How to store banana trees for the winter

How to Dig Up Banana Plants for Winter | Home Guides

By SF Gate Contributor Updated November 11, 2020

Even if your climate isn't exactly tropical, you can still grow banana plants (Musa acuminata). These plants, with their large, lush leaves, thrive outdoors year-round in frost-free areas of U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11 according to Missouri Botanical Garden. However, you can also grow these herbaceous perennials in cooler climates with appropriate banana tree winter storage.

Since most banana plants are not cold-hardy, you generally will have to dig up the plants and and store them indoors before temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. They need to be stored in a space where it is dark and the temperature doesn't dip below freezing. If you grow the plant as an ornamental, cutting back the stem makes for easier storage. But those hoping for fruiting banana trees should not do the big trim.

  1. 1.

    Cut Back Banana Plant

    Cut the stalk or trunk of the banana plant back to a stump anywhere from half its height to just above the ground with a knife or a tree saw. The height depends on the amount of space you have for storing the plant and the height you want the plant to achieve the next season. New growth emerges from the center of the cut trunk.

    Cut off the lower leaves of a banana plant you want to fruit with a knife if they obstruct the base of the plant. Avoid cutting into the stalk.

  2. 2. Dig Up Banana Plant

    Dig a circle around the base of the banana plant with a shovel. It should be about 10 to 12 inches from the trunk and go down deeper than the root ball itself. As you do this, you will need to cut through some of the outside roots. This makes the banana plant easier to move and store. That's important since, according to Walter Reeves, the stem and roots may turn to much if left outside unprotected.

    Insert a garden fork into the circle cut then wiggle it until it is beneath the root ball. Gently pry the banana plant out of the hole. Move the fork to different spots in the circle as you work on the root ball. When it is loose, lift the root ball out of the soil and lower the plant down on its side as you do.

  3. 3. Caring for the Root Ball

    Examine the banana plant's root ball. Prune out any roots that extend out of the soil mass with a knife or garden pruner so they don't rot over winter. Work a large plastic bag like a garbage bag over the root ball. Secure the bag loosely around the top of the trunk.

  4. 4. Storing the Plant

    Move plants with pruned trunks into the storage area. If you have opted for fruiting banana plants instead of ornamentals, you haven't cut the trunk. On these plants, straighten out the foliage and secure it close to the trunk with twine.

    Wrap the trunk and foliage of your banana plant with several layers of newspaper and secure it with twine. Lay the plant down in the storage area until spring.

    Things You Will Need
    • Knife

    • Shovel

    • Loppers or tree saw

    • Plastic garbage bag

    • Newspaper

    • Twine


    Any pups or small sprouts at the base of the banana plant trunk should not be separated until spring.

    Plants do not need to be watered, but the root ball should not dry out entirely.

    Small banana plants can be potted up and brought into your home as houseplants.

    Cut plants back and insulate the trunks and area over the roots with a heavy layer of mulch when you don't want to dig up the plants and your soil does not often freeze solid.


  • Missouri Botanical Garden: Musa Acuminata
  • Walter Overwintering - Bananas

How to Overwinter Banana Plants

Before we talk about how to overwinter banana plants, the first thing we need to get straight is that the banana tree (Musa spp. ) is not actually a tree. It’s an herb! A rather sizeable herb.

Its “trunk” is actually a cylinder of tightly layered leaves called a pseudostem.

We link to vendors to help you find relevant products. If you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

The banana is an attractive herbaceous flowering plant that grows to a mature height of 12 to 18 feet tall. Its large leaves, purple flowers, and brightly colored fruit make a dramatic statement in the garden.

How to Overwinter Your Banana Tree

  • It’s a Tropical Plant
  • Keeping Your Banana Plant Alive
    • Container Growing
    • Cover It
    • Dig It Up

It’s a Tropical Plant

There are about 70 species of the genus Musa, and they are indigenous to tropical areas of India, Southeast Asia, and northern Australia.

They are now grown in more than 135 countries, mostly for their fruit, which is enjoyed around the world.

