Chinese Yellow Banana
Plant Diary
(musella lasiocarpa)


September, 2006. I purchased two Chinese Yellow Bananas in 2005 to grow in pots around the pool. While this variety does not produce bananas, it yields a very unusual yellow inflorescence. After about eight months, with the Chinese Yellow Banana about to flower, we had to relandscape the pool area to get the house ready for sale. Out went the more informal Bananas and in went formal, but boring, Ficus trees. Sadly, I had to throw out the bananas. I kept them in a pile waiting for the recycling crew to come along for the once-a-week pick up. After I threw them out, I noticed that a small pup had fallen off and was still managing to hang on. Out of guilt, I replanted the pup and brought it with us to the new house (see above). .

February, 2007. And my guilt continues to grow. Through neglect and inexperience with the weather at our new house, I left the banana unprotected from a late season frost. The plant is hardy to Zone 7, so I had not expected much damage to the leaves when the temperature dropped to about 30 degrees. Instead, the banana lost most of its large leaves, but is still alive. The pups are already sending out new shoots a month after the frost and the main plant may still survive.

April, 2007 - The Banana recovered nicely. While the main plant died from the frost, the pups took over and are thriving. In the next few days I'll remove the plants and try to separate the strongest pup for replanting.

July, 2007 - I was wrong about the main stem dieing off in the frost. By May the main stem was sending out new leaves and the whole plant has recovered nicely since then. I've been too distracted to separate out the extra pups and the plant is starting to look messy. Once the banana's permanent home is ready next month, I'll take a large knife to the plant and break off the pups.

Chinese Banana

July, 2008 - A year later and I'm not much further ahead. I divided up the plant in August of 2007, but as the Tropical Garden changed I could not find an ideal home for most of the pups. In frustration, I left one of the pups in the ground and ignored it. Poof! Without any special protection, it survived the frost in January and came back with a vengence this spring. I decided to reward the plant for its persistence and gave it ample helpings of the special fertilizer I use for my Dwarf Brazilian banana. At this rate of growth I may get to see one of its unusual blossoms by the end of the year.