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

* 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

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