Friday, November 18, 2005
It's Getting Colder And My Banana Trees Are Not Happy
These are my banana trees. The little guy on the left had a label that described it as cold hardy, so I picked it up on a whim. Later when I researched the variety, it turned out to be one of the ornamental 'nanners and a dwarf variety at that. Rats!
So, I found another variety which promised to be big, cold hardy, and produce good eating 'nanners. I planted them next to the FFA show pig pen (which will soon be occupied again!!) so they could nourish themselves on pig manure and they have done well.
Both are new this year, so it's not much of a banana republic yet, but they seem to be well established. The tall one even has a sucker (new plant) coming up from it's base. Bananas don't really make viable seeds, they spread by cloning themselves from the base.
The tough thing about growing bananas in North Florida are the freezes like the one possible on Wednesday. Here, banana trees often die back to ground level due to freezes. That makes getting banana fruit difficult, since most banana trees produce fruit the second winter. It's often hard to get a stalk to survive two years...so you wind up starting over again with shoots from the old stump. I think I'll use some expensive hay bales to shield the bases of these two banana trees from the hard freezes to come.
A banana off the tree is a special treat and worth a little effort. Besides, even without fruit, the big fronds add a nice touch of the tropics.
My dad has banana trees with flower buds forming now and I plan to get a shot of that to share with you when I visit for Thanksgiving.
I love living in this boundary zone between the tropical and the temperate. Everything is on the edge with some at the extreme edge of their ability to survive. Walking in the woods and seeing a northern tree like a sycamore growing next to a cabbage palm is such a neat scene. This mishmash of the exotic with the familiar is delicious even if it presents challenges to the grower.
...and unlike my Dad, I find growing any plant a challenge.
Posted by R.Powers at 7:11 PM