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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Protecting the bananas and some of the other plants for winter

I made a blog about my last year's winter protection of the musa basjoo, but they have grown larger this year so this year I am trying to protect up to 3 feet of the psuedo-stem so that they have a head start onto next year.

First I have the corm itself wrapped up in bubble wrap with wall o water plastic at the bottom for extra protection and that is topped with a couple of trash bags to ensure that the psuedo-stem stays as dry as possible over winter.

I am using left over fencing which is 40 inches high for the outside covering.

After stapling a circle of fencing to the ground, I fill it up very tightly with dried leaves which will serve as more insulation.

Once they are filled up, a few large leaf bags are put over the whole set up in order to hold in heat and keep moisture out.

Since heat can be lost from the top, I added filled leaf bags on top and attached them to the setup making them around 20 inches taller and increasing the insulation.

For less hardy bananas, I will just bring them indoors by a south facing window whenever it gets too cold, and expose them to as much light as possible over the winter to keep the psuedo-stem from elongating and weakening.

I collect hundreds of leaf bags for all purposes. On some of the smaller bamboos, I often use leaf bags to weigh down a tarp that I use for some of my bamboos, and use heavier objects like bricks or heavy branches if that is not enough to hold a tarp to hold the bamboo culms down to the ground over the winter.

As far as garlic, I add a layer of leaf much on all my beds of approximately 2000 cloves up to about 2 inches. I add it for insulation, to prevent them from heaving up, and hold in heat to aid in root formation as well as turning them into bulbs.  This bed only has a little so far and will get mulched more before it starts to snow.


  1. Steve,

    What state are you gardening in and what zone? I'm growing Fargesia murieliae (or nitida?) for many years, and this year have planted Musa "Mekong Giant" (Musa itinerans?) and M. basjoo in zone 6, Westford, MA. No garlic though!

    My Fargesia is probably dying after about 15 years, as it flowered this year - but it still looks good.

    I've mulched my bananas pretty much the same way you did. Also, planted then 1 foot deep. Seems like you were successful in overwintering yours last year. Did you loose any bananas last winter?

  2. I'm in upstate NY, zone 6a, and I did not lose any bananas or bamboos last year.

    If your fargesia flowered this year, that's a good chance to get seeds. I'm currently growing a few fargesia murielae seeds for fun. Bananas are also fun to watch grow, especially seeing them come back strong after getting overwintered successfully.

    You might want to try a phyllostachys because they are probably the best performing bamboo in the northeast. You're probably in about the same climate as me.