MUSA BASJOO - The World's Hardiest Banana

Musa basjoo - The world's hardiest banana
If you are looking to create a topical effect garden but live in a cooler, more temperate European climate then it can be challenging to find suitably exotic looking plants that will survive the freezing temperatures of winter. One such plant, Musa basjoo, has proven itself to more than capable of standing up to the job, and is considered by many to be the word hardiest banana!

I should point out that while it will remain evergreen in its native habitats of southern, subtropical China, more specifically  the Sichuan province, and the Japanese Ryukyu Islands, there are no banana species which will survive with its foliage intact after subjected to a hard frost. 

While Musa basjoo is called hardy it should perhaps be more accurately called 'root hardy' as even though both the leaves and the pseudostems can succumb to the cold the root system will remain viable and produce vigorous new growth in the spring.  If well mulched, Musa basjoo will survive winter temperatures down to an impressive -20 degrees Celsius!.

Given optimum conditions you can expect Musa basjoo to reach around 2–2.5 m in height, and produce a crown of mid-green leaves at the top of the trunk-like pseudostem. Each leaf is paddle-shaped and can grow up to 2 metres long. In warmer climates creamy-yellow flowers can appear in the summer on more mature plants which are followed by small, green fruits approximately 5–10 cm long. Unfortunately the fruits of Musa basjoo are inedible with sparse white pulp and an abundance of black seeds.

Musa basjoo inflorescence
Musa basjoo is best grown in a rich, moist and free-draining soil. In cooler climates they can be planted in full sun but in subtropical regions they can become scorched in extreme temperatures and will do better with some part shade or filtered light during the heat of the day. Fertilize  and keep the roots well watered during the growing period as the best growth occurs soils that do not dry out. Of course, avoid the roots from becoming waterlogged. Strong winds can easily damage and even shred the larger leaves so avoid planting in exposed conditions.

For related articles click onto the following links:

No comments: