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 ).

'Zebrina'
Dwarf in habit, reaching up to 8 feet.
The mid-green foliage is heavily mottled deep red. The foliage is deep red beneath. The stems are also deep red.

'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.

* photos taken on Sep 26 2018 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Nov 1 2018 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on July 19 2020 in Hershey Park, Hershey, MD

* photo taken on Aug 7 2020 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Sep 23 2020 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Oct 11 2020 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Oct 22 2020 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on July 22 2021 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Aug 4 2021 @ U.S. National Arboretum, Washington, DC

* photos taken on Sep 2 2021 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Oct 21 2021 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Sep 19 2022 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Oct 10 2022 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Oct 29 2022 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Nov 14 2022 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Aug 31 2023 in Ellicott City, MD

* 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.

'Mekong Giant'
A very fast growing giant form, reaching up to 30 x 20 feet in 7 years, eventually to 40 x 20 feet.
The leaves are red beneath at first, before later turning green.
The thick trunks are streaked with deep pink to red.
Hardy zones 6 to 9

* patent photo


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 ).

* photo taken on June 7 2024 in Columbia, MD


'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

Ensete maurelii ( Red Abyssinian Banana )
Also called Ensete ventricosum. Reaches up to 40 ( averaging 20 ) feet in its native high mountains of eastern Africa. It grows as an annual, up to 10 feet, in temperate climates of summers are hot and humid enough to its liking.
The thick foliage is deep green with deep red veins. The leaves are up to 20 x 4 ( rarely over 10 x 3 ) feet in size. The stems are also wine red.
The bananas, up to 3 inches in length, are not edible and dry.
Hardy zones 9 to 12 ( it makes a great annual display plant for large containers, esp around a swimming pool ) in full sun. It can be cut to the ground during late fall and containers overwintered in a protected place.

* 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

* photos taken on Oct 5 2018 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Oct 24 2020 in Ellicott City, MD

* photo taken on July 13 2021 @ Hershey Gardens, Hershey, PA