University of Illinois Extension


Banana trees and palm trees go hand in hand when you want to convey a tropical feel. Bananas are very fast growing and easy to overwinter. Bananas prefer full sun to light shade and demand moist, well-drained soil. They are heavy feeders so fertilize regularly through the growing season. Banana leaves tatter easily in the wind so if possible locate them in a somewhat protected area. Bananas come in a variety of leaf colors from green to variegated green and red. Given good conditions, it is not unusual for them to grow 6-10 feet during the summer. Overwinter by digging the plant up, wrapping the root ball in a plastic bag and storing the plant in a cool, dark area until spring. In the spring cut the plant back to a few inches above the soil, pot it up if the plant will be containerized or set out the root in the garden after the soil warms in the spring. The Japanese Fiber Banana (Musa basjoo) is the most cold tolerant of the bananas. It will successfully overwinter outdoors in zone 5 with a heavy mulch cover. A banana relative, the Red Abyssinium Banana grows to 8-10 feet and has enormous broad green leaves with a burgundy underside.

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