Given their native climate, it is unsurprising that banana plants are cold intolerant. They need mild temperatures in order to grow; their leaves will stop growing at around 55°F.

They will suffer leaf damage at 32°F, and their underground rhizomes will die at sustained temperatures of 22°F or lower.

Having said that, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that there are indeed a few cold-tolerant varieties available.

For example, the ‘Japanese Fiber’ variety (M. basjoo) can withstand sub-zero temperatures. It’s hardy to Zone 5 or 6, and can be overwintered in colder areas by cutting it back and providing a protective mulch around the stem.

Nevertheless, most banana plants like it hot, and if you don’t live in USDA Hardiness Zone 9 or higher, you may wonder how you can add one of these tropical beauties to your landscape and keep it alive over winter.

Let’s learn more!

Keeping Your Banana Plant Alive

Here, we’ll offer three ways you can protect and preserve your banana plant over the winter months:

Container Growing

Perhaps the most obvious way to successfully overwinter a banana tree is to grow it in a container and bring it indoors when temperatures drop.

It is best to select a dwarf variety for container growing. A 15-foot “tree” in a pot would be a bit unwieldy!

Simply enjoy your potted plant on the patio or deck all summer, and then bring it indoors when outdoor temperatures begin to drop.

You have a couple options in terms of where you place it indoors.

If you’d like to adorn an empty corner of your living room, make sure it’s a sunny spot and be sure to keep the soil moist, but not soggy.

Provide humidity by misting the leaves via a squirt bottle filled with water.

Expect to see slow growth during this period.

If an attached garage or crawl space makes more sense for overwintering your container grown banana, begin preparing the plant by gradually reducing irrigation as the weather cools.

Before the first frost, cut the stem back to about six inches tall, and place it in a cool, dark place – approximately 40-50°F.

Water just enough so that the soil doesn’t separate from the sides of the container.

It will go dormant through the cold months, and you can take it outdoors again and start watering it properly once temperatures start to climb and all risk of frost has passed.

Cover It

If your plant is growing in the ground, one option for safely overwintering it is to protect it with thick layers of mulch.

The goal here is to protect the large rhizome at the base of the pseudostem, which is known as the “corm.” The corm has several growing points that will sprout new rhizomes – or “pups” – which can be transplanted.

Cut the plant back to about 4-6 inches above the ground, and then pile on at least a foot of leaves, straw, or other mulching material.

You might also cover the pile with plastic sheeting, row cover material, or a cloche for more protection, and to keep the mulch in place.

If you can’t bear to cut your plant down, you can leave it intact and fashion a wire cage around the pseudostem, leaving one to two feet of horizontal clearance from the stem to the cage.

Make the cage as high as the amount of pseudostem you want to protect.

After the first light frost, fill the cage with shredded leaves or straw. Make sure you pack it in well, so it completely surrounds the stem.

You may lose any portion of the plant that sticks out above the cage, but the covered portions and the rhizome underground should be protected.

You can also wrap hessian or row cover material around the outside of the wire cage to add insulation and keep the material in place.

Remove the cage and mulching material when warm weather returns and the plant shows signs of regrowth.

Trim off any dead material and start watering.

You can spread the shredded leaves or straw around the base of the plant to provide some extra organic material to the soil.

Dig It Up

Another way to protect your banana plant during wintertime is to dig it up and move it to a cellar, crawlspace, or similar area where the temperature is consistently 45-50°F. Ideally, this should be done before the first frost.

Before you start moving earth, though, you’ll want to cut the plant back to about six inches tall. When that’s done, carefully dig out the rhizomes and roots. Make sure you dig out at least 6-8 inches on either side of the base of the stem.

Place the root ball in a container of slightly moist sand. The tree will go dormant so it won’t need light, and you shouldn’t water it at all during this time.

Banana trees with pseudostems that are larger than five inches in diameter can be dug up and stored without lopping off the top first. Shake the soil from the roots and lay the plant on its side on top of a tarp or newspaper in your chosen location.

