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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:25 am 
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Location: upstate NY zone 6B Location Details
http://www.hardytropicals.co.uk/forum/v ... &start=180

I just came across a UK forum thread that discussed how musa mekong giant can run about 4ft before sending up a pup. It is also supposed to have soda can sized rhizomes. If it can go 4ft in the UK, its hard to imagine what this banana can do in a warmer climate. Anyways I found this to be very interesting especially considering that my mekong giants are already around 6ft tall. They each have a pup, but only about 1ft away which is still far greater than what the basjoo started out with.

Here's a few pictures of the banana rhizomes from the thread. If this plant doesn't get slowed down by a cool climate, it might happen to be more aggressive than most of my bamboos.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:57 am 
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Location: zone 3a-4b
Just to clarify for others:

Most people concider "mekong giant" a variation of "Musa Itinerans", which seems to be im a perverbial taxonomy tug of war. IIR untill a year ago "rare palm seeds" called itinerans similar to mekong giant (now called "giganta" in the site). I wouldnt be surprised if what you have was "burmese blue" or the regular Itinerans, which supposedly spreads rhizomes over 10 feet away, is hardy to about the same zone as M Basjoo. They can get to 30 feet tall in a single season (reportedly).

I grew 2 "burmese blue", from seed, and during my research about them, they are described EXACLT like 'mekong giant" (large creeping rhizome, exceptional growth in shade or sun etc). These days people call plants what they will, so when we get something new, it may not even be what we wanted, and we wont know for a good decade!

There is also some people who formally described Musa Yunannensis as itinerans untill 2007, when Markku Hakkinen described it as a new species.

THis is why I prefer to grow my bananas from seed, from a trusted source. Its hard enough to make sure companies and nurseries get the proper ID for plants, let alone expecting all seed sources, middle men and growers are doing the same. Stop the problem before it starts - Order seeds from a distinguished seller who is known to sell properlly identified seed. Even then, with these new species, its still hit or miss...

My seedlings so far seem to match the description of Itinerans: fast growth, black marks on the pseudotrunk, variation in seedlings, and large rhizomes, as large as the trunk is thick.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:30 pm 
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Whichever one I obtained this summer came in a 4-inch pot and I noticed a couple of weeks ago that it is now looking rootbound in a 2 gallon and needs uppotted already, maybe I'll see rhizome in there...

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:30 am 
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stevelau1911 wrote:
If it can go 4ft in the UK, its hard to imagine what this banana can do in a warmer climate.


Let's not underestimate UK. It's normally a zone 8 to 10 climate. Last Winter was a fluke and we here in North America benefited from the anomaly. Let's hope that happen again this Winter :D


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:07 am 
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I'm very interested in knowing if my mekong giants already have large rhizome systems by now. With the leaves lifted up, they are only a bit over 6ft. If they over-winter well here, they might have the potential to get larger than musa basjoo which is already up to 14ft for me.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:05 pm 
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What the hell steve, is that a creek or a swale?

NM, its a rise in ground height! lol

Poke - THe UK may be zone 8 - 10, but they dont get nearly as warm as we do here, even me way up here, for nearly as long. They are defined by a cool moist climate, close to that of BC during winter and spring, or Nova Scotia (which, Is warmer longer then the UK IIR). They also have less sun on average then most of N America.

Zones go by the LOW, not the MAXIMUM. You need to throw in your sunset zone and heat zone to get a better picture. IT makes it hard to get height from some tropicals, when you are zone 9, but sunset zone 2 and heat zone 1 right (unless they are adapted to such conditions of course, like monkey puzzle trees!)

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:02 pm 
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canadianplant wrote:
Poke - THe UK may be zone 8 - 10, but they dont get nearly as warm as we do here, even me way up here, for nearly as long. They are defined by a cool moist climate, close to that of BC during winter and spring, or Nova Scotia (which, Is warmer longer then the UK IIR). They also have less sun on average then most of N America.)


