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  • Un-Tropical Plants: The Cold Hardy Banana Tree

    The Banana Tree Company is famous for tropical seeds, rhizomes, and plants – some available only from us, but we're also famous for the decidedly un-tropical cold-hardy Musa Basjoo banana plant. The Banana Tree was the first major importer of the Musa Basjoo, the Japanese Fiber Banana or Hardy Banana, in North America.

    The Musa genus represents a large variety of banana plants, over 50 in total, from the common banana and plantain to the now common Japanese Fiber Banana. The overwhelming majority in the family is tropical and won't thrive in North America, but like everything in life, some have evolved into a “cold hardy” variety.

    There are three plants in particular that are popular with customers of The Banana Tree Company:

    The Banana Tree originally sourced these plants not only because we have proven them to be the top three cold hardy plants, but also because of their beauty. The quick-growing plants have beautiful foliage becoming of their tropical heritage and striking ornamental fruit that matures in the more temperate zones in North America.

    Musa Basjoo - Japanese Fiber Banana

    Musa Basjoo is the hardiest of all bananas and can be grown in just about every state and provence in North America.

    The Japanese Fiber Banana is cold hardy to -20 degrees Fahrenheit (-28 degrees Celsius) when mulched properly. In warm weather months it can grow up to 2 feet in a week. It s mature height is 18 feet. It can flower and bear inedible fruits at 10 feet or whenever it has 35 leaves.

    At 40 degrees it will stop active growth. At 28 degrees the leaves will die back and the tree can be cut back to a 2 or 3 foot height. It will grow back rapidly as the warmer season approaches.

    Musella Lasiocarpa - Chinese Yellow Banana

    The Chinese Yellow banana is a desirable ornamental grown for its huge waxy, yellow flowers. The flowers develop on erect upright stems and can last up to 6 months. The globe-like flowers resemble large golden lotus. The overall height of this hardy plant is 5 to 6 feet.

    Musella Lasiocarpa produces an abundance of typical banana leaves which evolve from a short stalk. It presents a very tropical appearance and may also be grown indoors if you provide sufficient light and warmth

    Musa Sikkimensis - Darjeeling B anana

    The Darjeeling Banana is found in Darjeeling and Sikkim Himalayan region in northern India at altitudes of 4,000 to 7,000 sometimes with light snow. Due to its harsh, native environment, it is perhaps as cold hardy as Musa Basjoo when mulched.

    A vigorous grower to 14 feet with great purple color on the underside of the leaves and petioles changing green with maturity. New leave have maroon variegation on the surface. The fruits are 5-6 inches long, sweet but contain numerous large seeds.

    Getting Started

    If you would love to have some of the topics in your own yard, consider these stunning botanical specimens. They're easy to grow, tolerant of un-tropical North American climates in the United States and Canada, and need simple care.

    Learn more about growing bananas and get growing!

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