Life is full of little surprises. Like, for instance, did you know that you could grow a full-on tropical banana plant in the North? As long as you are in zones 5 or higher it is possible. You can see the results above in my front garden.
Bananas are actually the largest perennial plants on earth and a gorgeous contribution to a tropical foliage garden. Brian Williams from Brian’s Botanicals in Kentucky, taught me how easy it is to grow a banana in the North and I am dying with excitement to see if it survives this season. It is torture waiting for my little plant babies to pop up in April.
How To Grow A Banana Plant in the North
- Get the right plant variety to survive the temps. Musa Basjoo and MeKong Giant both seem to have the ability to survive down to zone 5 cold. Musa Basjoo can grow up to 25′ and a MeKong Giant can get much taller. They do produce bananas, but the bananas are inedible.
- Plant in a full sun, fertile soil location – I added rotted manure to my planting bed to encourage growth.
- Water frequently – this season we had a drought and it seemed to make significant growth with rain water, so utilizing your rain barrels to support this plant is a wise idea. Growth directly correlates to how much water it receives.
- Fertilize with an organic fertilizer several times through out the season.
- When fall comes, cut the plant to around 12″ high and cover with a foot of leaves or hard wood mulch. To add even more protection you could cover with a thick layer of plastic (I did not do the plastic step).
- In spring, uncover the plant and water well. If the winter has not been too cold, you should have easy success.
Special Note – Because the FTC requires it, I am letting you know that Brian’s Botanicals supplied the banana plants in this garden. Even in a drought these plants performed – I would write about them whether the plants were given to me or not and as always – all gardening opinions on bananas are completely my own!