Canadianplant - My friends in the UK would not agree with "cool and moist" to describe their climate in southeastern England. Aside from the past few months they seem to be in a perpetual state of drought. They have endured heat waves to 35c and cold spells to the minus teens though the cold is briefer than here. Point is the UK climate is as varied as any. Amazing what a wide variety of plants you see from south to north and all seemingly doing so well. What a shock to see date palms and olive trees growing in London and looking good.

pic of a roundabout near the Houses of Parliament, London

johnw


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:21 pm 
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canadianplant wrote:
What the hell steve, is that a creek or a swale?

NM, its a rise in ground height! lol

Poke - THe UK may be zone 8 - 10, but they dont get nearly as warm as we do here, even me way up here, for nearly as long. They are defined by a cool moist climate, close to that of BC during winter and spring, or Nova Scotia (which, Is warmer longer then the UK IIR). They also have less sun on average then most of N America.

Zones go by the LOW, not the MAXIMUM. You need to throw in your sunset zone and heat zone to get a better picture. IT makes it hard to get height from some tropicals, when you are zone 9, but sunset zone 2 and heat zone 1 right (unless they are adapted to such conditions of course, like monkey puzzle trees!)


It's just a creek at about 7ft deep.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:21 pm 
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Thats a good place for the nanners, steve. I wonder if theyre close enough to the stone to get some residual heat

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:52 am 
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The plants that were originally introduced in to the US back in the day as Musa Itinerans were actually Musa Yunnanensis which is why there have been different accounts of hardiness. Yunnanesis is a bit more tender (z8-ish). Musa 'Mekong Giant' is just a selection of Musa Itinerans and infact may really not be much different from var. xishuangbannaensis. Musa 'Burmese Blue' was thought to be a selection of Musa acuminata, but I guess it has been decided to be a form of Musa Itinerans. It's from Thailand with purple-blue fruit.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:19 pm 
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Based on the 28F freeze from a couple weeks ago, it looks like the pseudo-stem of mekong giant is much less hardy than the basjoo. Basjoo pseudo-stems tend to take temperatures almost down to 25F without damage, but it looks like the outer leaves on mekong giant look mushy.

I believe that musa basjoo can survive a zone 8 climate with very simple over-wintering such as wrapping the pseudo-stems with only shrink wrap over the winter, but you probably can't do the same with many other bananas.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:57 pm 
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Steve,

I know of many people in South Jersey (zone 7a) that don't even mulch there Musa basjoo overwinter, although they will be blasted down to the ground. One of mine didn't even fully die back last winter with a low of 12 degrees and retained about 3.5 ' of trunk with no mulch just a good mico climate. It is actually blooming right now. In eastern NC it is fairly common for basjoo to retain some trunk. Musa sikkimensis is ever so slightly less cold hardy than M. basjoo and for me suckers much less and seems to put out more growth in hot weather than Musa basjoo which for me stops attaining height as soon as it gets hot. Musa velutina is fairly cold hardy as well but less reliable even with mulch here. Musella (Ensete) lasiocarpa is also very hardy but I have found that it must be kept on the dry side.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 2:09 am 
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Seeing how winter weather is almost over, I think I might need to uncover the bananas this weekend so they can start growing. I did feel inside one of my basjoos, and it appears that around 5ft of the corm survived despite having most of the pups taken off, and going through a pretty cold winter.

The one musa mekong giant that actually rotted away over winter, and died to the ground appears to have gained about 1cm, and it is definitely alive under there so I'm guessing the other one should be even better.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 7:14 am 
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Location: Seabeck, Washington Zone 8b Elevation: 531 Feet
I'm still not sure the main pseudostem of mine will live, but at least 2 side shoots are going to come back.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:25 am 
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the rumor is itinerians is more cold hardy then Sikkimensis, but just not quite as cold hardy as basjoo (i cant find any actual temp data, just what people have said). I would assume you are trying one in the ground this year steve?

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