Sunday, 15 May 2016

HOW TO GROW HARDY BANANAS



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There are some hardy banana plants that can be grown successfully in the UK, albeit with lots of tlc. Although Banana plants are tender, there are some species that can be grown successfully outside in the UK.  However they do require a sheltered spot and some protection during the winter. 


Great plants to grow include the Japanese banana Musa Basjoo and the chinese hardy banana Musa lasicarpa. There are some other varieties of banana that are also often listed as being suitable to being grown in the UK, but although they can grow in the mildest of locations outside during the summer they do require both protection and bringing inside during the winter as they will not tolerate temperatures below 5 degrees. These include Musa sikkimensis and Musa ventriculosa.

Although described as hardy bananas, these tropical plants are much happier in warmer environments of 12 degrees or more. Choose a sheltered, sunny site protected from frost and plant in a well drained soil enriched with organic matter. This will give protection to the leaves too, which become easily shredded in the wind. A south facing border next to a fence or wall is ideal as it will provide protection against the wind and provide a suitable microclimate for your plant. 

In colder areas, or where the soil remains heavy in winter, banana plants are best grown in pots. When growing bananas in pots use a loam-based compost such as John Innes No. 3 and incorporate grit into the soil mix. Water frequently during the spring and summer, feeding weekly with a general purpose liquid feed. Reduce watering in autumn, watering only when the soil is dry during winter. Tender plants should be brought in when temperatures fall below 14ºC (57ºF) and overwintered in a frost-free greenhouse or conservatory.


Hardy banana trees grow rapidly, as much as 12 feet with 6-inch leaves in one season. Once plants are established, water and feed generously to get the best foliage.  Bananas are unlikely to fruit in the UK as this requires a long and sunny growing period of up to 15 months and temperatures above 15°C (60ºF) to fruit.

Bananas require protection from the the frost during the winter.  In october, or earlier if danger of frost, apply a thick layer of mulch to protect the crown in autumn and protect the foliage with a blanket of fleece or straw.

Cold hardy bananas
How to overwinter banana plants
How to grow hardy bananas