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By Rogger

Norfolk, United Kingdom Gb

Hi there. I have just got myself a Musa Itinerans, or Mekong Giant banana tree. It's only about 15 inches tall and in a six inch pot. I lost my tree fern to a very bad winter two years ago, so I am hoping this will be slightly hardier. It says good for zone 6 which equates for Norfolk in general. We rarely get a winter like we did two years ago with all the snow and -20C. My question is would it be best to just pot it on and keep it like that until next year, or take a chance and put it in the soil now and chance it? I can protect it with mulch and fleece for the winter. DO I use peat based soil? Any hints would be appreciated, especially from someone who has been there and done that! Many thanks



No, and for a rare Musa I would over winter in a frost free place. The only Musa I know that can be put in the ground (in well draining soil) is Musa Basjoo. Even then you need to protect the pseudostem. You remove the leaves when they have been lightly frosted and get limp, take a pipe (guttering will do) to enclose the pseudostem, put in straw to add insulation and cover the top to stop the rain getting in. In Spring you remove the pipe and insulation and it grows away. I do not know of any other Musa that allows you to do that as the stems rots with our wet winters (one reason to ignore the USDA Zones as the US tend to have bone dry winters and hot springs which makes a massive difference).

I have Musa Basjoo, Musa cavendish and various ensete and only Musa Basjoo can survive our winters (I am in Zone 9b if you follow the USDA).

31 Jul, 2014


Even if it is a hardy Banana the leaves and trunk won't survive the frost if not protected. It will die back to the ground and the underground rhizomes will come up again in the spring similar to flower bulbs.

I overwinter mine in the conservatory, so they remain evergreen. The problem is they get big very fast and once they get too tall for the conservatory I get rid of it, grow the pups on that come up from the base of the plants and use these until they get too big.

If yours is a giant musa, then this could be an advantage as it would probably grow to 8 feet or more in one season. So as long as it produces baby plants, which you just cut away with some of the roots, you should be able to keep it going by division.

1 Aug, 2014


Thanks to those that answered my Query. Looks like the Hardy Banana is not hardy enough!!! Worth a try however. I shall turn to a fan palm instead I think.

14 Aug, 2014

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