An exotic touch to the garden, the Japanese banana tree is relatively hardy as long as some precautions are taken for its protection during the winter in cold regions where the climate can be very harsh.
Where to plant your banana tree?
When choosing the location for your Japanese banana tree, prefer an area sheltered from cold winds and which benefits from a beautiful sunny exposure on sunny days. The proximity of the house will also provide protection against the wind and a little extra degrees in winter. A deep soil rich in organic matter will be of great benefit to it during its establishment.
When to plant?
Prefer planting early in the season to give it time to settle down before having to face its first winter where protection will be essential.
When to protect your banana tree from winter?
During November when the temperatures drop sharply especially at night and the rain makes its appearance, it is advisable to consider its protection for the winter. A well-installed banana tree and protected in a minimalist way will start again from the stump in the spring.
How to protect it?
- Define the bananas you want to keep for the next year. The choice can be made according to the size, its seniority, or its placement.
- Choose a sunny day to take action, especially a day when the banana trees are quite dry to not add too much moisture to the protections and to avoid rot as much as possible.
- Cut the head of the foliage (a simple saw will do) to more or less two meters depending on the height of your tree. Do not hesitate, not obvious the first time!
- Wrap each foot with plastic bubble wrap or available products in garden stores to create a protective layer of air against the cold.
- Now surround each foot with thick winter protection sold in rolls. This wintering veil will provide further protection against the cold and allow some ventilation. Secure the protection with a round of tape at the bottom, in the middle, and at the top.
- Close the top with a small wire and fold back the point to make sure that water does not enter. Leave a space between the top of the banana tree and the closure. Growth can continue for a bit and will also restart in the spring before the protection is removed.
- Finally, bring decomposed compost to the feet of your banana trees and bury the lower part of the protection to close the entrance. The banana trees will enjoy this “comfy wrap” when the fine weather returns.
What action to take during the winter?
Just check that your protections are in place and that no opening has appeared caused by the wind which can blow strongly.
When to remove winter protection?
It is tempting during the first beautiful spring days to remove the protections but this can be fatal to the banana trees. Wait until the end of April at the earliest or mid-May when the frosts are over. You can observe the resumption of the growth of your banana trees by seeing the upper part straighten up.
You should thus recover your banana plants from one year to the next and hope for flowering after 2 or 3 years.
The Japanese banana tree will not flower in a single year.