for edging or at the front of a border.

* photo taken on June 22 2013 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Aug 5 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD


'Astra Pink'
A dwarf form, only reaching a maximum size of 22 inches x 2 feet ( usually under 1.5 feet ) with pale pink, bell shaped flowers, up to 3.5 inches across, early to late summer. Mix with Crocus and Muscari for edging or at the front of a border.

* photo taken on July 15 2013 in Harford Co., MD

* photo taken on June 18 2013 in Columbia, MD


'Blaue Glocke'
Reaches up to 3.3 feet in height with blue flowers.

'Fairy Snow'
A low growing form, reaching a maximum size of 22 inches x 2 feet, with large flowers that are white with blue veins.

'Fuji Blue'
Reaches a maximum size of 40 x 32 inches ( usually under 3 feet ). The sturdy stems bear deep blue flowers, up to 3 inches across, mid to late summer.

* photo taken on Aug 12 2011 in Howard Co., MD

* photo taken on June 10 2013 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photos taken on July 9 2013 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on July 1 2015 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Oct 27 2015 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on June 25 2017 in Columbia, MD


'Fuji Pink'
Reaches a maximum size of 3 x 3 feet ( usually under 2 feet ) with pink flowers, up to 3 inches across, early to late summer.

'Fuji White'
Reaches a maximum size of 40 x 32 inches ( usually under 3 feet ) with pure white flowers, up to 3 inches across, early to late summer.

* photo taken on Aug 12 2011 in Howard Co., MD

* photo taken on Sep 8 in Harford Co., MD

* photos taken on Aug 1 2017 in Columbia, MD


'Hakone Blue'
Reaches a maximum size of 43 x 34 inches, with double flowers, up to 3 inches across, that are blue with some white veining.
The foliage turns to deep purple during autumn.

* photo taken on May 4 2017 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on July 13 2017 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Aug 8 2017 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Nov 7 2017 in Columbia, MD


'Hime Musasaki'
Reaches up to 1.5 feet with large, bluish-violet flowers

'Mariesii'
Reaches up to 2.5 feet with deep blue flowers early to late summer.

* photo taken on Oct 19 2015 in Howard Co., MD

* photo taken on May 28 2017 in Howard Co., MD

* photo taken on June 25 2017 in Howard Co., MD

* photos taken on July 10 2017 in Howard Co., MD

* photo taken on Jul 19 2017 @ Rideau Hall, Ottawa, ON

* photos taken on Aug 8 2017 in Howard Co., MD

* photo taken on Oct 26 2017 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Nov 5 2017 in Columbia, MD


'Misato Purple'
Reaches up to 2 x 2+ feet in size, with large, deep purple flowers, up to 3.5 inches across, borne early to late summer.

'Plenum'
Semi-double light blue flowers.

'Sentimental Blue'
A vigorous but very compact, dwarf form, only reaching a maximum size of 16 x 20 ( rarely over 12 ) inches. It can spread up to 1 foot in just one season.
It bears large, soft blue flowers, up to 3 inches wide, during early summer to early autumn.

* photo taken on Aug 1 2013 in Stratford, Ontario

* photo taken on June 2015 in Harford Co., MD

* photo taken on Aug 1 2016 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Oct 2 2016 in Harford Co., MD

* photos taken on June 28 2017 in Highland, MD

* photo taken on July 13 2017 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Aug 5 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

* photos taken on Nov 3 2017 in Columbia, MD


'Shell Pink'
Reaches up to 2 feet with pink flowers, up to 3.5 inches across, borne mid to late summer.

* photo taken on July 1 2011 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Jul 19 2017 in Ottawa, ON


'Snowflakes'
Semi-double white flowers.