Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How To Divide Your Dwarf Banana

One of the Tropical Dwarf Bananas that we grow, called Musa Cavendish 'Super Dwarf' is an amazingly fast grower, especially when taken outside during the warm days of summer. Its typical growing pattern is to send out "side pups" (new banana plants). These side pups are vital for the health and integrity of the main banana plant but only one pup is needed. The other side pups can be divided, re-potted and given away. My 'Super Dwarf' was in need of division. Although the mature specimen shows a single banana with fruit, we have found that growing 'Super Dwarf' with one side pup allows the plant to grow faster and fruit better.

Dwarf Banana (Musa Cavendish 'Super Dwarf') with two side banana plants (side pups).

CLICK ON THE ARROW TO WATCH: Byron Martin, owner and horticulturist of Logee's Tropical Plants shows how to divide the 'Super Dwarf' Banana.

The original banana plant (left) with the new single banana plant (right). The new 'Super Dwarf' will be going to some friends of ours who have an outstanding French Bakery in Wellfleet, Mass called PB Boulangerie Bistro.

Quick Growing Instructions: During the active growing season give the banana full sun, lots of water and feed regularly (twice a week) with a balanced fertilizer (5-7-9). Minimum temperature is 40 degrees so these bananas for the northern gardeners are meant to be grown inside during the winter. For more detailed growing instructions go to our banana cultural care sheet or pre-order our new book due out in October: Growing Tasty Tropicals in Any Home, Any Where.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Keep Your Tropical Plants Looking Good!

Summer's not over yet and with a little bit of attention your tropical plants can still bring lots of color and joy to your living space. When mid-August arrives, the growth of summer is at its fullest. Managing this growth is simply a matter of trimming, pruning, and fertilizing. Sometimes removing the old flowers and turning the pot is all that is needed. With a little focus on care, my tropical plants were spruced up in about an hour. Of course, before looking with a critical eye, I made sure to look at the beauty before me and appreciate the lush growth of the season.

These flowering maples (abutilons), which love partial shade, are at my front door and are such a great contrast to the black solar fence. Abutilon ‘Kristen’s Pink’, ‘Vodoo’ (the red one), and ‘Bartley Schwartz’ (the orange one) are happily growing. I fertilize these with an organic topical feed about once a week.

Next to the Abutilons, I’ve used Salvia’s as a border plant. The Salvia gaurantica ‘Black and Blue’ and Salvia coccinea ‘Peach’ attract a multitude of hummingbirds every morning.

Enough admiring, now it was time to get to work. My old but trusted pruning gear.

I removed the dead lower leaves of this Lemon Grass potted in a blueberry pottery container. I found this pot at a yard-sale last year for $2.

Nicely groomed, it was time to take a picture of Lemon Grass. I use lemon grass in tea and it is also used as a favorite ingredient for Asian cooking.

My Mandevilla Sun Parasol ‘Giant Crimson’ that grew inside last winter, is in non-stop full bloom this summer. However, it needed its old flowers removed.

A close-up of the discoloration of old blooms.

Now the new flowers looked better and the buds about to open have room to fully display their magnificient color.

The Geraniums needed a few dead leaves and branches removed.

The two plants in this container, Pelargonium Balcon Royale Red, and Desrumeaux started out as plugs only 8 weeks ago.

Angel’s Trumpets (Brugmansia) are always fast growers in the summer. They are heavy feeders and need fertilizer at least twice a week with plenty of water.

This Brugmansia I’m making into a standard. I won’t be able to identify this one until it blooms.

This is my Angel's Trumpet, Brugmansia “Angel’s Summer Dream” grown as a standard. I love the multitude of blooms. This was in a 4 inch pot in mid-June.

Origanum ‘Kent Beauty’ (oregano) started as a single 2 1/2" pot in June. I fertilize this once week.

My three year-old Hardy Banana, Musa Basjoo is in need of fertilizer. Notice the lime green leaves.

My other three-year-old hardy Banana in the lower gardens and has been well fed. Notice the dark green leaves.

A view from afar

A new Bamboo to be released next Spring. We test our plants for at least a year before we release them in our catalogue

Simply turning the Bamboo gave it a whole new look.

Ficus 'Chicago Hardy' Fig growing in my garden. This has been wintered over twice and is in its third year of growth.

One of my mixed containers with growth gone wild. The variegated Ipomoea batatas 'Pink Frost' and the Scaevola aemula "Fan flower" (bluish,purple) draping over the tall flowering pink Agastache 'Tutti Frutti'.

The wild look contained.