>Tropical Plants in the Outdoor Garden Waking UP!

>Today’s blog, although not as colorful with flowers, I hope will be useful for gardener’s in the north who crave the beauty and exotic nature of tropicals. Of course, the first plant that I think every outdoor garden should have is the “Hardy Banana” Musa basjoo. Although, bananas are not produced from this variety, the defining tropical look of banana leaves growing in a northern garden is delightful and a mind boggler.

At Logee’s our stand is now four years old and every year keeps getting bigger and bigger.

The chicken wire and hay is Hardy Banana’s resting place for the winter.
Here is a picture from last summer. At the greenhouses, the “Hardy Banana” (Musa basjoo) gets fed every watering and in one season grows taller than our storage shed (the roof in the upper left corner of the picture).
My banana stand at home is not as large as at Logee’s but I only feed my banana twice a week. Plus, this banana is only two years old. Here is my stand of bananas in early April after taking off the hay. Notice how the brown growing tips are starting to unfurl. Soon with the increase of sunlight the stocks will turn green and start shooting straight out of the center.

Another favorite in early spring is watching how our fig plants came through the winter. You can winter over practically any fig with the right procedure. This past winter we left the fig in the ground, cut the fig back to about four feet in height, tied up the branches and then wrapped it in insulation and then a layer of plastic.

To our amazement this fig, one week after being uncovered, is already forming little figs and new leaves. We will most likely get two crops of figs this year. The figs we have in stock right now are Ficus carica ‘Petite Negra’ and Ficus carica ‘Ischia’ ( a yellow fig).
Another surprise this past week was how quickly our Hardy Kiwi set (Actinidia arguta ‘Anna’) is leafing out.

Here we’ve planted a male and female plant side-by-side for pollination, to insure fruit. We didn’t cover the kiwi since it is Zone 4 and we are in Zone 5. We simply have given it good support. These plants are in their second year.

Finally an experiment I’m doing at home is with our Hardy Gardenia (Gardenia jasmenoides ‘Frostproof)’. I planted it near my front porch so on summer evenings I can sit outside and breathe in the heady scent of gardenia. ‘Frostproof’ is a Zone 6 plant so I wasn’t sure it would survive the winter. I mulched it with leaves and figured since it was planted near the house it might have a better chance of surviving. Well to my great satisfaction it is sprouting green leaves. Byron has warned me that this may be false hope because he doesn’t think I mulched it enough. I’ll let you know as the season progresses.
Notice the green leaves at the base of the plant.

The Gardenia is one of my favorites and is a perfectly formed flower with a welcoming sweet fragrance.


Filed under Ficus carica 'Ischia', Ficus carica 'Petite Negra', Gardenia jasmenoides 'Frostproof', hardy banana, Hardy Kiwi, Musa basjoo

3 responses to “>Tropical Plants in the Outdoor Garden Waking UP!

  1. >Perhaps I will have to give one of those bananas a try.

  2. >Love the Gardenia, we got one from you. Years ago we used to stop by when working in Connecticut but now we're too far away. Success with all your gardening!Greetings from a Georgia customer,MariettesBacktoBasics

  3. >Thanks! If you're ever in the area please be sure to stop by again.

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