feeling tropical

Banana Tree today happy in her new pot and the formerly tiny hibiscus in her new pot. Far right is grapefruit tree enjoying the tropical company.

At the beginning of the summer I bought this tiny little banana tree. I have never grown a banana before. But I always wanted to try one.

I first saw really large tropical banana trees under glass in greenhouses at Granogue, in the 1990s. Granogue is a private estate owned by Irenee duPont Jr. and I think it’s one of the prettiest places on earth. I have been fortunate to have been invited there for things a few times as an adult. It’s in Delaware.

Banana Tree when I first planted it this summer.

The first time I went I also climbed to the top of the giant water tower on the estate with Mr. duPont as my guide. I will note I think Mr. duPont turned 100 in January. I understand he is well.

But I digress.

I started thinking about banana trees again this year because I saw them on Gardeners’ World and then when my friends at BloomBox announced their tropical line up and my my mother gave me a pretty cache pot she wasn’t using… well I decided it was kismet and I planted my first banana tree.

The banana tree has grown like a weed. And I also learned that banana trees aren’t actually trees but giant herbaceous perennials. They are actually fascinating plants and I have been reading about them.

Banana Tree about a week ago.

I found a great article on Gardeners Path on overwintering and I’m going to try it. Some people like to cut them down and keep them in a dark place but I think I am going to just let it grow and keep it more as a houseplant during the winter. I’ve discovered places in my house where I can actually keep my citrus trees and once little hibiscus growing so I think the banana tree will like similar light.

I bought myself an attractive looking but inexpensive and light pot. This morning because the weather was sort of tropical and rainy I decided it was a good morning to pot up the banana tree and the hibiscus which had been rewarding me greatly with blooms this summer but was completely pot bound.

First I mixed up a soil mixture of tropical potting soil, coir, a lighter houseplant soil and regular potting soil. I have learned with these tropical things that I have to keep the soil less dense than just plain old potting soil.

I will admit the banana tree did fight me getting out of its liner pot in the cache pot. I was amazed at how healthy and vigorous the root system was. It had completely outgrown its pot and if I hadn’t moved it it probably would have broken its roots through the pot. So I teased its roots apart and planted it in its new pot.

Next came the hibiscus. It had been living in a lovely celadon green colored clay pot but I knew it was completely root bound. I figured since it had rewarded me by pretty much blooming all year round, that I would wash out the liner pot of the cache pot that originally held the banana and pot the hibiscus up in those containers. And it turned out great!

And then in a few weeks as the warm weather fades all my tropicals will get their pots cleaned and their plant leaves cleaned and I will begin the process of creating the indoor jungle. I usually do this sometime between the last week in September and the first couple weeks of October. Essentially I want these plants to come inside before the first frost.

Next up will be refreshing the soil in my citrus pots. Specifically, my meyer lemon and bitter orange tree.

In the regular garden I have been deadheading and pruning. I fed all of my roses their last feed of the season, and I dug out a 7 foot Kousa dogwood sapling, and re-homed it to a neighbor, and also dug out a buddleia and moved it.

I don’t really like buddleia is the way I used to and I don’t ever have a lot of them in my garden anymore because they are considered an invasive. The volunteer Kousa dogwood sapling was quite simply in the wrong place and too close to the house. And given the height they can achieve I don’t want to create a problem and have to chop a tree down I’d rather move it when it’s young.

Where I moved these two plants opened up a corner of a large perennial bed quite nicely. So I next dug out the pachysandra which had also run rampant, and amended the soil a little and planted the spot with some cone flowers and some other perennials and a tiny beach plum tree. Beach plum jam is one of my favorite things in this world and this is a perfect spot to grow this little plum which doesn’t get super tall. It’s more like a big shrub. Beach plums get beautiful flowers in the spring followed by the small plum fruits.

Overall the garden is showing the stress of the heat than drought then rain of this summer. The garden still looks pretty but it’s looking a little fried as well. It’s just the time of year.

Happy gardening.

Banana tree in it’s new pot.

3 comments

  1. I have a Meyer Lemon tree, too. My first. What do you mean ‘refreshing the soil’? I will be repotting her since she’s been in the same pot for two years.

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