This plant doesn’t look good at all.
I think I should have moved these Red Banana plants, Ensete maurelii, into the garage before morning temperatures dipped below freezing.
But I didn’t and now they look like a big mess of “cell collapse”.
That’s what happens when tropical plants are left out in the cold. In very basic terms, when temperatures go below freezing, ice crystals form in the tiny air spaces between the cells, which draws the water out of the cells. This causes the cell walls to collapse, which is why the plants go all limp like they do.
Or something like that. Don’t quote me! It’s been quite a while since I studied such stuff in another life time.
Fortunately, plants that are hardy here have mechanisms to deal with the cold, by reducing water in the cells, developing their own anti-freeze type chemicals, and who knows what. (Well, plant physiologists know ‘what’ and did you know they have their own website? )
Seeing these banana plants, I am reminded again of an absolute of gardening. You would think by now I would have figured out most of these absolutes of gardening, but I have to be reminded of them sometimes.
This absolute of gardening is that tropical plants left out in the cold will turn to mush if temperatures drop below freezing.
I hope another “absolute of gardening” is that if these plants are placed in a cool location that stays above freezing all winter, and they are kept relatively dry, they will come back from the roots in the spring once they get a little water and temperatures stay above freezing.
Because that’s what I intend to do with these Red Bananas. And it isn’t going to be easy. The two banana plants are in big clay pots that on their own weigh a lot. When you add the dirt and the plant, it is on the brink of what I can lift and move.
I will also put the rain lilies, Zephyranthes sp., in the garage, leaving them in their containers.
Here they are blooming in warmer days.
I’ve overwintered these for years, for as long as I’ve had rain lilies, and they always start sprouting again in the spring once I bring them out and add water. Every once in a while, I’ll pull the bulbs out of the containers when they are good and dormant and give some away.
(Just watch, one of more of my sisters is going to leave a comment now saying they want some rain lilies.)
That’s all I plan to try to overwinter in my garage this year.
What plants are you planning to try to overwinter?