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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Going bananas

I love to garden. Our house has a pool, and I'm trying to make the area around it look like the tropic. That's quite a challenge when you live in Virginia! It may come as a surprise, but there are a lot of tropical plants that can survive in a zone 7 climate. My favorite tropical plants that can survive in Virgina are those of the Musa family, aka bananas! Currently I have two banana plants, the largest being a "pink velvet" banana plant. Hopefully it'll grow to be a centerpiece in our backyard: it should get to 7' the leaves are huge, and it should form a lot of little pink bananas (edible, yes. tasty, no!)

Before you cross bananas off the grocery list: the bananas you buy at the grocery can only be grown in Zones 9 and up as far as I know. While in the same family, a lot of the cold hardy ornamental bananas are from areas such as the Himalayas, so they're used to the cold. Many really great looking bananas plants can be grown in Zone 4!

Here's a photo of the pink velvet banana (Musa velutina) I planted two weeks ago. As is to be expected with new transplants a couple of the leaves had damage from shipping. There is a new leaf that emerged in the last few days (they grow fast) and their is another leaf that will unroll in a couple days. I will post a banana update in a few days to show you how fast these things grow!

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