Spring Coming? Might As Well Go For Something(s) Tropical
Do I smell spring in the air? Must be. And the calendar confirms that it’s just around the corner. These hints finally stir longings for that season — even for a skiier. And what better way to welcome spring in than with attention to some tropical plants. My banana plants have weathered winter very well this year, indoors, of course. Last year I was proud that my one plant survived. After all, banana is a truly tropical plant. It shivers at temperatures below 50° F. and enjoys 80° days and nights as its broad, satiny leaves drink in year ‘round bright sunlight, occasional rains, and humid air. Even if my house was warm, which it is not, only a relative paltry amount of sunlight streams through even a south-facing window, and the air is bone-dry. Hence my pride. My philosophy …
Yes, we have no bananas. We do have a banana tree.
Decades ago I was in a similar situation. How could I resist a catalog ad for a dwarf banana tree, one that wouldn’t grow more than 6 to 8 feet high, so could be accommodated within the confines of a standard room? I bought the small pup, which is what small, plantable offshoots from the mother tree are called, and planted it in a large pot. The pup grew. And grew. And grew. The plant topped out at 6 to 8 feet but the developing leaves, rolled up and pointing skyward before unrolling and flopping down, reached a lot higher. Banana isn’t really a tree; it’s a giant herb whose “trunk” is, in fact, made up of concentric layers of rolled up leaves that don’t flop down to a more horizontal position until they unroll.