For me it’s become a annual tradition to buy a red banana, even though they’re doomed to be annuals in zone 8. I love the color and the big leaves; they are one of the tropical must haves on the patio.
The last few years I’d made the purchase at the Hardy Plant Society Spring Plant Sale (mark your calendars….April 9 & 10, 2011), but there were none available this year. I chalked it up to our cool wet spring and bought one a month or so later at the Rare Plant Research Open House. It only took a week or two for it to start fading, before long it looked so sad there was no way it could stay in a container with a staring role. It was moved into the ground, where it has stayed alive, that’s about all I can say for it. Here is how it looked yesterday, Oct 25.
29” tall (measured from the base), with 4 leaves (hand for scale)
Enter banana number two, this one from Portland Nursery. Ditto for the performance, now granted it was probably more the lack of sun than anything (for both of them) but this one too took a quick nose-dive and was removed to a supporting role elsewhere. Here it is now.
31” tall (measured from the base), with 6 leaves
Number three came from Garden Fever, and remains in the container, mostly due to my laziness at this point. Although it did perform a little better and in fact it has recently started to look respectful, but nothing like the spectacular specimens I’ve enjoyed in prior years, and seen in others gardens this year (not mentioning any names like Megan, Patricia, Kim, or Grace).
44” tall (measured from the base), with 7 leaves
I figure each successive plant has done a little better than the one before because the weather had warmed and the sun was actually shining a bit more when they were planted. But the overall performance of all three was so dismal that I’d love to hear banana secrets from those of you that have experienced success. I also think I may try and over winter specimen #2, it’s in a small enough container that I can take it inside when the weather cools a little more, my mother managed to do this last year, maybe I can too! Any hints from the experts out there?