Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Monday - March 15, 2010

From: Rocklin, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native banana plants dying back in Rocklin CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I bought a home last July in Rocklin, CA that had several banana plants growing in the yard. They died back during the winter frost. We pruned them back to the ground and placed mulch over the top. Should they be starting to sprout up by now if they weren't killed. Just wondering if I should wait a little longer to dig up and replace with more of the same or something else.

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use, care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which it is being grown. The plant most often referred to in the nursery trade as a "hardy banana" is Musa basjoo, which originates in China and Japan. It is a tropical herbaceous plant, more often grown as an indoor house plant, but it can be grown outside in warmer USDA Zones. At the East Central California area of Rocklin, you appear to be in Zone 6, and a severe freeze for that zone would probably be dangerous for this plant. Since it is non-native and out of our purview, we will refer you to this University of Illinois Extension article Hardy Banana - Musa Banjoo.

In answer to your question should you dig it up and replace it with the same thing or something else, we would, of course, prefer you dig it up and replace it with something native to your area of California. Since we don't know exactly what area you are in, what moisture and sun conditions you have for the plant, etc. you might drop us another note on the conditions and your preferences and we will see what we can find from our Native Plant Database. And there are no native banana plants.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Deterioration of non-native weeping willows in Alabama
May 19, 2008 - I have a small lake behind my house. 8 years ago we planted two nice weeping willow trees, one on each corner of our yard down toward the lake. One started looking bad last year and we cut all the de...
view the full question and answer

Care for non-native mandevilla in Greensboro, NC
June 11, 2009 - I bought two potted mandevilla vines last year and read on a website for winter care to cut the vine back at least a foot from the soil. However this spring going into summer it has barely produced an...
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of tropical plumeria
July 04, 2008 - I have had my plumeria for the past five years. The first three years it bloomed but has not the past two. The plant is healthy and continues to grow but will not flower. It seems to be very health...
view the full question and answer

Problems getting desert western US plant Stanleya pinnata to bloom in England
March 13, 2006 - I am having trouble getting my Princes plume (Stanleya pinnata) to produce a flower and then go to seed. Do you have any advice on triggering flowering in this plant?
view the full question and answer

Alternatives to non-native, invasive Pampa grass
August 11, 2006 - Could you please tell me if Cortaderia Selloana is "zone 4" hardy? Also how to start Opuntia Humifusa from cuttings? Do I let them stand upright dry and with no soil until they form the callous? Ple...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.