Jessica Walliser
October 27, 2011

Red banana tree close-up
Photo by Jessica Walliser
I need to decide if overwintering my red banana tree or growing it under grow lights is the best solution this winter.

The leaves are really coming down now, and there is definitely a nip in the air. We have been busy raking and shredding the leaves and piling them into the compost bins—an endless chore to say the least.

In addition to all that, I’ve been getting my containers moved into the garage. I have two with huge elephant ears in them that I’m going to try to overwinter in the pot. I usually overwinter the bare bulbs in a box of peat moss, but want to try it this way and see how it goes. And, of course, my containerized fig tree will spend the next few months in the garage, too. It’s already lost all its leaves and seems ready to shift into dormancy.

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What I haven’t figured out yet, is what to do with my red banana tree and my lemongrass plant. Both are growing in patio containers. A friend suggested I move the lemongrass into the living room and let it grow and continue to use a stalk every now and again through the winter. I have never tried overwintering it this way, but am curious about it for sure.

The banana is certainly not hardy here, and so it will have to move indoors as well. I’m debating between putting it under grow lights in hopes that it continues to get larger throughout the winter, or letting the container tree go dormant in the garage. I’m going to have to do some online research to see if one method is more successful than the other.

I’d hate to lose either plant, but sometimes that’s what happens when you experiment, isn’t it? Future success comes from past failures it seems.

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