How to over­win­ter a ba­nana plant

Gardeners' World - - Small Gardens -

The ba­nana is the largest herba­ceous peren­nial – the stems are not at all woody, sim­ply the ag­glom­er­a­tion of leaf bases wrapped one around the other. It prop­a­gates it­self by suck­ers, but the stems – and the root­stock – are un­likely to sur­vive frosts in this coun­try so any plants left out­doors need to be lagged to see them through the win­ter.

1 Be­fore any frosts, cut away the leaves. Erect a cylin­der of chicken wire around the stem and fas­ten it in place with bam­boo canes or stout stakes to pre­vent wind rock.

2 Fill the frame­work with dry straw or bracken, ar­rang­ing it around the stems of the plants and firm­ing it down a lit­tle to add to its ef­fec­tive in­su­lat­ing prop­er­ties.

3 To pre­vent rain from soak­ing the in­su­la­tion ma­te­rial, fas­ten a sheet of poly­thene or an old com­post bag across the top of the straw-filled cylin­der. This will still al­low air to cir­cu­late through the straw or bracken, rather than seal­ing in mois­ture. When all danger of frost has past in spring, re­move the pro­tec­tion and tidy up the plant, re­mov­ing any rot­ten leaves.

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