How to protect Banana and Gunnera plants in winter

How to protect Banana and Gunnera plants in winter

Hello my name is Katie Rushworth and I’m going
to show you how to kind of protect your tender plants that you can’t necessarily take indoors
over the winter and this banana has been really successful this year but it does still need
some protection over the colder months.  A banana believe it or not is a herbaceous
perennial it’s not actually a tree at all so it puts on this much growth in just one
season which is quite incredible, stunning. The stem is actually a false stem, a series
of leaves tightly packed to give it this kind of structure and framework so just like any
set of leaves you can cut them all the way back .
To do this I’m using my pruning saw and I’m going to cut it so there’s only about four
foot of it left which may seem drastic but in order to protect it and keep it is the
kind of treatment it wants.  Now you’ll see I’ve cut it on a slight angle
and the reason for that is I don’t want the rain or snow to sit on there and water to
go down the plant and to rot it so by cutting it on an angle it then allows things to run
off and not sit on directly on top of the cut. You can see on the top here how the leaves
have torn and the plant is actually devised in order to do that so the where the leaf
is made up you can see this veining all the way down. So when in tropical places winds
blow and storms coming it will shred the leaf so the wind filters through it therefore supporting
the plant.  If these didn’t shred, the wind will most
likely pull it out of the ground quite a clever adaptation. Now I’m gonna give the base a
quick clear of any dead leaves because places like
this are a perfect place to hide for snails as you can see right here it’s cozy and dry
in there and they love a bit of dead foliage to hide in so all that will come off. The
next thing I want to do is to protect it with fleece so I have these and these are hot cultural
fleet bags so a bit like glove if you like to go over the top.
Now I got lots of fleece. It’s not necessarily that the banana plant doesn’t like moisture
it’s because moisture keeps hold of the cold and where there’s moisture there’s ice and frost
and that’s not what we want, okay . And then to keep it in position I’m going
to use just a couple of bits of string. Now you do want it to be relatively tight because
it’ll just flop around in the wind otherwise, okay. 
Now I know it doesn’t look pretty for the winter but it will look much prettier come
next year because we’ve looked after it.  The next plant on my list is this Gunnera.
This magnificent plant here is a gunnera and you can see it has these enormous towering
leaves, it’s wonderful it’s perfect streamside like this it loves to be kept damp and its
root system to constantly be wet. However it does need some winter protection and the
best way to do that is to cut these huge stems back and use the leaves as a kind of blanket
if you like to protect it over the winter months so that’s exactly what I’m going to
do.  I am removing the stems because I don’t
really need that bit it’s just the leaf I’m after for protection. This is
the central crown here so everything is going to come back and be folded over this section.
It’s pretty humongous you could use it as an umbrella. It’s like they were actually
designed for the purpose they fit so perfectly over the top
and there we have it, it’s created its own blanket for the winter it’s all tucked up
so it’ll be protected from all the elements and then come next spring after the Frost’s
have passed they can all be lifted off and you will see new green area coming through
new shoots and it will spring to life and once again put on those magnificent leaves.
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17 Replies to “How to protect Banana and Gunnera plants in winter”

  1. Is it possible to plant it a little bit deeper into the ground to make sure that bigger part of the stem survives and grows faster next season, or the rhizome can't live if planted too deep?

  2. Hi. Could you tell me when you banana plant starts growing. My is very slow. Never got anymore than two leafs on it before the wind snaps them off

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