Replant when all danger of frost has passed. You’ll want to give your tree plenty of water to revive it.

A Statement Plant that Deserves a Second Life

With their large leaves and impressive height, banana plants can make a spectacular statement in the landscape. But for most of us in the United States, the beauty fades when the winter’s chill approaches.

Rather than simply abandoning your bananas to the whims of weather, you have several choices for protecting them for a return engagement come springtime.

Have you successfully overwintered one of these tropical beauties? How do you revive them after winter? Share your tips in the comments section below.

Do you have other plants you need to protect from the cold? Check out these guides:

  • Guide to Clematis Winter Care: Protect Your Vines From Freezing and Frost
  • Lemongrass Winter Care: How to Prepare for the Cold
  • How to Protect Rosemary Plants in the Winter
  • How to Prepare Fruit Trees for Winter

© Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on December 29, 2019. [lastupdated]. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock.

Banana peel fertilizer for flowers: top dressing, infusion, watering

All flowers growing indoors and outdoors need timely top dressing over time. And therefore, banana peel fertilizer will be a good environmental supplement that flowers love so much.


  • Benefits of banana peel flower food
    • Benefits
    • Minuses of dressing
    • Composition and action
    • Benefits for indoor plants and garden flowers
  • Application of banana fertilizers for indoor flowers
    • Watering flowers
    • Feeding home flowers
    • Banana powder
    • Banana compost
    • 9000 powder
    • Preparation of decoctions and infusions
      • Decoctions
      • Infusions
    • Combined Recipes for Flower
      • Recipe No. 1
      • Recipe No. 2
      • Recipe No. 3
    • The necessary tools and materials
    • Contraindications and precautions
    • Banana fertilizers and insects
    900 Benefits of banana peel flower food

    The peel contains a lot of potassium and it will help flowering plants during flowering.

    Flower growers keep finding new ways to feed

    Useful properties

    • Banana infusion copes well with the invasion of aphids;
    • A wonderful potash-phosphorus fertilizer, without which fruit trees and home flowering plants cannot do.

    Minuses of top dressing

    • If the peel is on the soil surface, it becomes moldy and emits an unpleasant odor ;
    • The use of such an addition may induce ants and other insects;
    • Infusions have an unpleasant odor.

    Composition and action

    It contains a lot of phosphorus and potassium and no nitrogen at all. The first two elements are very necessary for good flowering and fruit set. Therefore, fertilizer is simply necessary for those who have their own garden.

    It will serve as an excellent natural supplement for obtaining a good harvest of fruit trees and berry bushes.

    Benefits for indoor plants and garden flowers

    Magnesium contained in the skin is good for plants that often lack sunlight.

    Potassium will promote longer flowering and brighter inflorescences on houseplants.

    Pets that live in the shade also require timely feeding due to lack of sunlight

    Applying banana fertilizer for indoor plants

    Since it has worked well, flower growers often use it to feed their houseplants.

    Watering flowers

    There is no proper method for absolutely all plants. We must proceed from the fact that all flowers are fertilized only on moist soil, so as not to burn the root system of the plant.

    Here are highlights to follow:

    1. Any cactus is watered only in summer and diluted fertilizer more than for other plants.
    2. When watering, remember that some types of flowers need breaks between watering and therefore you should allow the soil to dry out to one third of the capacity before the next watering.
    3. Plants that need drip irrigation can be fed continuously with fertilizer. To do this, the composition must be is diluted twice as much with water as for regular watering.

    When fertilizing houseplants, keep an eye on the moisture content of the soil, as too much moisture can cause the soil to rot.

    House flower dressing

    You can also cut the banana peel and mix it with the soil where the house flower is planted. After a while, it will rot and give its nutrients to the ground, and then the plant will have the opportunity to use these elements for its own good.

    When burying the peel in the ground, make sure that it does not peek out of the ground , otherwise it will become covered with mold and will exude an unpleasant odor.

