One of The Most Unique Fast-Growing Trees For Privacy
5 years ago I bought one Musa Basjoo Banana ‘tree’. Also referred to as just Basjoo Banana or a cold hardy banana tree. I’ve posted pictures of the unboxing below.
I use parenthesis on ‘tree’ because technically they are an herbaceous perennial. They will turn brown & even smell like a well-ripened banana after the first hard frost.
You just cut them down to within a few inches of the ground, throw some mulch over them and wait for the first warm spell after winter. They will bounce back and get up to 15 feet tall every year. I’m in grow zone 7 and here’s one of mine by Memorial Day weekend 2 years ago.
BASJOO BANANA PRUNING TIP
When cutting them down for the winter, use a tree pruning saw with teeth, like the ones you see on the extension poles at hardware stores. I learned the hard way that banana plants are very fibrous & moist, making pruning shears or hedge clippers a useless, wet mess.
Notice I said; ‘one of mine’. Musa Basjoo Banana plants sucker up with pups off the main stem or even underground off the main corn. Corn is a referred to as the swollen stem of tubular plants that are used to protect them from winter.
Anyway, my one plant has provided me with a virtual tropical looking forest. I’m now starting to give some each spring to friends & neighbors.
They are so easy to divide and transplant somewhere else. It’s best to transplant them in spring, when they’re less than 3 feet but I have divided them when they were much taller.
I even took one that was at least 6 feet tall, cut it off from the grouping, moved it to another part of my yard and just packed some dirt around the base. I didn’t even bother digging a planting hole. A few leaves wilted but then it bounced back. They are so easy to grow!
The only thing I have noticed is that they do tend to wilt pretty fast in summer if you try to use them in a planter.
Musa Basjoo Banana plants seem to handle shade & sun although they will grow a lot faster with mostly sunny conditions. I staggered rows of them along a fence line and last spring and by summer I felt like I was in my own back yard tropical oasis!
Some are planted under a canopy of mature evergreen trees. Others are mixed in with a few red twig dogwood shrubs. A few are in an area that doesn’t drain very well.
You obviously won’t get the privacy in the winter but then again, I’m not in my backyard as much in winter!
Musa Basjoo Banana are rated for grow zones 5 through 11 and are cold hardy to minus 10 degrees. Just mulch heavily over the plant if you expect prolonged temperatures below zero.
Although I have been told that these plants do not fruit, there are some articles I have read that state they can produce bunches of pretty starchy, un-edible bananas. In my 5 years, I have not experienced anything close to the fruit.
There are also dwarf varieties of the basjoo banana plants sold as house plants. Just make sure you put them somewhere near a window so they can get some sunlight.
We have 4 of our top-rated online nurseries selling the Basjoo Banana plant. Click here to compare the their prices.