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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Uncovering the Musa basjoo

I have 3 musa bajoo, all planted at least 1ft deeper than soil level so that the corms are protected from the winters, and additional covers were added to keep them alive since they are the most vulnerable for their first winter. To start out, here's a couple pictures of them last fall before I over-wintered them.

Here are some much earlier pictures of these guys back from spring of 2010.

Here are a few pups just getting started in the fall of 2010.

Now when I over-wintered them, I first cut them down to about 20 inches, and then wrapped them up in an over-wintering blanket several times, then put a plastic bag over that. I then put leaves all around the base, added 3 leaf bags to surround each banana plant, and one partially filled bag on top. I shoved leaves in the cracks to add more insulation. I could have added another tarp over the whole thing, but that didn't seem necessary. Here's how it looked.

Now when I uncovered them, one of them was melted completely down to the ground while the other one looked like it was untouched by the winter. The only reason the other one died back was likely because it started to grow late in November with a late warmup which caused it to puncture the plastic bag however that one is still coming back. All the pups on both plants look pretty much un-flawed as they had much less mass above ground.

Here's the results from the top-killed one. The corm obviously survived since it has started to rise since I cut it off.

Here's the results from the one that lived and these pictures are taken each 2 days apart to show how quickly they rebound once warmer temperatures set in. By July, I expect both musa basjoo plants to surpass their largest size last year which was 4-5ft.


  1. I need to my hands on one of those. I think I will be able to get one this year from a local source.

  2. That is awesome, considering how far north you live! Keep the updates coming.

    :: Bamboo and More ::

  3. I'll definitely keep up on especially the bigger plants like the bananas. BTW the top-killed one rose about 2 inches since that picture was taken so the corm is definitely alive right below the surface.

    As far as buying them, you don't need anything big because I started out last spring with little 2-inch pot plug plants that I moved to 1 gallon pots before up-potting them, and planting them in the ground. Here's how they looked when I bought them.

  4. Ok, I did like you and burried them deep. Though two of last years pups survived, I am putting two more big pups in. They are three feet and four feet. One is 18 inches to the top of the corm, and the other is almost two feet to the top of the corm. I do not plan on protecting them at all.
    Like you my first basjoo baby came in a little two inch pot with one little curled leaf.
    Amazing plants!

  5. I probably didn't have to protect mine, but protecting them successfully saves more of the psuedo-stem, giving a faster start, and ultimately a bigger plant for the season.

    If you have it that deep, and you are in a warmer climate, they should be fine. Still just putting a leaf bag over the plant for the winter, or a bucket filled with leaves can save a little more of especially the main stem, but the one that died to the ground is still coming back for me.

  6. Just to update, I uncovered my basjoos a week ago when we started getting highs in the 60s and for both of them, I was able to protect the entire 30 inches of psuedo-stem so they will have a huge head start.

    The leaves are also starting to come out which is not good if we get another freeze which I hope we can avoid with this warm spring.