    Banana powder

    To prepare banana peel powder, dry well in the sun or, if it is winter, on a central heating radiator, after covering it with a newspaper.

    The skins are dried to black color until they are sufficiently brittle. After a good drying, it is ground in a coffee grinder. This powder is used once a month, sprinkling it on the ground around the plant in need.

    Banana peel must be dried well .

    Banana compost

    This fertilizer is good if the grower lives in his own house or has a garden plot. To prepare compost in the far corner of the garden, they make a small depression in the ground and enclose it with a small fence so that the pile does not subsequently crumble around.

    A compost pit is found in almost every summer cottage

    The fence is made about 50 cm. then layers 9 are made0087 :

    1. Banana peel.
    2. Land from the plot.
    3. Irrigation with water.

    If you do not touch this pile during the year, but only increase the layers, then by the next year the compost will be ready.

    When making compost, you need to have a lot of peel or create it in a small iron barrel.

    Tropical Cocktail

    To make a tropical cocktail, you need the peel of one or two bananas. They need to be crushed with a blender. Then add 300 gr. water.

    The cocktail must always be fresh without a rotting smell and prepared immediately before use. It should be applied under flowers once a month.

    To fertilize the flowers growing in the house with such a cocktail, one teaspoon is enough in a pot up to 3 liters.

    Foliar application

    This type is very convenient, because fertilizer is applied at the same time as wetting the leaf mass.

    Banana powder is made from the dried black peel.
    Tropical cocktail made in a blender
    Foliar application

    In order to make such a solution, powder is made as described above and added to it:

    eggshell from two eggs
    magnesium sulfate 20 gr.
    water 1 l.

    Mix thoroughly. You can spray so as not to overfeed the plants only once a week.

    This solution requires refrigerated storage.


    Since bananas are often used in human food to obtain vitamins, the peel is quite often in the house and it is not so difficult to prepare fertilizers. Here are some ways you can cook at room conditions.

    Methods for processing the peel

    Here are the ways in which can be prepared :

    1. Banana powder.
    2. Decoctions or infusions from the peel.
    3. Use of fresh peel.

    How to make banana powder

    The skin of a banana is taken and dried until it becomes brittle. This is easy to check when you press the peel, it breaks with a crunch. Then it should be ground in a coffee grinder.

    Preparation of decoctions and infusions


    Decoction is easy to prepare - take a banana skin and pour 300 gr. boiling water. The container is wrapped and allowed to cool naturally. After that, the broth is filtered and watered with 50 gr. in a container with a plant no more than 3 liters. volume.

    It is better not to store the infusion , but to prepare it depending on the number of plants that need to be fed.


    To prepare the infusion, you need fresh banana peel, which is crushed and poured into a liter container. After that, it is poured with tap water and allowed to brew for a day.

    Such infusions have a rather unpleasant smell and it is good to use it only on open terraces in summer, and not in winter, when it is impossible to ventilate the room strongly and for a long time.

    banana decoction
    banana infusion

    Fresh skin fertilizer

    Fresh skins are also used to make cocktails by grinding the skins in a blender and diluting with water. This composition is watered once a month.

    You can bury the skin of a banana on the bottom of the container where the flower is planted and when it rots, it will give its beneficial vitamins to the soil, and it will transfer everything to the plant planted in it.

    One skin goes for a 2-3 liter pot, the larger the container, the more skin is required.

    Combination recipes for flowers

    Recipe No. 1

    Very useful fertilizer from the following ingredients:

    • Banana peel;
    • Orange peel;
    • Sugar.

    Fill a 3 liter container with crushed orange and banana skins to one third of the container. Pour a tablespoon of sugar and pour water to the very top.

    All this is infused for a month, after which it is necessary to get rid of the sediment by straining everything through gauze. Plants are fed once a month, while the tincture is diluted 1:20.

    Store this mixture on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator.

    Orange zest can be added to top dressing
    Recipe No. 2

    Green tea infusion is needed, which is combined with the infusion. This will be a good fertilizer, as tea serves as a good growth stimulant.

