Cart Contents
Cart (0)
LeBeau Bamboo Nursery      Medford, Oregon 541-499-4992

How Do I Prepare My Banana Trees for Winter?

The Hardy Japanese Banana, or Musa sp. basjoo, is a hardy banana tree that grows up to twelve feet tall and produces leaves several feet long. Although they freeze back to the ground each fall, with proper care they will resprout in the spring. Hardy bananas grow fast enough to match their previous year's size by early to mid summer, and it usually only takes about two years for a young plant to reach its full size.

You can read more about this beautiful ornamental or buy young plants here: Hardy Banana - Musa basjoo.

Basjoo Bananas are hardy, but some fall care is needed to help them get through the winter - especially on first year plants.

Once banana trees are established the roots are frost hardy but young plants do not tolerate the cold nearly as well as older plants. If you receive your plant in the winter or spring before the expected last frost date you should protect your plant from frosts. Plant your banana directly into a container and keep it in your garage or another non-freezing location. Water the banana plant when you put it into the container but be sure there are drainage holes in the pot so that the tree doesn't rot. As soon as the danger of frost has passed you can plant your tree outdoors. If you purchase your banana tree during the growing season you should plant it outdoors right away.

Fall preparation for outdoor banana trees.

Fall: To keep your banana plant happy it needs a little bit of preparation for winter in the fall. Right before or after the first frost you should cut the tree back to about one foot tall. Make sure to cut the trunk at an angle so water doesn't pool up all winter and start rotting the crown. Many people put a plastic bag over the trunk to further prevent water from pooling in the cut end, which is especially helpful in areas with particularly long winters.

The trunk is cut at an angle about one
foot above the ground.
Cover the cut trunk under a mulch pile of wood chips, bark, or raked leaves as an insulating protective layer to prevent damaging freeze/thaw cycles.

Apply mulch over the trunk.
Spring: Remove the mulch pile and bag in the spring after the last frost and fertilize your banana to help get it jump started. Established plants will typically grow to five or six feet tall within a month or two and start producing additional trunks around the base of the original in mid-summer. Eventually banana plants form a small grove, you can protect the largest trunks in the fall to keep a larger grove or only protect the largest trunk to maintain a single tree specimen.

Three month old Musa basjoo trees in two gallon pots.

Found This Article Helpful?
Share This Information With Other Gardeners!

Want More Care Articles?
Get monthly growing tips, care articles, and discounts!

Read One of These Plant Care Articles

Bamboo Grove Maintenance and Thinning

Like any other plant, bamboo needs regular maintenance after establishment. This mostly involves trimming away dead or unhealthy sections each summer. On most species, culms live for only seven years and begin to look unhealthy after the fifth or sixth year. The vibrant colors present in the younger culms tend to fade to yellow-greens or grays and many branches, especially those near the bottom, b... read more.

Creating a Privacy Hedge with Bamboo - A Complete Guide

People are usually looking to create a privacy screen because they want to block out neighbors they don't like, ugly buildings they don't want to look at, or create a visual border around their landscape. Most of the people in one of these situations are looking for a plant to suit their needs that will establish quickly, provide a beautiful screen in all seasons, and won't require a lot of mainte... read more.

Tip: Mulch Your Bamboo With Leaves, Bark, or Compost In The Fall

Adding two or three inches of compost, bark, or leaves to your bamboo groves protects the roots from extreme cold and can improve your plant's hardiness by fifteen degrees! Every now and again we all get one of those winters where temperatures dip well below normal for weeks on end. Just in case this winter ends up being extremely harsh for you, taking this extra precaution can be the difference b... read more.
LeBeau Bamboo Nursery       Medford, Oregon       541-499-4992       Privacy Policy