You can grow Bananas in the UK

John Mascurenus
SKA London

If you want to create a tropical feel in your garden this summer to be the envy of your neighbours then think about buying a banana plant.
They are fantastic for creating impact and with so many hardy varieties now available in the UK you can combine brightly coloured foliage with beautiful flowers.
The key to successful plant growth for bananas is linked to location. They prefer to be planted in light shade that is sheltered from wind and frost. The perfect place to position your banana plants is in a corner of a garden, close to a house or hedge or even on a slope or dip where they will not be exposed to intense conditions.

Always select hardy varieties like the attractive Musa basjoo pictured above ( Japanese root-hardy banana). With the right growing conditions, Musa basjoo can reach up to 7ft in one year and can eventually grow to a staggering 20ft. In the height of the growing season, the huge leaves can be produced at the rate of one a week. Mature stems on the Musa basjoo will also produce beautiful  flowers if temperatures remain consistently above 30c.

Bananas always need plenty of food and regular watering – moist soil is a must and adds some general fertiliser and an organic mulch of farmyard manure to a depth of around 15cm to encourage growth.
Over the English winter any frost will destroy the foliage so wrap and protect the trunk for the winter so that new growth will sprout from the top, producing bigger plants and a higher possibility of flowers and fruits.
Bananas look really wonderful when mixed in an herbaceous border with bright cannas and dahlias.
Enjoy the impact of these wonderful plants in your garden as temperatures soar but don’t expect tons of fruit in the UK. At the moment, bananas rarely bear fruit if grown outside in the UK but who knows what our changing climate might make possible in the future.
This is exactly what Ron Rodrigues (President of SKA London) did in his back garden in Kenton, Harrow. He got his plants from a tropical nursery and nurtured them as his babies. This is the third year of their existence and seems to be thriving well. The photos show a section of Ron’s garden and the Japanese Musa banana plants. Ron has promised his mates that he will throw a big party one day to celebrate when the plants start fruiting.









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