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Complete guide to Hardy Tropical Plants

Growing Musa Basjoo in the UK

by Plants for all Seasons 24 Mar 2023 0 Comments

Musa basjoo, commonly known as the Japanese fiber banana or hardy banana, is one of the most cold-tolerant banana plants and can be grown in the UK with proper care. Although it is unlikely to produce fruit, its large, tropical foliage can make a striking visual impact in your garden. Here are some tips for growing Musa basjoo in the UK:

  1. Location: Choose a sheltered spot in your garden that receives plenty of sunlight, ideally at least 6 hours of direct sun per day. Protection from strong winds is important, as the large leaves can be easily damaged.

  2. Soil preparation: Musa basjoo prefers fertile, well-draining soil that retains moisture. Prepare the planting site by adding organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to improve soil fertility and drainage. Ensure the soil pH is between 5.5 and 6.5.

  3. Planting: Plant your banana plant in the ground or in a large pot, making sure the root ball is covered with soil. If planting in a pot, use a high-quality potting mix and ensure the pot has drainage holes. Potted banana plants can be moved indoors or into a greenhouse during the colder months.

  4. Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist, especially during the growing season (spring and summer). Water the plant deeply and regularly, but avoid waterlogging the soil.

  5. Fertilizing: Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season, following the manufacturer's instructions. Banana plants are heavy feeders and need regular feeding to produce optimal growth.

  6. Overwintering: To protect your Musa basjoo during the winter, you can either move it indoors or take steps to protect it outside. For outdoor plants, cut back the leaves in late autumn, wrap the trunk in horticultural fleece or bubble wrap, and cover the base with a thick layer of mulch. This will help insulate the plant from freezing temperatures.

  7. Pruning: Banana plants do not require much pruning. Remove dead or damaged leaves as needed, and cut back any suckers that emerge around the base of the plant to encourage the main stem's growth.

By following these guidelines, you can successfully grow Musa basjoo in the UK, adding a touch of the tropics to your garden. Keep in mind that banana plants grown outdoors in the UK are unlikely to produce fruit, but their impressive foliage will still make a stunning visual impact.

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