    Do not use green tea infusion, only infusion.

    Recipe No. 3

    Banana peel infusion is taken and mixed with nettle infusion. Such an infusion is stored only in the refrigerator and used, diluting it 1/3, where one part is infusions. This fertilizer is fertilized once a month on moist soil.

    Nettle tincture can also be made at home by grinding a small amount and adding water. Infused for a day , after which the infusion is ready for use.

    Tools and Materials Required

    Various tools and materials are required to make various banana peel fertilizers:

    1. Blender - for grinding.
    2. Scissors - for cutting the peel.
    3. Various containers - for preparing infusions and decoctions.
    4. Actually banana skins.

    Contraindications and Precautions

    If fertilizer is applied too often, the plants will be overfed and their appearance will be oppressed, which will be expressed by yellow leaf plates.

    Certain safety precautions must also be followed when preparing . Before eating a banana, it must be washed well, as various chemical compounds are often used for transportation and storage.

    After a good wash, bananas can be eaten and the peel can be used to make fertilizer.

    Banana fertilizers and insects

    Banana foliar fertilizer can not only fertilize the plant , but also get rid of aphids . But if there is an anthill in the garden, this can also attract ants to the sprayed plants.

    We briefly described the properties of banana peel in the article about 26 types of fertilizers for indoor plants. Other types of unusual dressings are described in the same place.

    Banana help in top dressing - a curiosity for beginner flower growers

    After reading this article, you can understand that banana skins are as useful to humans as the fruits themselves. With their help, you can get fertilizers that will help improve the yield and improve the appearance of houseplants.

    Japanese banana - how to grow in the house and in the garden, how to save in winter


    • Description
    • Useful qualities
    • Flowering
    • Growing conditions
      • Winter hardiness
      • Temperature rating
      • Other items
    • Propagation, planting, care
    • How to save in winter
    • Possible difficulties

    cultivar413 /

    Banana is one of the most recognizable plants in the world, which by its presence instantly creates tropical flavor in the garden or in the apartment. Out of 70 other species Japanese banana is the most hardened, cold-resistant, has a preferred medium size and as a highly decorative plant actively breaks out of the warm Black Sea region to the north, into the abode of snows, up to the Moscow region.

    The theme will be important to anyone who loves tropical landscapes , creates a garden in the Borneo style, Victorian or Japanese style, who wants to capture the amazement on the faces of guests.


  • Gorgeous soft foliage grows very rapidly, up to 5 leaves per month. Oval sheet plates reach 1.5 m in length and 0.5 m in width. In the Middle lane, you can expect 10-15 leaves for the season .
  • In the wind the leaves are easily torn along the veins into narrow strips, which immediately reduces the decorative effect of the culture. On such a sacrifice, reducing the windage of the leaves, the banana goes, because with a gusty wind it can be uprooted.

Useful qualities

  • In any garden large saturated green banana leaves catch the eye, so they can attract or, conversely, distract attention by planting a plant in representative or unpresentable places.
  • Banana leaf is used by in craft, fiber, paper, cooking as a non-food element.
  • All parts of the Japanese banana are used in medicine : flowers - for bronchitis, diabetes, ulcers and indigestion, juice - for epilepsy and severe bleeding, young leaves - for burns and cuts, roots - for indigestion, fruits - for hypertension and depression, fruit peel - from warts.

Torquay Palms /


  • In the 40th leaf phase banana blooms usually in the next year without frost, which usually occurs in September without frosts in the following year.
  • A large peduncle appears from a false stem among a bunch of leaves - a brush with different shades of green and purple, with a pearly sheen.
  • Inflorescence bears female simple flowers at the base, smaller bisexual sterile flowers in the middle of the peduncle and a large bud at the end, under each petal of which there are many small male flowers.
  • In subtropical regions, the Japanese banana is an excellent honey plant , bees visit it very well. One flower produces up to 0.5 g of nectar, which is equal to 100 g of honey for each banana palm.
  • Sometimes in room or greenhouse conditions at artificially pollinated banana even sets fruit . After fruiting, the entire false stem dies off, so it is worth keeping 1-2 young ones for replacement.
  • The fruits of Japanese banana are reddish-purple, up to 25 cm, inedible when raw, but after frying they become like potatoes. During self-pollination, the seeds usually do not set. Seeds are hard, round or faceted, 3-5 mm in diameter.

