We offer three species of banana, both hardy and intended for a cooler climate (down to 20 degrees). You might not get that treasured golden fruit, but you can get lush, attractive foliage. The Musa Basjoo, the Musa Sikkimensis and the Musella Lasioicarpa can both get very large and “tropical”, but you will need to treat them like an annual – perhaps even keeping them potted so you can move them into a protected location when the weather cools. If not, expect them to die back to the ground – they will come back up in the spring.
The Musa basjoo is the hardiest of the bananas, but it takes the warm weather of summer to really show these off. Their leaves come in succession, forming a thick stem up to four feet tall by the Fall. It will flower, finally, in its fifth year, but don’t expect any fruit. Musa sikkimensis is, I think, Musa basjoo’s cuter cousin, what with the vivid red to maroon stripping on display. Musella lasioicarpa is a unique specimen, often called the golden lotus banana because of its bright yellow, cone-shaped heart; it offers a great presentation in a large pot.
Think of bananas as giant perennial herbs, not trees; they are related to the lily and the orchid. No, really think, Jurassic. Typically, the banana has habituated to tropical areas like Central and South America; our bananas are habituated to the Himalayan slopes. In appropriate conditions, bananas are fast growing, but it takes up to 18 months or longer for the banana to complete its growth cycle. They like a full sun placement and love both heat and humidity – as high as 85 degrees. Water and fertilize your banana heavily. Too much wind will tear the plant’s leaves. With winter, banana will go dormant and get ugly – don’t worry, Spring is on its way.
Watch out for and vigorously treat for red mites. You can propagate your banana easily by root or clump division.