4 va­ri­eties to try

NZ Lifestyle Block - - In The Orchard - Mau­re­lii.

If you want a trop­i­cal-look­ing plant that also pro­duces fruit, try the banana. They can al­most be per­suaded to grow in­land if they get plenty of all-round shel­ter and or­ganic ma­te­rial.

•RE­SEARCH is be­ing done to find a va­ri­ety for com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion in New Zealand. The Bo­dles Wainui banana is a hy­brid, a cross be­tween the Pisang Awak In­done­sian moun­tain va­ri­ety and the Fi­jian Blue Java, but their fruit size is smaller than cheap im­ports so they re­main a spe­cial­ist item for now.

•THERE ARE some very good va­ri­eties of­fered by nurs­eries like Nestle­brae Ex­otics in Kerik­eri, in­clud­ing lovely or­na­men­tal ones with red and pur­ple flow­ers.

•THE ETHIOPIAN RED banana is from a moun­tain area, so it is a ‘trop­i­cal alpine’ and han­dles frost in win­ter.

•THERE ARE good re­ports of the sur­vival of the Ja­panese ‘Hardy’ banana ( Musa basjoo) which tol­er­ates the oc­ca­sional snow­fall if prop­erly pre­pared and mulched.

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