David Beasley /

Growing conditions

Japanese banana is a surprisingly unassuming and hardy plant.

Winter hardiness

  • The aerial green part retains its elasticity up to +3-5 °С and even grows at +5-6 °С, but dies after short-term frosts down to -1-3 °С.
  • However, with good winter warming of the rhizome, which in no case should freeze slightly, atmospheric temperatures down to -30 ° C are not a problem for this plant.
  • Without insulation, the rhizome survives after a short frost down to -15 °C.

Temperature regime

The optimum temperatures for the growth of a Japanese banana are +25-35 °С in the summer day in the sun, +20-25 °С in the summer night, +15-25 °С in the sun in the winter day, + 15-25 °С in the winter night - + 5+15 °С. It is this mode that must be observed when growing indoors.


  • Banana withstands short-term droughts and summer floods, but grows luxuriantly only at high air humidity (about 80%) and constant soil moisture.
  • Likes sunny, well-lit places develops 2 times slower already in partial shade.
  • Soils should be acidic (pH 5.5-6.5), loose, fertile; on poor soils, a banana will grow well with periodic top dressing.
  • A prerequisite for growing bananas is wind protection during the warm period. A great place for him will be the southern wall of the house, the northern corners of the site in front of the hedge, a quiet place by the pond.

F. D. Richards /

Reproduction, planting, care

Japanese banana is propagated vegetatively, by dividing the rhizome, since it usually does not reach fruiting. In spring the rhizome is divided into pieces 20-25 cm with several buds or 10 cm each with offspring 10-15 cm high ( bush division ). Chopped places are powdered with wood ash for disinfection.

  • It is better to plant banana, both as a container seedling and as a rhizome, after all spring frosts are over.

At home , the first 3-liter pot is selected for a banana, doubling the volume every year. Homemade banana blooms with a pot volume of more than 30 liters.

as indoor bananas more often used banana bright red ( m . COCCINEA ), velvet ( m Velutina ), Fiolet fioleet Physon violacea ), dwarf varieties ' Cavendish Dwarf' and ' Super Cavendish Dwarf' .

  • For planting a banana, soil mixture is composed of peat, sand and garden soil (leaf or sod mixed with compost) in equal parts.
  • In poor garden soils, plant is fertilized with every 2 weeks from late May to October. Banana is violently responsive to any fertilizer. For the active growth of the green crown, preference should be given to nitrogen fertilizers and composts, alternating them with phosphorus-mineral and peat chips.
  • In hot weather watering is necessary every other day, 10 liters of water for every 1 sq. m and daily crown sprinkling. Homemade bananas are regularly sprayed 3-4 times a day. Mulching with straw or other organic matter reduces evaporation from the soil and the need for watering by 2 times.

In weeding the soil the plant needs only at the beginning of the season. Since July, the banana itself has been oppressing the weeds, creating a dense shadow over them. Peak Japanese banana reaches its luxury in the Middle Lane in August-September, waving its large leaves at a height of more than 2 m. , leaving stumps 5-10 cm high (new leaves will sprout from these stumps next year).

  • Agrofibre is laid on the ground in 2-3 layers, the wider the better.
  • A thick layer (more than 50 cm ) of dry mulch (leaves, sawdust, straw, husks, hay, reeds, etc. ) is poured on top and covered with thick oilcloth , which will not tear during the winter.
  • It is important to keep the mulch dry as it warms better.
  • It is important to prevent the ground from freezing and saturating the soil with cold winter moisture, which causes banana roots to rot. Therefore DO NOT plant a banana in the lowland .
  • F. D. Richards /

    Possible difficulties