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Cold Tolerant Bananas

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August 8, 2015
A lot a gardeners like the tropical look in the landscape. Growing bananas is an easy way to accomplish this goal. Today we’re at the Mississippi State Trial Gardens where bananas are being evaluated for cold tolerance. Japanese Fiber is widely considered to be the most cold tolerant banana selection. The bright green leaves can be six feet long and are arching out from the top of the thick trunk. Red Abyssinian is a personal favorite of mine. The leaves are bright green with a red midrib. As new growth emerges it is flushed with burgundy and almost appears to be hand painted in shades of red, burgundy and green. Bordelon banana has leaves adorned with red stripes. The back is solid red which is very visible as the new leaves begin to unfurl. Based on trial data Bordelon may be the most cold tolerant of the red striped banana varieties. Thai Black banana is one of fastest growing landscape bananas. It has a deep dark purple coloration on the trunk. The midribs arising from the trunk also carry this coloration and fade back to green. The leaves of bananas look great, but need protection from strong wind which can quickly cause them to shred. But even this is a matter of preference, because I think the shredding adds character and movement. Even though we don’t live in the tropics bananas will make a tropical statement in our landscape. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.

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