With the large arching leaves and tropical appearance, banana tree plants (Musa basjoo) have become a popular backyard feature. Banana trees are available in full-sized varieties as well as miniature plants that reach only 6 to 8 feet tall. Although they produce fruit, the banana tree needs 10 to 12 months of frost-free conditions to bear a crop of bananas, according to the University of Arkansas Extension. Properly winterized, you banana tree plant will thrive for years, adding a touch of the tropics to your landscape.
Container Grown Bananas
Cut the banana plant to the ground with sharp garden shears after the first hard frost has damaged the leaves. Your banana leaves will turn dark brown and begin to rot. Leaving these leaves on the plant will spread the rot to the roots and permanently damage your banana plant.
Move the container to a sheltered location if possible, such as an overhang or a sunny location in your garage. This will protect your banana roots from cold, especially in places with extreme winters.
Spread a thick layer of mulch over the soil in your banana plant's container. And wrap the pot in insulating material such as a tarp or bubble wrap.
Bananas Grown in Garden Beds
Cut your banana plant's leaves to the ground. Banana trees produce new leaves from the root ball so this does not harm your plant.
Spread a thick layer of organic material such as peat moss over your banana tree. This will protect the root system from freezing temperatures.
Cover the mulch with a plastic tarp to protect the banana tree's root system from fluctuating temperatures. An early thaw will saturate the peat moss and then may freeze again. The mulch may also trap any excess moisture in the ground with your banana tree roots and cause them to rot. Secure the tarp against winds with large rocks or an additional layer of mulch.