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How to protect banana plants over winter

Overview

Banana plants need plenty of wrapping in winter to keep them warm. Without protection, the cold weather will decimate them and they'll have to grow from scratch in spring. A little extra effort will ensure thriving bananas that bring tropical cheer to your garden.


How to do it

Removing lower leaves of banana plants

1

Use a sharp knife or secateurs to cut away any frosted or dying lower leaves. This will prevent them from rotting when the plant is wrapped up for winter.


Packing around the banana plant with straw

2

Wrap a roll of rush screening or chicken wire loosely around the plant, and pack the gap between the plant and the covering with dry straw.


3

Tie the screening or chicken wire securely in place with string or rope.


4

Remove the covering in April or May, or after the last frosts.


Adam's tip

Make sure that you protect the entire plant, leaving no gaps, to avoid exposure to cold air and frosts.




Discuss this project

Talkback: How to protect banana plants over winter
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kaycurtis 24/11/2011 at 15:28

bannana that is grown in a pot, should the pot be wrapped in bubble wrap

Leyland-j 24/11/2011 at 15:30

Do I need to remove all of the leaves from the banana plant before wrapping, if not do I also wrap the remaining leaves along with the trunk?

Garden Maniac 15/10/2012 at 11:49

This is good advice - mine is getting too large to keep moving indoors - it's currently in the bath due to a couple of frosty nights! Not very practical! The problem is, I don't want it to die in the frost as its a lovely size and spread, so would it survive in a summerhouse over winter, as it is potted, or is the cold too harsh?

MuddyFork 15/10/2012 at 12:15

I keep mine wrapped in fleece in an unheated greenhouse so would expect it to be OK in your summerhouse.  I did lose the leaves one year but the plant regrew from the base so probably hardier than we think. 

Gary Hobson 15/10/2012 at 12:21

This depends on a lot of factors - the type of banana, your location, and gardens in cities are warmer than those in rural areas, and of course how low the temperature falls, and how long a particular sub-zero spell lasts.

Wrapping up only offers limited protection. If weather is severe and prolonged, then wrapping up and/or moving into a cold greenhouse, will not be good enough.

The roots of plants in pots will get colder than roots that are in soil. Bringing a pot into a greenhouse can reduce that effect slightly, but if it's a cold greenhouse and the temperature drops below freezing, then the roots can still freeze.

One of the most popular bananas is Musa basjoo. This is relatively hardy and may survive outdoors, with some wrapping up. But keeping this plant in severe conditions is still difficult.

The attractive banana with wide leaves, Musa ensete, is not as hardy as basjoo. Ensete also has a very attractive red-leaved variety. The red variety is even less hardy than the green variety. It would be difficult to keep a red ensete without heat.

Folding the leaves up, before wrapping the stem, can give additional protection (but it's not easy).

kaycurtis wrote (see)
..., should the pot be wrapped in bubble wrap

Bubble wrap can help. But it is important to understand that bubble wrap, or fleece, merely act as insulators. They reduce the speed at which the pot gets cold. So if the cold weather is prolonged, and the temperature doesn't rise above freezing during the day, then they will not prevent the pot from freezing.

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