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Big Basjoo

Musa Basjoo PictureI'm definitely having an off year in the summer vegetable garden but instead of focusing on what I haven't accomplished, I'm going to talk about some of the good stuff that's going on in my yard. It's not like I'm living in a barren wasteland devoid of plant activity. No sir, there's some good green stuff going on that's definitely worth an update.

One of the most rewarding plant purchases that's I've made over the years was my hardy banana plant from a few years back. It was just a tiny little stick when it arrived in the mail but it really took off ever since. The Musa Basjoo is a non fruiting banana so Chiquita and Dole will still be my official banana suppliers for the foreseeable future but I bought the Basjoo because it's cold tolerant enough to survive a New Jersey winter.

It's also really cool looking and grows pretty tall. And who doesn't like having big tall plants, especially tropical looking ones? Not only did that original Musa Basjoo grow up to be a strong healthy banana tree (which as you can see in the picture above, it's about 12 feet tall even though it's growing in a pot) but it's also had pups every year since I've planted it. So now I have 9 of them.

musa basjoo hardy bananaBanana plants are heavy feeders and need lots of fertilizer to grow big and strong. And being that this is the Compost Bin blog, it's a match made in heaven. I feed them plenty of fresh compost and they grow tall and have babies for me. Good deal. An occasional helping of fish tank water helps out too.

And even though they're hardy to Zone 6, I don't force them to prove it to me. Each winter, I dig them out of the ground and wrap the stems in wads of newspapers for storage in my garage. I usually just drag the one in the pot in there too but this year it's a bit too tall. But I'll figure something out by the time the temps start dropping.

So sure I could sit here and wallow in pity that my tomato and hot pepper starts never got in the ground but I'm not going to do that. Instead I'm going to celebrate the fact that I have bunch of huge banana trees in my yard that will never produce a single banana, ever. And that's awesome!


  1. Daisy said...
    That's amazing! I wonder if I could make one grow in Wisconsin...
    Anthony said...
    Hi Daisy,
    Hmmm, I'm not sure if it would thrive in Wisconsin but slow growth would make it easier to bring it inside for the winter. If you try it, let me know the results.
    OsmoJoe said...
    Musa bsjoo will pretty much thrive anywhere it has deep, rich soil and warm temperatures. That includes most of the U.S. in the summer. Unprotected, they will not take Wisconsin temperatures.

    But don't take my word for it...always experiment with bananas. I've had too many people tell me I can't grow banana plants because "they'll freeze and die". I have left my banana plants outside for the past three years, and they've made it through freezes in the low twenties. And these are tropical varieties, not musa basjoo.

    Musa basjoo can produce bananas, but they are filled with seeds and are inedible.

    I am glad to see you're having so much success with these awesome plants!
    MiAs said...
    really strong banana tree you got there...

    you can use the leave as wrapping for your grilled fish... it will impart really awesome smell.. just dont eat it..:)

    btw, u can chopped down your banana tree and it will grow back.. though it will look a bit lopsided... the only time it wont recovered from the chopping if it is fruiting.
    Anthony said...
    Thanks for the additional info. I've never gotten any fruit on my Musas. I think you need a really long growing season to get fruit.

    Yum, I've seen the banana leaves cooking method on Food Network but never thought to try it myself. Thanks!
    lisa said...
    I tried a musa here in extreme northeast Wisconsin, and it didn't over-winter. But I'll try one in a pot to bring inside for fall next year, because I really want one around!

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