Luckily, banana plants of all types rarely die completely in freezing temperatures because their underground rhizomes remain alive and the plants reemerge in spring. If you can’t bear to cut your plant down, you can leave it intact and fashion a wire cage around the pseudostem, leaving one to two feet of horizontal clearance from the stem to the cage. Stop fertilizing bananas in cold weather. When that happens, cut the stem to 24 inches tall and loosely cover it with thick plastic or burlap. In the spring, cut the plant back to about 4 inches and replant it. Before you start moving earth, though, you’ll want to cut the plant back to about six inches tall. Living in NY ,I’ve been digging up my banana tres every year. Ideally, this should be done before the first frost. above ground. To further ensure that your banana lives through the winter, dig it up, place the root ball in a black plastic bag and leave the plant in a cool, frost-protected spot, such as a basement or garage. Wish me luck! Once the first frost hits, the hardy banana will die back to the ground. It is best to select a dwarf variety for container growing. But for most of us in the United States, the beauty fades when the winter’s chill approaches. Oh, Felco F-2, and All the Things You Can Do! Rather than simply abandoning your bananas to the whims of weather, you have several choices for protecting them for a return engagement come springtime. After fruiting , cut down stem close to ground to allow energy to feed new growth. You have a couple options in terms of where you place it indoors. Here, we’ll offer three ways you can protect and preserve your banana plant over the winter months: Perhaps the most obvious way to successfully overwinter a banana tree is to grow it in a container and bring it indoors when temperatures drop. They will suffer leaf damage at 32°F, and their underground rhizomes will die at sustained temperatures of 22°F or lower. You will be left with something that looks like a pole with roots. Expect to see slow growth during this period. Byron Martin. A 15-foot “tree” in a pot would be a bit unwieldy! My parents grow banana plants in their yard, and although they live in Maryland and it gets very cold in the winter, they come back year after year. You’ll want to give your tree plenty of water to revive it. leaves in one season. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. Whether you grow an ornamental flowering banana (Musa ornata) or an edible variety (Musa x paradisiaca), you need to plan carefully if you don't want to lose the plant when the temperature drops. Nevertheless, most banana plants like it hot, and if you don’t live in USDA Hardiness Zone 9 or higher, you may wonder how you can add one of these tropical beauties to your landscape and keep it alive over winter. What happens to the cold hardy banana tree during the winter? If an attached garage or crawl space makes more sense for overwintering your container grown banana, begin preparing the plant by gradually reducing irrigation as the weather cools. Its large leaves, purple flowers, and brightly colored fruit make a dramatic statement in the garden. Simply enjoy your potted plant on the patio or deck all summer, and then bring it indoors when outdoor temperatures begin to drop. Perhaps the most obvious way to successfully overwinter a banana tree is to grow it in a container and bring it indoors when temperatures drop. Cutting them back is generally recommended to preserve their health through the winter, and I would plan to mulch them well for extra protection. Winter Care. The goal here is to protect the large rhizome at the base of the pseudostem, which is known as the “corm.” The corm has several growing points that will sprout new rhizomes – or “pups” – which can be transplanted. Before the first frost dig up the plant and gently remove any excess soil and then cut the leaves back close to the base of the trunk. In the winter, the banana tree stops growing and needs different care to preserve it until spring. Susan Lundman began writing about her love of gardening and landscape design after working for 20 years at a nonprofit agency. Share your tips in the comments section below. A rather sizeable herb. She has written about plants, garden design and gardening tips online professionally for ten years on numerous websites. Can I do that and how? You have alternatives for protecting outdoor bananas, depending on their size. Once banana trees are established the roots are frost hardy but young plants do not tolerate the cold nearly as well as older plants. Water just enough so that the soil doesn’t separate from the sides of the container. Give it abundant water and rich soil with plenty of organic matter, and the plant will begin growing again. For example, the ‘Japanese Fiber’ variety (M. basjoo) can withstand sub-zero temperatures. I’m not sure which type you are growing, but keep in mind that bananas are semi-tropical/tropical plants. Do you have other plants you need to protect from the cold? The first one made it only three growing seasons dying in the second winter. Given their native climate, it is unsurprising that banana plants are cold intolerant. And after you have 3 new sprouts you can remove one sprout and pot it up to make new planting. Make sure you dig out at least 6-8 inches on either side of the base of the stem. I dug it the third winter and have ever since. The following step-by-step directions are one way to ensure that your hardy banana stand comes through a cold winter like we have in New England. Some of these links may be affiliate in nature, meaning we earn small commissions if items are purchased. A cold hardy banana tree that is planted outside will go dormant during the winter when temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. In Zone 8b, you’re right that a sustained freeze isn’t likely, but temperatures do often drop below freezing in the winter. For a container plant that you're not able to move indoors, cut the foliage down to soil level after the first frost.